Resume Reviews: Quantity or Quality

“We are overstretched and understaffed as a recruiting team.”

Does this sound familiar? Likely. It’s a common feeling across many teams. Many times this has a direct impact on the “resume black hole” that candidates and “thought leaders” so often reference. But here’s a question to ponder: why are we so inundated if we only spend an average of 6 seconds on each resume? 

Here’s the alleged “magic math”:

There are 1800 seconds in 30 minutes. At six seconds per resume, that allows for 300 resumes. Now of course, we need to include some time for loading and closing files. We’ll call it 5 minutes, which is 300 seconds.  We’re now down to 1500, giving you the chance to review 250 resumes. Time saved! Whew, easy!

Nonsense. Much like the business model of the Ladders, it’s a nice theory, but in reality the application is severely flawed. So maybe it’s time to approach how to manage the flow with a different mindset. Maybe we’re focused on numbers too much. Maybe it’s not about “Can I get through a specific amount of resumes”? Maybe it’s about conducting resume reviews as quality reviews versus quantity reviews.

I know we’re all busy, but the reality of it is that we need to challenge ourselves to find 30 minutes a day to review the resumes we’ve got waiting in our ATS. We’ve already seen and tested the claims that you can manage all of your social media in 10 minutes a day, so what about resumes, in say… 30 minutes? Wait, 30 minutes a day for reviewing resumes? Yes, seriously.  You see, in reality, there are certainly resumes we’ll barely spend 4 seconds on…..let alone 6 (for me, it’s resumes that are bolded every 3rd word), but inevitably we’ll have resumes that intrigue us enough to even (gasp!) read the cover letter. Averages like the ones offered in these “magic bullet” theories are nice, but they don’t tell the whole story. Maybe we don’t get through 250 each day. Maybe it’s only 50-60. But that’s progress toward shrinking the number of folks feeling like they just tossed their resume into a black hole. And it’s dedicated time set aside to seeking winners in the pile, not slashing through stacks. Plus, what a nice, quiet way to spend that first cup of coffee.

But we must each challenge ourselves (and conventional wisdom) to carve out some period of time each day to review some of resumes we’ve got in front of us. We may not get to them all. But when they pile up unattended, quantity is about all you are left with.

We owe it to ourselves, and to our candidates. Even if we do give some people only six seconds.

Ed note: This first appeared on

Got a comment? Leave it below....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: