Despite operating in the toughest hiring environment for decades, a recent study undertaken by the job-matching service, TheLadders.com revealed that Recruiters are still skimming CVs for details – with the average initial screen clocking in at just 7.4 seconds.
In the present environment, with UK unemployment hitting its lowest level since 1974, this new finding underlines the extent to which resume skimming behaviours impact not only a jobseeker’s chances of being noticed but also a company’s ability to source qualified candidates that will truly flourish in their business.
The key takeaways from this post will help you to reassess the Recruiter/Hiring Manager dynamic and how to cultivate best practice in order to source and place the best suited candidates.
Key Components of a Winning CV
In TheLadders’ recent eye-tracking study, the ingredients to a good resume included clear, simple layouts with demarcated sections and title headers – with Recruiters typically spending more time focusing on job titles than on any other element. Top performing CVs – those where Recruiters spent the most time and focus – tended to have several elements in common, including:
- Layout that took advantage of E-pattern and F-pattern reading tendencies (bold job titles supported by bulleted lists of accomplishments).
- An overview or mission statement at the top of the first page of the CV.
- When discussing accomplishments, short declarative statements are easier to process – and therefore likely to be more memorable – than paragraph-length descriptions.
Now that we have covered the components that make up a visually-arresting CV, we will now assess how the worst-performing CVs share the following negative qualities:
- Cluttered look and feel, characterised by long sentences, multiple columns and very little white space.
- Poor layout that did not draw the eye down the page with minimal use of section/job headers to attract the reader’s attention.
- Evidence of keyword stuffing – while this strategy can help for automated CV screening, applicants should be aware that a successful CV will ultimately have to be read by a real person. As such, keywords should be presented in context.
What Hiring Managers want to see from Candidate CVs
Beyond the basics, a strong CV should be a space to communicate your story that includes specifics on what you’ve achieved to date, as opposed to simply ‘what you did’. In order to make your CV stand out, consider the following tips:
- A sector-specific CV that has been customised to suit the industry, adopting a resume layout that is wholly dependent on the position that the candidate is applying for.
- Hyperlinking to your portfolio on LinkedIn profile instead of including that information elsewhere on your CV is a simple way of preserving space and keeping your CV clean, compact and concise.
- Including keywords from the original job posting can be an effective way of making your resume stand out as some companies will conduct keyword searches when sorting through applications.
Managing Expectations: The Recruiter/Hiring Manager Dynamic
We understand that elevating the Recruiter-Hiring Manager partnership to a high synergetic level can be a struggle – especially when considering that according to iCIMS’ Hiring Expectations Institute, 61% of Hiring Managers believe that Recruiters have at best, a ‘low to moderate’ understanding of the jobs they recruit for.
In order to fully optimise the Recruiter-Hiring Manager relationship whilst future-proofing your access to the best talent, let’s explore the following proactive relationship-building methods:
Develop rapport – The Recruiter/Hiring Manager relationship is symbiotic as one cannot exist without the other; however, the two often feel that they’re working against one another, a trait that needs to stop when attempting to hire the best suited people whilst providing an exceptional candidate experience. A meeting ground needs to be established in which each understands the value they provide so set aside designated timeslots, conduct the necessary research and always find the time to build rapport.
Communication is key – Like all prosperous business relationships, communication must be regular, honest, authentic and timely so set weekly calls and develop daily check-ins/check points. For Recruiters, their responsibility is to ask the right questions and be proactive throughout the recruitment process by communicating on candidate concerns, available talent and market intel. On the other hand, it is integral for Hiring Managers to keep your Recruiters fully abreast of expectations and the changes to hiring demands/role requirements.
Set the right, realistic expectations – In the recruitment world, mutual support is vital, and this extends to setting the right expectations at the outset of a partnership. Toward this end, it’s vital that during the initial stages of partnership to openly talk through the recruitment process in a manner that leads to coming to a shared conclusion of fair expectations. Importantly, these expectations need to be clear to all parties – whether through SLAs or KPIs – and both sides need to be accountable to the other.
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