Confessions of a hiring manager

Confessions from the hiring manager’s side of the desk: here’s what most candidates don’t know

Written by Peter Harris
Posted on February 5, 2016

You see a job posting online. You write up your cover letter and prepare your resume and hit the Apply button. Ever wonder what’s happening on the other side of the equation? Here’s what happens next from the recruiter’s point of view.

Recruiters start receiving applications within 200 seconds of posting their job online. This is why job applications on Mondays and Tuesdays result in more interviews than applications any other day of the week. More jobs are posted at the beginning of the week, and recruiters receive an average of 250 applications for each job. So hesitating can result in a resume being lost in a deluge of applications when the recruiter has already compiled a short list.

[See also: Data reveals the best time of year, day of the week, and time of day for finding a new job]

A resume has to grab an employer’s attention quickly – and make a positive impression that sticks. Given that volume of applications, most recruiters spend only five to seven seconds scanning each resume before deciding to reject it or put it aside for closer scrutiny.

Your cover letter has only a 17% chance of being read at all. It’s important to include one – but don’t count on the cover letter alone to tailor your skills to the specific job. That information has to be in the resume – and it has to be on the first page.

Recruiters will only read to the second or third page of a resume if the first page gives them a compelling reason to. A career summary or key skills list that relate specifically to the job applied for at the top of the page are effective ways to stand out off the top.

It’s very easy to make a negative first impression. Most recruiters say that one single typo or grammatical error can send a resume to the trash bin. 30% of recruiters say that their biggest pet peeve is receiving applications that are unqualified or irrelevant for the job. Almost half of those say that this bothers them so much that not only will they not consider the candidate, but they will also blacklist them from all future opportunities as well.

Of all the people who apply to a position, only 2% are selected for job interviews.

Most recruiters, 68% of them, say that will look up a candidate on Facebook before hiring them. And over 30% say that they have rejected someone solely based on something untoward they found out about them online. Your Facebook profile contains numerous clues that reveal how well you will perform on the job. If they can’t find you on Facebook at all – this could indicate that you don’t use social media or that you have something to hide.

Your Facebook profile picture alone can have increase your chances of being interviewed by up to 40%.

Although job interviews will generally last over half an hour and consist of numerous questions and discussions, hiring managers are really only looking to discover three things about you. They really want to know:

15% employers say that they won’t hire a candidate who focuses on salary more than anything else about the job during an interview.

Most hiring managers don’t like hiring. They want to find the right candidate quickly – and hire a great new addition to their team so that they can get back to work. They’re hoping that every resume will be error-free and demonstrate great credentials. They want the candidate who comes to an interview to be personable, confident and competent, so that they won’t have to interview anyone else.

So as a candidate, you start off with employers on your side – it’s up to you to avoid giving them a reason not to be.

See also: Five job interview secrets that employers don’t tell candidates

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Peter Harris
Peter Harris on Twitter