Recruiting 101:
What Do Recruiters Really Want?

by Greg Faherty, CPRW
Recruiters play a big role in your job search, whether you know it or not. Even if you're not using recruiters as part of your job search strategy, the fact is most companies use them. Which is why it's important to know the likes and dislikes of recruiters when it comes to resumes. After all, they're the ones responsible for putting your resume into a company's hands. Based on information from recent surveys, here are some interesting Recruiter facts you should consider before sending your resume out:

1. When asked if they looked at personal websites or LinkedIn profiles listed on applicants' resumes, 70% answered "Always" and 15% answered "Never." 15% answered "Sometimes."

Translation:  It doesn't hurt to have an online resume, but it probably doesn't help, either.

2. When asked if they wanted to see references listed on a resume, 81% of recruiters answered "No." The other 19% answered, "It doesn't matter."

Translation:  Don't waste space on your resume listing references.

3. When asked if grammar, spelling, and punctuation are important on a resume, 92% of recruiters responded, "Any mistakes on a resume show that the applicant isn't serious about making a good impression." 8% answered, "A couple of mistakes are acceptable, but more than that isn't good."

Translation:  If you have any typos on your resume, odds are you aren't getting the interview.

4. When asked for their preferred method for finding candidates outside of web-based job boards, the Number One answer from recruiters was through job advertisements in newspapers. The Number Two answer was Linkedin. The Number Three answer was through networking.

Translation: Even in the electronic age, it's still vital to answer newspaper ads and utilize your personal contacts if you want to get a job.

As part of Question 4, employers were asked the same question about finding candidates: Their Top 3 answers, in order, were: Recruiters, Newspaper Ads, and Company Website Postings.

Translation:  If you're not using a recruiter for your job search, you're hurting your chances of getting a job.

5. Recruiters were asked if they would ever watch an online video resume if forwarded a link to one.

50% said "No." Only 12% said, "Yes." And 38% said they'd never had an applicant use one, so they weren't sure if they'd bother watching.

Translation:  While it won't hurt you to have one, don't count on anyone seeing your video resume.

Hopefully, these looks into how recruiters think will help you when it comes to developing your job search strategy.

Additional Recruiter Insights

  • 65% of recruiters use electronic screening and keyword searches to find resumes.
  • 60% of recruiters felt that a resume should not be longer than two pages.
  • More than 75% of recruiters dislike resumes that are heavy with graphics or fancy fonts.
  • 77% of recruiters say that they receive more than 200 resumes for each open position.