The Notorious 6-Second-Rule & How to Ensure Your CV Passes This Stage With Recruiters

Recruiters are busy people, with the average listed position attracting 90 CVs. How do they deal with this volume? Sieving CVs and searching through applicant databases has definitely become easier with recent technology and new filtering tools, however ultimately, all CVs need to be independently reviewed and considered by an individual.

According to a study published back in 2012 by UK recruitment website, the average recruiter spends only 6 seconds looking at a CV before deciding whether to proceed with the application or not.

Recruitment expert, Mr Christ Meadows states that a CV’s scan-ability is crucial here and suggests to include keywords that mirror the job description, which will innately stand out to an HR Manager or Recruiter. Essentially, 6 seconds is objectively long enough to form an initial impression and engage in some pattern recognition.

Another recruiter says that in the 6 seconds they spend scanning an applicant’s CV, they are specifically looking for the following information:

• What companies they have previously worked for.
• The languages they have proficiency in.
• How many years of experience they have in their field.

Essentially, in terms of styling & content this means you should:

• Use a reasonably big font (larger than 8 points) or bold font for key information, such as the companies you have previously worked for.
• Use an instinctive, linear structure down the left hand side of the page (the way the eye naturally scans).
• Study the job description for the company you are applying for; ensuring your CV’s wording includes as many key words as the job description where possible.

While it undoubtedly takes much longer than 6 seconds for a company to reach the decision to hire a candidate, however not much longer to decide whether an applicant has the right skills to proceed to the initial interview stage. Use the above tips to ensure your CV passes the 6 second rule!