Is Recruiting the Laziest Part Of A Company?

It would seem so.

Look how hard they work to avoid doing their job.  First they have the computer flush 75% or more of the people applying.

First, reduce the number of résumés to be read

By now you’ve heard about the applicant tracking system (ATS) and understand its purpose, to eliminate as many résumés to read as possible. Simply stated, it screens résumés for keywords and phrases. Those without the proper keywords don’t make the cut.

To give you an idea of the sheer number of applicant for each job: according to, nearly 100 résumés are submitted for professional positions and 150 for other entry level.

The ATS effectively eliminates 75% of résumés submitted for a position, but even reading 25 résumés can be a burden

Heaven forbid they should actually read the resumes people send to them.

And the ones that get glanced at?

Second, read the 25 out of 100 résumés chosen by the ATS

Even after the résumés have made it through the ATS, recruiters will take approximately six to ten seconds to read each one to determine if it’s worth a second view.

Recruiters’ job is to look for résumés to disqualify from consideration, rather than qualify them for consideration. It’s a process of elimination. Résumés that make the cut are placed in the “must read” pile.

It’s said that the sales job starts with the customer saying no.  But what happens when you can’t even make the sale because the person reading the resume doesn’t understand the job. So the recruiters concentrate on superficialities.

Third, read the résumés in the “must read” pile

A closer look tells recruiters if the résumés have what it takes based on:

  • Readability: the résumés contain short paragraphs, with no more than three or four lines. Important points are bulleted. Important text is highlighted in bold to stand out from the rest of the text.
  • Accomplishments stand out: they are measurable with numbers, dollars, and percentages. Executive résumés, according to Laura Smith-Proulx are quantified.
  • Shorter is better—two pages—but I’ve spoken with recruiters who will read three- even four-page résumés. The more pages, the easier the ATS to see you, my dear.
  • Demographics: Determine if the applicants’ demographics fit the role. Does he live close enough to the company? Does his work history show too much or enough years of experience? What size companies has the applicant worked at?

So, so far nothing related here as a criteria actually relates to the work at hand.  It’s all making an effort to eliminate people, for reasons that have nothing to with the work. Finally, if your lucky.

Fo(u)rth, determine which two, three, or four résumés to submit to the hiring manager

The recruiter’s reputation is riding on the best candidates to submit to the HM, so the résumés must impress him. He must be sold on the candidates’ accomplishments, which must be relevant.

For example, although a candidate has outstanding accomplishments as an individual contributor—increased revenue 80% by generating business in uncharted territory—but the job calls for a person with management experience, he probably isn’t a good fit.

Personality fit is also key in the recruiter’s decision. But how does the recruiter see candidates’ personality in a résumé? It’s not an easy task for the job seeker to accomplish, but a résumé that demonstrates a human voice without use of fluff and cliches is preferred.

The use of personal pronouns is typically frowned upon, but when used sparingly can emphasize the job seeker’s skills and accomplishments. By sparingly I mean used only in the Performance Profile section.

Finally the recruiter actually is passing something to the person who actually can make a decision. By this point though, the actual best candidate has probably been flushed by the system.

Fifth, defend the recruiter’s choice to the hiring manager

A well written résumé should not be difficult to defend. After all, it has passed the ATS, the six-second glance, a more extensive review, has presented relevant accomplishments, and has given the recruiter a sense of the job seeker’s personality…as best it can.

But the résumé is a document that can’t reveal as much as the interviews conducted by the recruiter, HR, and the hiring manager. This is a the first step in the process, albeit a very important step. The recruiter must sound convincing when she presents her decision to the HM, perhaps second guessing the choices she’s made. Let the interviews begin.

The recruiter’s job isn’t make those decisions.  Her job is to give the hiring manager OPTIONs which this process is designed to avoid.  The recruiter shouldn’t have t defend anything other than not giving the Hiring manager the options he needs.  The fact that the recruiters are taking upon themselves and flushing people based on irrelevancies only makes the Hiring Manager’s job harder in the long run.

Recruiting people must be the LAZIEST people in company. Horrors, that they must read a whole 100 resumes. Doing that might actually be work. Well that ATS can weed that down. Now lets look at this just a bit differently. That’s 75 sales leads the company just flushed. That’s 75 people that the ATS has pissed off for them. The people applying for those jobs are not applicants, but future business leads, vendors or customers. All because recruiting doesn’t want to do their jobs. Look it’s easy to look at recruiting as separate from the rest of the business. It’s not very smart though, in the long run.

Ultimately flushing people will hurt the business.  For that matter taking the hiring decision away from the people most qualified to make that decision, the hiring manager will likely lead to bad hires.  The fact is that recruiters are not qualified to make the judgment calls that they have taken upon themselves.  In the long run this will hurt the business and the company.

In the end all you are doing is hunting purple squirrels. And recruiters, if this how you are conducting business, how do you recognize talent when you have it.  Look, real talent doesn’t want to waste their time threading the labyrinth and fighting Minotaurs created by stupid recruiting policies.  All we want to do is get back to doing the jobs we do so well.

Look we’re out there.  The talent that you recruiters say you want so much.  The problem is that You people have set up so many lines of noncommunication that the system is broken.  Unfortunately we the talent can’t fix it.  We’re tired of fighting a system that works so hard to fail.  You people aren’t just flushing resumes, you’re failing, badly because, for some strange reason your afraid to work for your own success.  But your failure, recruiters is everybody’s failure.



  1. New Class Traitor · January 6, 2016

    Reblogged this on Spin, strangeness, and charm and commented:
    Read and weep.


  2. davidhuntpe · January 6, 2016

    Thanks for citing my post!

    But let’s be fair here; absent an ATS, recruiters are seeing 200, 300, 400 or more resumes pour in. Every day. (So much for the “recovery”.) It’s not humanly possible to give each resume the time and courtesy it deserves. Thus, to some degree, I sympathize with the need for an ATS to at least do the first winnowing. At issue is the fact that the ATS filter is often set so fine that NOBODY gets through… and even keyword planting is not something that guarantees a resume makes the cut. Thus, an ATS should be a coarse-mesh filter at best instead of the fine mesh one it seems to be.

    My essay, in particular, was aimed at HR AFTER the interview. A person goes in, spending hours if not a whole day, and doesn’t even get the courtesy of a call-back?


  3. jccarlton · January 6, 2016

    David, MY problem was that it was the wrong people setting those filters and making the decisions. Even at 1000 resumes a day, going through them would only take a couple of hours per day. How long would a company last if they treated sales leads the same way with the thinking “we have too many?” And without seeing real numbers, I don’t believe those claims, at least for real jobs. Otherwise why would those jobs stay on ads for months or even years. As for keyword planting, how do you know which keywords are correct. And then you have the problem that you’ve created a resume that may not make the next cut because of your keyword planting. In any case what we are seeing is a total breakdown of communication and it’s consequences.


    • davidhuntpe · January 6, 2016

      Won’t argue that. But 1000 emails a day taking a couple of hours???


      • jccarlton · January 6, 2016

        At ten seconds a resume, 1000 resumes would take one person 2.77777(2.8) hours to go through them all. Ok, three hours. Still, looking at resumes and prepping them for evaluation by the people actually making the hiring decision is supposed to be their job. Which is obviously not getting done.


  4. John Van Stry · January 6, 2016

    David, I’ve been a hiring manager, I can go through 200 resumes in less than an hour.
    This whole thing is BS and explains why so many crap people are the only ones making it through into an interview. Also is shows just how easy it is now to fake a resume.
    And I’ve seen a LOT of faked resumes.


    • jccarlton · January 6, 2016

      The funny thing is that because of all the crap, the faked resume may not even be the candidates fault. Agencies these days seem to think that it’s no big deal to rewrite somebody’s resume “make it closer to what their clients want.” It’s not a big deal until the poor candidate has to defend things on a resume that he hasn’t even seen. Yeah that makes you do well at the interview.


      • John Van Stry · January 6, 2016

        I always asked to see the resume that was submitted for me. Never ran into any problems myself.

        However I have run into quite a few faked resumes, (which is why I always phone screen) and I’ve run into people who were NOT the same person as the one on the phone screen (usually Indians). Foreigners are the ones most likely to lie on resumes (Russians and Indians) but back when I was hiring and firing people, I’d gone through so many resumes that I was actually familiar with all of the major Russian and Indian Universities.
        Which made it a lot easier to sort the fakes out.


  5. penneyvanderbilt · January 10, 2016

    Reblogged this on KCJones.


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