Why You Need to Know the Psychology of a Recruiter

It’s important for job seekers to understand the psychology of a Recruiter.

All recruiters aren’t bad, and not all of them are good either. But all of them are busy – very busy. The average recruiter will receive 80 resumes per open position – unless they work at Google, where Laszlo Bock the SVP of People Operations said they receive millions of resumes!

Most recruiters are good at what they do and really try to place candidates in the appropriate jobs however, just because of the daily grind it’s not efficient or a good use of their time to read every resume and cover letter that lands on their desk. Unfortunately, there are job seekers who will send their resume over and over again, for the same position or other positions because they simply want a job – any job.  

What those job seekers do not realize is that they disrupt the recruiting cycle by doing so. A recruiter must reconcile these repeat resumes and then manage them effectively by either tossing them out or aligning the applicant with the correct position. That takes a lot of time and just imagine having to handle that all day long, by the end of the day you’d probably only get through a hand full of people.

Recruiters are passionate but they are human too and they have to meet quality and performance standards just like everyone work today. Recruiter has to look at the candidate’s credentials and make a decision to approve or deny them an opportunity in a matter of seconds.  A lot of companies use an Applicant Tracking System which have the capability to parcel through resumes and determine if the candidate is a match or not. They do this in the interest of time.


You, as a job seeker, need to understand that you have to make your application or credentials as easy to understand as possible.

  1. Be sure your resume is brief. I know you are an important person and you’ve accomplished a lot however, a recruiter does not have time to read your 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 page resume.  Did you know that a good rule of thumb to follow for resume length is one page for every 10 years of experience?  Since you only need 15 years of progressive experience on your resume that means your resume should be a page and a half (roughly).  In most cases if you remove the fluff and the redundancies, you can achieve this goal.

  2. Be sure your social profiles are clean and your LinkedIn is updated. It never ceases to amaze me how neglected most job seekers LinkedIn profiles are (sort of like their resumes). If you are in the job market then you need to know that over 95% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates or verify information. Having a presence on LinkedIn helps you solidify opportunities, you never know who is hiring and who they are looking for – be searchable.

  3. Be sure to limit your awards and accolades to the most recent achievements from the past 5 years. Employee of the Year awards from the 90’s or early 2000’s aren’t as important now as they once were.

  4. Be sure to ditch the objective and replace it with a powerful branding statement, e.g. “15 years of experience in Human Resources” or “Recent graduated from Ohio State University with a Master’s in Environmental Engineering” or “A certified Citrix Specialist with 6 years of consistent experience”. This will help the Recruiter match you to the correct job.

  5. Be sure to show your value by highlighting examples of process changes or productivity increases that you suggested or implemented. Paint yourself as a person who has the ability to lead, follow directions and make improvements. Recruiters love to sell you to the Hiring Manager.

These are some simple ways to help you understand the mindset and psychology of a recruiter, which ultimately helps you!

Chris Fields is a Professional HR Consultant and Resume Writer. His website, the ResumeCrusade has been featured on MashableHuffington Post and Oprah.com. He is also a speaker and HR writer for Performance I Create and eSkill Assessments. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow on Twitter.

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