30+ interview and resume statistics every job seeker should know

Writing a resume and interviewing is a stressful time. Did you know that the average job brings in about 250 resumes? Here are some more important statistics you should know about the hiring process, and some tips to help you stand out from the crowd.

Ever wondered how many other people you’re up against when applying for a job or what recruiters especially hate to see in a resume? What about the interview process? How many people actually get to sit in front of an employer, and how many times do they want to see you before offering you a job?

In the spirit of preparation being the key to success, we’ve brought together this collection of useful interview and resume statistics — 29 in total — to help you write a CV that lands you the interview that gets you the job you want.

1. You have less than seven seconds to impress a recruiter

According to eye-tracking research by The Ladders, recruiters spend an average of just 6.25 seconds looking at a candidate's resume before deciding whether or not that person is a fit for a job.

So that’s how long you have to impress — little over six measly seconds.

How do you make an impression in such a short amount of time?

With a visually appealing and professionally edited resume — something that makes yours stand out from the rest.

How your resume looks is every bit as important as what’s on there. Consider the presentation as much as the writing. Take a look at these creative resume examples

2. The average job opening attracts 250 resumes

Not only do you have a pitiful 1/10 of a minute to make a good first impression with a recruiter, Glassdoor research shows you’re up against 249 other people trying to do exactly the same thing.

When are you going to catch a break?

Take this resume statistic as another reason why you need to focus on creating a resume that looks as good as it sounds.   

3. 92% of recruiters use social media to find candidates

More than 9 in 10 recruiters are looking at your social media profiles, that’s according to a study by Jobvite.

Hardly a surprise. Social media is the first place we all look when we want to find out someone, right?

How are your social accounts looking?

It’s certainly worth being active on the big ones, especially LinkedIn. Which brings us nicely onto this next interview statistic...

4. 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn as part of the hiring process

Think of LinkedIn as an extension of your resume, and approach it with the mindset that recruiters are going to be taking a look at your profile.

Keep things professional.

Upload a respectable photo and make sure your work history matches up with your resume. There’s room for links and recommendations on LinkedIn too. So, if there’s anything you’ve done that you’re proud of or you know someone that’s willing to sing your praises, add these things to your profile.

That same Jobvite study also revealed that 55% of recruiters use Facebook and 47% use Twitter, which might make you think twice about the kind of content you’re posting on these sites.

If you’re worried about what a recruiter might think of your social profiles, consider setting up more business-like accounts and linking to those on your resume.

recruiter nation page3-1

Image credit: Jobvite  

5. 60% of potential candidates have quit a job application process because it was too lengthy

Let this stat from a CareerBuilder study act as motivation: stick out the application process and you’re already ahead of nearly two-thirds of candidates.  

6. The average interview process takes 22.9 days

Don’t worry, you won’t be locked in a room with employers for three weeks as they dissect every little part of your resume. This is how long, on average, you’ll be communicating back-and-forth with an employer before they make their decision, according to Glassdoor.

Prepare yourself for a lengthy process and maybe have more than one outfit ready.

Because…

7. It takes, on average, three interviews and three to six weeks to get an offer  

What this data from MRINetwork proves is that employers expect you to work hard to land a job. If you’re lucky enough to get called back for a second or third interview, make sure you have strong references at the ready.

If you included references on your resume, make sure they’re prepared to take a call from a potential employer. If not, have the details ready to hand over to the employer if they ask.

Former work colleagues, supervisors, and bosses (if your relationship ended on good terms) make for good references.

If you’ve got no work experience, coaches, teachers, and professors are all highly respected references.

Whoever you choose, always ask permission first.

8. Only 14.9% of hires are made from job board candidates. Most (39.9%) are made through employee referral programs

Recruiters are diversifying their approach, according to Jobvite resume statistics, which means you should mix up your approach too.

Don’t rely on any one method during your job hunt. Look on job boards, check social media, hand out resumes to friends, contact employers directly — the more things you do to look for a job, the greater the chance of an employer laying eyes on your resume.

9. Using concrete numbers increases your hireability by 40%

According to Talentworks resume statistics, job seekers who use numbers in their resumes see a 40.2% boost over the competition.

concrete-numbers-resume-tip-1

Image credit: Talentworks

We’re not talking any old numbers, though — swapping ‘three’ for a ‘3’ in relation to how many siblings you have won’t make much of an impact. The kinds of numbers we mean are those add weight to your credentials. Concrete numbers that demonstrate your value.

Let’s take a look at a typical sentence a recruiter might see on a resume:

“I helped increase social presence and grew sales for the company.”

Good for you.

Now, let’s rewrite that sentence and add in some numbers:

“Grew social media presence from 10,000 to over 500,000 and increased sales by 38% in two years.”

A much more impressive resume statistic, right?

Where an achievement can be quantified with numbers, do it. And bold them too for added “look at how good I am.”

10. 75% of hiring and talent managers use recruiting software and/or applicant tracking systems (ATS) when hiring

According to Capterra, people in high-up places are getting help from robots in finding the right candidate.

ATS systems are designed to scan resumes to pick out keywords related to the job description.

For example, if a hiring manager was looking to hire a digital marketing manager, they might set the ATS to scan for keywords such as “social media management,” “traffic acquisition,” “SEO,” “marketing strategy,” and “analytics.”

To you, this means including as many keywords as possible in your resume, without it sounding unnatural. Look at the language used in the job description and on the company website to find the kinds of keywords an ATS scans for.  

11. The average job interview is 40 minutes long

That figure from Forbes doesn’t seem long in the grand scheme of things, but 40 minutes can seem like 40 hours when you’re being bombarded with questions about your resume.

Remember, though: an interview is as much about you getting to know them as them getting to know you.

40 minutes provides sufficient time to do that. Plus, a longer interview means you don’t have to rush your answers — there’s plenty of time for you to get your points across in a measured fashion.

12. Optimum interview difficulty is four out of five

Glassdoor conducted research in six different countries (U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, France, and Germany) to find out the right kind of difficulty for interviews. Four out of five was where each country peaked.

The explanation behind the finding is that one-point interviews are simply “too easy” to provide an effective screen, which leads to hiring mistakes. While five-point interviews can be a sign of an aggressive work culture that damages employee satisfaction.

Four-point interviews are challenging enough to get a good read of a candidate, without leaving them feeling defeated.

What does this mean to you?

It means you should expect a rigorous interview, but nothing you can’t handle.

GD OptimalInterviewDifficulty Fig3

Image credit: Glassdoor

13. The average cost per hire has risen to over $4000

The actual figure, according to Undercover Recruiter, is $4,129. That’s a lot of money — the kind of which makes employers picky, and rightly so.

Only the best resumes will make the cut. Spend extra time ensuring yours is tailored to the role. Make sure you’re able to back up every claim you make. And expect employers to ask you to.

14. 65% of recruiters claim talent shortage is the biggest challenge in hiring

According to Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation study, a lack of skilled candidates is the largest obstacle to hiring for recruiters.

If you’ve got the skills, you’re well placed to land yourself a job. But it's essential that these skills are properly highlighted on your resume. Talk up those accomplishments!

15. 10% of job seekers have applied for 50 or more jobs without hearing back

This is a horrible statistic, but sadly true according to Undercover Recruiter.

It’s no way for a company to treat a job seeker but if you don’t hear back, don’t let it stop you. Keep on sending out those resumes and follow up with employers.

Sometimes resumes are genuinely missed — an average of 250 are sent in per job ad, after all. A follow-up could prompt a hiring manager to take a second look, or at the very least provide some constructive feedback.

The general rule of thumb is to follow up 5-10 business days after applying.

16. 59% of recruiters will reject a candidate because of poor grammar or a spelling error

Undercover Recruiter backs up this resume statistic and something we talk about a lot on this blog: PROOFREADING IS A MUST.

Don’t let a typo ruin your chances of landing your dream job.

When you’ve completed your resume, run it through an app such as Grammarly to highlight any errors. After that, have two people read over it to check for mistakes before sending.

17. Over 50% of recruiters will reject a candidate if their resume is full of cliches

Put a cliche in your resume and you’ve almost a 50% chance of it ending up in the trash.

If you’re wondering what words are considered cliche, the New College of the Humanities (NCH) surveyed 2,000 employers and came up with a top ten.

  1. Can work independently
  2. Hard worker
  3. Works well under pressure
  4. Good communicator
  5. Enthusiastic
  6. Team player
  7. Good listener
  8. Excellent written communication skills
  9. Proactive
  10. Problem solver

18. 85% of job applicants lie on resumes

According to HireRight’s employment screening benchmark report, the 85% is up from 66% in 2012.

More people are lying to get the job they want. Don’t be one of them.

Because...

19. 75% of HR managers have caught a lie on a resume

CareerBuilder found that human resources know how to find out if you’ve been telling tales. And if you’re caught, your chances of getting a job fall quite dramatically...

20. Only 12% of HR managers will call a dishonest candidate back

Take heed. Don’t lie.

21. Over 40% of recruiters are put off by too much design

According to Undercover Recruiter, some recruiters are put off by “snazzy borders, inappropriate fonts, clipart images…..or even an emoji!”

If you’re applying for a job in a creative industry, feel free to go all out creatively. For most industries, however, it’s best to play safe.

But safe doesn’t mean you can’t be creative — you just have to be more understated about it.

Take a look at how these resumes stand out for their creativity without being overbearing.

22.  1 in 5 recruiters will reject a candidate before they’ve even finished reading their resume

Ouch!

This resume statistics from Undercover Recruiter highlights two key points of resume writing:

  • Start strong. Get your best stuff in early with a powerful summary
  • Focus on attributes and accomplishments that are relevant to the job to keep a recruiter’s attention

23. 76% of resumes with unprofessional email addresses are rejected

Imagine having a resume that ticks every box on a job description only to find out it was rejected because you opted to put your trusty old Pokemon4eva65995@hotmail.com email address on there?

Over three-quarters of recruiters will pass on your resume for exactly that, according to Total Jobs.

It only takes a few minutes to create a professional email address on Gmail or Outlook, and both are free. When we say ‘professional’ what we mean is something sensible and formal like: owensherman@gmail.com.

Stick with your name or your first initials and surname and you’ll dramatically increase your chances of being hired.

24. Only 2% of candidates receive a job interview

Only the absolute best-of-the-best get called in for an interview, according to Job Market Experts.

And what puts someone in that magical 2%?

An outstanding resume.

25. Job seekers read at least six reviews before forming an opinion of a company.

A study by Glassdoor reveals that people are taking more time to find out about companies before applying or considering job proposals.

You should do the same.

Reading reviews and finding out as much as you can about a company can provide the information you need to tailor your resume.

And if that company doesn’t come across well?

Well, then you can focus your energy elsewhere.

26.  72% of recruiters struggle to find relevant candidates

Talentnow shows that the actual figure is 72.8%.

Why can’t they find skilled people?

It could be because there’s a shortage of talent, as Jobvite’s research shows (see: 14). But it could also be that the talent that is out there isn't showing true potential.

In other words, their resumes suck.

A good resume, tailored to the job you’re applying for, gets you found and makes you a relevant candidate.

27. Only 7% of recruiters view selfies as negative, down from 25% in 2015.

Jobvite resume statistics show that recruiters aren’t as offended by selfies as they used to be. Maybe the invention of the selfie stick brought more of them on side? Or maybe it’s because they’re unavoidable and hating on them drastically reduces the talent pool?

Still, it’s best to err on the side of caution with selfies — nothing too offensive. You posing at the top of the Empire State Building is fine. You posing while a loved one is undergoing surgery in the background, probably doesn’t belong on the internet.

28. Adding industry buzzwords increases your hireability by 29%

Talentworks found that industry buzzwords do your resume a world of good.

This goes back to the use of ATS software and keywords that we talked about earlier (see 10). Employers like to see that you’re down with the lingo, that you speak their language.

Study the website and social media profiles of the company, search Google to find out how industry influencers are talking, and check out the LinkedIn profiles of people in similar roles to see how they describe themselves.

And follow Talentworks’ tip: “Name-drop a buzzword every 3-6 sentences. Folks who dropped an occasional buzzword saw a +29.3% boost over others.”

adding-industry-buzzwords-resume-tip-1

Image credit: Talentworks

29. Applying on a Monday increases hireability by 46%

Talentworks’ findings make sense. First day of the working week and all that — recruiters are looking to get things done. Hireability drops off a cliff on Fridays and Saturdays, so avoid sending over your resume on either of those days.

apply-on-mondays-job-search-tip-1

Image credit: Talentworks

30. The perfect cover letter length is...

A Saddleback College Resume Survey reports that employers certainly have a preference for shorter cover letters, with 43% saying half a page is the ideal length, 24% saying the shorter the better, and only 12% saying a full page is necessary

What you need to do now

These resume and interview statistics make it clear what kind of challenges you face as a job seeker. It’s an uphill battle just to get your resume seen, let alone have it land you an interview.  

But now you’re at an advantage. Because these interview and resume statistics show you how recruiters, employers and hiring managers think — what they like and dislike. You can use this to put together a resume that surpasses the ones in the queue for the shredder — one with buzzwords and numbers and none of the cliches that makes a recruiter throw up a little in their mouth.

And when that call comes to arrange an interview, you know that it’s going to be tough and lengthy. But you'll be ready for it.

Don’t think about the interview yet, though. Concentrate on your resume first.

Take these stats, find a template, and build a resume that makes a recruiter say to a packed office of stressed colleagues buried deep in below-par resumes, “call off the search. We’ve got our candidate right here.”

Subscribe
Recieve news about job search, resumes, interviews and more
Keep reading
Some related articles for keen readers