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New SHRM survey provides insight into how HR looks at resumes and cover letters and how organizations conduct interviews
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Less than five minutes—that is how much time a resume is reviewed before it is decided whether a job candidate proceeds to the next step in the hiring process, according to a new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Resumes, Cover Letters and Interviews Survey released today.
Additionally, almost all respondents (93 percent) said inaccuracies in resumes either sometimes (73 percent) or always (20 percent) negatively impacted their decision to extend a job interview.
“Regarding interview process and etiquette, the research shows that smaller organizations expect more of the personal touches from candidates, such as sending thank you notes and cover letters,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s Survey Programs. “Larger companies were more likely to have panel or structured interviews than smaller organizations.”
When those surveyed were asked what gave candidates a positive edge over the competition, top answers included chronologically organized resumes (66 percent), resumes in bulleted format (43 percent) and resumes tailored to a specific industry (43 percent).
The survey results were released at
SHRM’s Talent Management Conference being held in Nashville, Tenn.
Seventy-seven percent of HR professionals also said job candidates should explain in a job interview that they were fired or laid off from a position. Fifty-seven percent of participants indicated that job candidates should neither emphasize nor hide gaps in employment.
“Just as there is an expectation of job candidates to be honest when prompted about their work history, it is equally important for HR professionals to be understanding of resume gaps,” said Wanda Barrett, manager of employment at SHRM. “The number of layoffs we saw during the recession was historic—for that reason, job gaps should not be an automatic disqualifier.”
Additional findings include:
Interviews and Etiquette:
SHRM surveyed 411 randomly selected organization members throughout the United States.
The full survey is available online at
For more surveys/poll findings, visit
shrm.org/surveys. Follow SHRM Research on Twitter
Media: For more information or to request an interview, contact Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and
Vanessa.Gray@shrm.org or Kate Kennedy of SHRM Public Affairs at 703-535-6260 and
About the Society for Human Resource Management Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit SHRM Online at
www.shrm.org and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.
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