By the numbers: Canadian employers reveal how they screen job applications

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes after you apply for a job opening? A new survey of hundreds of Canadian employers reveals how they review candidate applications and what they’re really looking for in job interviews.

For this research, the team at recruiting giant Robert Half spoke with more than 300 senior managers at Canadian companies with 20 or more employees. Participants were asked about how they assess potential new hires.

It turns out that on average, managers review 34 resumes per job opening and spend 13 minutes looking at each one. (A similar study of American hiring managers found that employers south of the border look at more resumes and spend less time on each one.)

And those few minutes are just for the resumes that employers choose to review more closely. To make it to that round, research has shown that companies spend fewer than 10 seconds screening each resume on the first read. Here’s what they look for first.

Employers usually only look at applications that come in within the first nine days of a job being posted.

Managers interview an average of 13 people per open position. So, just over one third of those candidates whose resumes are selected for closer review receive job interviews.

American employers only interview half as many applicants (seven percent). Here’s what they are evaluating in candidates.

What employers look for in job interviews

The average job interview lasts for just 26 minutes, according to Canadian employers surveyed.

What are they looking for in that meeting? Senior managers said that they hold interviews primarily to verify relevant experience in candidates (57 per cent), assess soft skills and corporate culture fit (23 per cent) and confirm technical skills (21 per cent).

That’s what you need to convey in less than half an hour.

Those qualifications closely match with what employers say are the most common reasons that new hires don’t work out on the job: a lack of technical abilities (54 per cent) and soft skills (44 per cent).

Here’s a look at the average length of time the interview process takes from initial contact to job offer by industry.

See also: Decoded: The five words most often appearing in job postings

Source: Robert Half. You can review the full survey results and view the complete infographic here.

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