The Six-Second Rule

August 18, 2023
August 18, 2023 Jamie Michelson

The Six-Second Rule

Many of us know the five-second rule. Except for avocado toast that lands on the wrong side, I’m a believer and frequent practitioner. Our dog, Derby, has no time limit. He just won’t eat anything green.

But the six-second rule? The Wall Street Journal recently asked, “Does your resume pass the six-second test?” They had “experts” who claimed your resume has six seconds to make its point. The data says to drop the personal statement and just focus on key words. I cry foul. Two minutes in the penalty box (that’s 120 seconds) for those experts.

I see a disconnect. And I found it in less than six seconds. With all this talk about how challenging it is to attract and retain talent, the problem is not your resume. The problem is who (or what) is reviewing your resume.

How about doing what we do at SMZ? (Yes, I’m about to spill some of our secret sauce on the floor.) Have humans read resumes. Have humans make notes on resumes and pass them amongst the hiring committee. Have that resume in hand when interviewing a candidate. I think we can put more than six seconds in for someone we hope to have for 220,752,000 seconds before they develop a seven-year itch.

Sure, AI software can make an instantaneous judgment. But some I’s and eyes can make the gut judgments that identify imperfect-on-paper candidates who become ideal hires and long-run performers. Those are the folks who’ve got my six.