What Do Recruiters Look For In Your LinkedIn Profile?

Recruiters will zip through your LinkedIn profile in 6 seconds. Yep, you read it right, 6 seconds. It is all you get to make your first impression with your LinkedIn profile. In that time recruiters make a decision whether to add you to one of two lists — the first being the “has potential” pile and the other is the “no chance” pile. That’s it, only two possible directions your LinkedIn profile can go after being scanned by a recruiter. Out of all the recruiters I worked with throughout my years, there is rarely a “maybe” pile. They make up their minds with a yes or no, no in-between.

How do I know? Because this is exactly what my teammates and I did when we were working at one of the leading recruitment agencies in Hong Kong. We were working with some of the most demanding clients in the world, the likes of HSBC, Deliveroo, AXA, Ernst & Young, etc. They enlisted in our recruitment services to find them the talent that they couldn’t find themselves, so we needed to do two things:

  1. Go through hundreds of different LinkedIn profiles in a very short time
  2. And find the cream of the crop to then send them to them in our shortlist
  • Shortlist is recruitment lingo for the selected candidates that best match the needs of the corporate client. This list usually has around 2 – 5 candidates.

In this article, I will explain exactly how recruiters spend those six seconds on your LinkedIn profile so you are ready to get put on the right list.

Before we do that, you may be wondering:

Why do recruiters use this 6 second rule?

There’s a couple of factors but the main one being that time isn’t in their favor, especially for high-demand roles. As an agency recruiter, you are usually competing with other agencies and the client’s internal HR. In other words, time is money and you need to find the best candidates before everyone else. Think of it as a super intense game of hide and seek but one where the recruiters never get to hide!

Also, keep in mind the sheer quantity of profiles on LinkedIn! According to LinkedIn, there are 706 million profiles across 200 countries as of September 2020. Recruiters are sifting through hundreds of profiles every day until they get to their star candidates. If you don’t make it past the 6 second test, chances are you are not going to get a second shot for that role.

Here is a breakdown of the six seconds that recruiters will spend reviewing your LinkedIn profile.

1 Second on your Picture

  • Do you have a picture? Great.
  • Is it just you and no distractions? Yes, perfect.
  • Are you smiling and look friendly and likeable? Bingo! You get to move on to the next criteria.

1 Second on your LinkedIn Headline

Your headline can make or break your chances. If your LinkedIn headline is irrelevant to what recruiters are looking for in their open roles, they will move on to someone who has one they think the client would like!

Your headline should be a snapshot of your past experience and what you can bring to the organization. Think VALUE here. You know what does NOT add value? “Open to new opportunities.” There’s no need to add this in!

Here’s a quick formula you can use for your LinkedIn Headline:

  • Current or desired role @ current company (leave blank if not employed at the moment) | Industry focus or unique skills | Fun fact or big achievement

This can look like:

  • Digital Marketing Manager @ ABC | Data Analytics & SEO | Helped ABC rank #1 on Google in 6 months

2 Seconds On Your About Section

For this, recruiters will spend an additional 2 seconds.

You don’t have to write your whole life story here but add in key facts and details that will make the recruiters want to read more about you. About sections with simple language, easy to digest format, and added in key wins are the standouts. As with any reading material, stories with personality are more interesting to read than just a laundry list of facts. Show off your charm with your words!

Add in your email address and/or phone number as well so recruiters have an easy way to get in touch with you.

2 Seconds on Your Experience Section

The final 2 seconds are reserved for your experience section, your current/past titles and the companies you worked for.

Recruiters want candidates that can fulfill these qualities:

  • Has direct experience in their open role and/or industry
  • Matches the right level of seniority for the role with the # of years in management (if applicable)
  • Has proven track record of adding value to past teams and companies (bonus points if those companies are notable brands)

If you pass these requirements, you are one step closer to get on that elusive list. Well, if you don’t pass these yet, don’t worry because we prepared 3 simple tweaks for your LinkedIn profile to get you started!

Six seconds seems like an incredibly short amount of time, but recruiters are trained to spot the best from the rest. After you pass this test, then it’s on to the phone screen round. Here recruiters will confirm if the real life you matches your online avatar on LinkedIn. So with everything else that you say and write, always be honest and truthful on your LinkedIn profile!

You now got the insights to pass the recruiters’ initial test, now it’s just about telling your story in those 6 seconds. The clock starts now… Good luck!

Kickstart your job search with
our free templates!

Learn the strategies for your resume, interviews, and emails that have helped our clients land roles at Tesla, Google, J.P. Morgan, Adidas, and more.

Download freebies

Join the 50,000+ in our email list and get our newsletters with our best recruiter secrets and updates from Sho sent directly to your inbox every week. 







*By clicking Submit, you agree to be added to our mailing list and receive updates from Workhap. We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe anytime.