In a recent study conducted by Kickresume, recruiters have been found to exhibit significant inconsistency when reviewing resumes.

The research, which involved six recruiters tasked with evaluating 12,000 pairs of job adverts and candidate resumes, uncovered noteworthy findings about the subjective nature of recruitment processes.

What set this study apart was the undisclosed repetition of certain resumes. Recruiters, unaware that they were reviewing the same resumes twice, demonstrated a level of subjectivity that cast doubt on the consistency of their assessments.

Even when presented with identical resumes on separate occasions, recruiters reached disparate conclusions regarding candidates’ suitability for job positions.

Similar consistency to AI

The study further highlighted that recruiters performed similarly to Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms in terms of consistency. AI, already demonstrating a comparable level of consistency to human recruiters, raises the prospect of leveraging automation in the recruitment process.

Commenting on the findings, Peter Duris, CEO and Co-founder of Kickresume, expressed fascination with the observed variances. Duris emphasised the potential of AI as a time-saving tool in resume screening, suggesting its utility in assisting recruiters in candidate selection.

For job seekers, these findings offer a nuanced perspective. Understanding that recruiter decisions may not always align on resume evaluations can provide reassurance. Duris advises job seekers not to be disheartened by rejections, suggesting resume refinement and perseverance as strategies for success.

A notable inconsistency reviewing resumes

The study employed Cohen’s Kappa metric to gauge agreement levels among recruiters. With an average score of 0.49, indicating moderate agreement, recruiters exhibited notable inconsistency in their assessments. When presented with identical resumes, recruiters only identified candidates as suitable 40 percent of the time, while consistently recognising unsuitable candidates at a rate of 91 percent.

In contrast, an AI job matching tool demonstrated a Cohen’s Kappa score of 0.45, suggesting a comparable level of agreement to the pool of human recruiters. Notably, this AI surpassed conventional Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software by employing advanced algorithms beyond keyword filtering.

In response, Kickresume advises job seekers to diversify their applications across multiple roles, thereby increasing their chances of exposure to different recruiters. While recruiters may not always concur on optimal candidates, consensus is often reached regarding unsuitable applicants. Hence, aligning resumes closely with job descriptions is paramount, emphasising relevant experience, skills, and qualifications.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.