Mustard Recruitment Software

Optimising Interview Request Rates

7 Seconds. The average hiring manager spends less than 7 seconds scanning a candidate before deciding whether to invest more time reviewing the details.

We’ve analysed Mustard data to understand why some recruitment companies are outperforming their competitors when it comes to interview request rates.

Some Simple Steps.

  1. Make it easy for hiring managers.
  2. Be consistent.
  3. Highlight the value.
  4. Be specific.
  5. Automate your processes

1. Make it easy for hiring managers.

All hiring managers want the same thing from their recruitment providers; To be able to quickly and easily see value in a candidate.

Mistake: Recruiters write long, wordy intro paragraphs about each candidate, trying to “sell” the candidate to the hiring manager. Usually via email, but sometimes also in coversheets and VMS submissions.

Outcome: Hiring managers can’t find the value easily in your submissions, and review easier candidates first, leaving your time-consuming candidates until last.

Solution: Across Mustard’s current customers, those replacing long paragraphs with 2-3 bullet points each for

  • “Reasons why the candidate is leaving”
  • “Reasons why I am presenting this candidate for this specific role”
  • “Reasons why this candidate stands out”

produce far superior results, compared to letting each of their recruiters take their own approach to highlighting candidate value. Hiring managers are sending messages of thanks to the recruiters using this format, appreciating how easy the recruiter is making it for them to review their candidate submissions.

2. Be consistent.

Most recruitment organisations struggle to enforce consistency across their submissions, resulting in hiring managers prioritising other candidates before theirs.

Mistake: Individual recruiters take liberties with Microsoft Word templates, wasting up to 60 minutes per candidate using different layouts and formats for their candidate submissions.

Outcome: Hiring managers prioritise more easily reviewed submissions over yours, reducing interview request rates.

Solution: Give recruiters specific value-points that need to be hit in each section of the candidate submission. Mustard customers who limit the length of each section, and request their recruiters hit specific value-points like Experience-Level, Skill-Stack and Visa-Status have dramatically increased their interview request rates.

3. Highlight the value.

Recruiters limited to using bold or underlined text in Microsoft Word templates fail to capture the recruiter’s attention in the 7-second window.

Mistake: Recruiters do not isolate the most valuable information to draw the hiring manager’s eye.

Outcome: Hiring managers miss valuable highlights while scanning the submission, and fail to request interviews with top candidates.

Solution: Use simple, structured graphical elements to highlight things like skillsets, salary expectations, location and visa-status / right to work information. Good recruitment consultants know how to sell a candidate to a client over the phone. Candidate submissions should be no different, so make it easy for them to highlight the core-value, quickly.

4. Be specific.

The number one change a recruitment company can make to improve their interview request rates.

Mistake: Recruiters receive little training on how to highlight WHY this specific candidate is being presented for this specific role. They take their own approach and have poor results.

Outcome: Hiring managers are forced to search for what is THE most important line in the submission, sometimes having to subconsciously merge 3 or 4 pieces of information to understand why this candidate is a good fit.

Solution: Develop a simple and structured methodology for highlighting candidate fit to clients. Empower your recruiters to stick to the plan. Typically, organisations who can do this in a single, bullet-pointed section produce 300% higher interview acceptance rates than those who don’t.

A great structure to follow is to use the job spec or job post to identify exactly what the role requirements are as simple bullet points. Include these as simple YES or NO elements on the submission or cover sheet, to guarantee the hiring manager can quickly see why this candidate. is being presented.

5. Automate your processes.

A surefire way of guaranteeing all of your recruitment team stick to the plan, is to empower them with tools that help them produce consistent submissions. While Microsoft Word templates and PDF editors help ensure your brand or watermark is on a resume, they make it too easy for recruiters to make the above mistakes and produce poor results.

Mistake: Organisations give too much flexibility and not enough structure/guidance to their recruiters.

Outcome: It takes too long for a recruiter to stick to the plan, so they resort to their old, messy methods that produce the above issues.

Solution: Mustard combines highly structured data from your ATS, with extremely high quality parsed information, placed directly into pre-formatted sections. Recruiters on average save 30 minutes per candidate worked when preparing client-facing resumes, and our structured approach to how the data is presented produces superior documents that command the hiring manager’s attention.


The most immediate change you can implement is to develop a clear plan of action for improving how your org presents candidates.

Powerful software solutions like Mustard can help empower your recruiters to stick to that plan, save significant amounts of time and continuously optimise for interview acceptance rates.

To learn more, book a call with a Mustard consultant now.