The Relevancy (or Lack of) Resumes in Hiring

Ever wonder why resumes are still a part of most hiring processes? Are they even relevant anymore? The answer is yes… and no. It’s complicated. Here’s why – their relevance has shifted in today’s business environment. While traditionally resumes were used as the primary “selling tool” for candidates vying for a job, today they mainly serve as a digital footprint so hiring managers can find candidates – i.e. it makes candidates “searchable.” 

Yet, many would argue that is where the value of resumes comes to a halt. Here are a few of the reasons why:

  1. Experience vs. skills. For one, titles and years of experience are no longer a person’s number one currency. While historically, hiring managers placed more value on years of experience, today they are increasingly focused on skills and potential to perform. Often qualities such as problem-solving or critical thinking skills can be overlooked when sifting through resumes or vetting through LinkedIn profiles alone. This means candidates who may have skills, but few experiences are passed over, or candidates who have a natural growth mindset and a strong work ethic get set aside.

    The relevancy (or lack of) resumes in hiring

  2. Job titles are ambiguous. Job titles have clear relevance in terms of company hierarchies, determining roles and even inspiring confidence and a sense of status among employees. However, as technologies advance, jobs – and job titles – have shifted and emerged to include roles that have never existed before now. In fact, a recent study concluded that occupations that have 10% more new job titles grew 5% faster over a decade. In addition, job titles vary by companies and industries, where the same title at one small company may be entirely different than the title at a larger organization. The reality is today’s job titles can be misleading and ambiguous. 
  3. They are a lagging and static profile. With the pace of change today, workers are gaining new skills faster than ever before in order to remain relevant and perform. Yet, resumes are static and require frequent revisions, often weekly. Also, given the importance of finding the right person for a job, the critical factor of culture fit is difficult to ascertain from a resume. When you consider a meta-analysis of 172 separate studies found that employees who fit well within a company’s culture lasted long, performed better and had higher job satisfaction, hiring managers must look beyond the resume to determine cultural fit. 

Use Multiple Strategies to Find that One Right Hire.

While resumes and interviews are key to the hiring process (for now), they only help to determine if a person has the right degree of experience or qualifications for a position. They provide little insight into whether a candidate has the right skills and are the right fit for the job.. In fact, when you consider that up to 78% of resumes are misleading and up to 46% contain lies, hiring decision-makers will need to rely on more modern strategies to uncover the right candidate. These can include:

  • Job auditions. An emerging approach to screening potential hires, job auditions put candidates in real scenarios relevant to the job they’re applying for. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s 2018 Global Recruiting Trends Survey, job auditions were named as the second most useful innovation to candidate evaluations. Examples of job auditions among today’s employers include, a day in the life where candidates spend a day in the office with the team they’re being considered for; a contract assignment or hypothetical project to complete; or hiring a candidate for a 3-6 week tryout period before deciding on full-time employment. 
  • Talent assessments. More and more of the world’s leading organizations are utilizing talent assessments to better inform hiring decisions. In fact, the same LinkedIn survey named soft skill assessments as the most useful innovation to candidate evaluations. That’s because assessment tools that are backed by science and developed by I/O psychologies are best able to evaluate, measure and predict a person’s soft skills and potential to perform in a job. 
  • Video introductions. While video interviewing has grown in popularity, consider having candidates submit a video introduction that describes why they want to work for you and they they’d be the right person for the job. 
  • Open contests. If you have a challenge that can be exposed to your competition, consider hosting an open contest or innovation challenge. Ask candidates to submit solutions and tactics to solve the problem. 

Move Beyond the Resume. 

Particularly in today’s tight labor market and talent shortage, creative and more effective ways to assess candidates for a job are paramount. While resumes serve a purpose, when it comes to accurately determining a person’s potential to perform and succeed, they alone won’t cut it. Hiring decision-makers can look to new ways of assessing all the ingredients required to better ensure the right hire for the job:

  • Selecting capable candidates who have the competencies required for the job.
  • Measure what type of work and culture that motivates the candidate to engage in, or move away from, job-related tasks.
  • Assess candidates’ behavior style and how they approach problems and challenges.
  • Use tools to measure a candidates’ ability to solve problems, be innovative and analyze information. 
  • Ensure all pre-hire assessment methods are business-related and relevant to the specific job for which you’re hiring. 

If organizations want a hiring strategy apt for today’s labor market, they must change how they identify, measure and hire for the right fit. Instead of guessing the type of individual who will make the best addition to the team and organization and hoping you’re right, look beyond hard skills alone to make more informed, data-based hiring decisions.