We’ve been using resumes when hiring for ages. We’re so used to evaluating people based on their bullet-pointed one-pagers that we never stop for a moment and ask ourselves — are resumes still relevant?
For job seekers, there’s one job search staple that they know they need in their toolbox in order to land a new role: a resume.
Yes, that concise, bulleted document has been a core pillar of the job hunt landscape for ages. In fact, it’s become such a widely accepted standard, that rarely do companies stop to ask: Is this working for us? Are resumes really the most effective way to find the best talent for open roles?
We don’t necessarily think so. In fact, as hiring and recruiting have evolved, we’re firmly convinced that there are far better and more accurate ways to sort through interested applicants and find the ones who are actually qualified for the position.
So, while resumes have long been the tried and true foundation of the job search, it might be time for something new.
Here are four reasons resumes aren’t actually a helpful hiring tool.
Why resumes don’t work
1. Resumes are difficult to differentiate.
Countless career advice articles give job seekers tips and tricks on how they can make their resume stand out to hiring managers. But, do you know what? It’s virtually impossible to differentiate one resume from another.
Seriously, if you currently have a stack of resumes on your desk, take a moment to flip through them.
They all look pretty similar, don’t they? Chances are, you see contact information at the top. You see a bulleted list of key skills or core competencies.
You see the same keywords repeated over and over again—everyone says that he’s a skilled communicator or a passionate innovator, for example.
So, ask yourself this: When they’re all so similar, how can you leverage that information to decide which applicant deserves an interview and which is getting a one-way ticket to your recycling bin?
It’s tough. When resumes look like they’re literally copied and pasted from one another, it’s seemingly impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff amongst your candidates.
2. Resumes encourage bias.
Yes, this is tough to admit to yourself—but, it’s true. Unconscious bias has a sneaky way of creeping into your hiring process.
We tend to look for people who use similar language to us on their career documents. We favor those who share a similar background. Some research even goes so far as to show that minorities who “whiten” their resumes experience far more success in landing interviews.
Even further, people with white-sounding names are 74% more likely to get a call for an interview than applicants with more ethnic-sounding names.
We know what you’re thinking: You would never fall victim to those bias traps yourself.
But, it happens—that’s why it’s called unconscious bias. And, it’s yet another reason that resumes aren’t necessarily the best way forward.
A more “blind” approach that focuses explicitly on skills and qualifications—as opposed to demographics—is a surefire way to prevent unconscious bias from sabotaging your hiring process.
3. Resumes include useless information.
Sure, there’s some need-to-know information included on a standard resume. From contact information to the roles that were previously held by that candidate, we’re certainly not saying that all resume information is irrelevant.
However, let’s face it—there’s quite a bit that gets crammed into that document that you don’t necessarily need to know or care about.
Will the fact that a certain applicant graduated in the top 25% of his class really impact how successful he’s able to be with your organization? Do you desperately need to get the lowdown on what extracurricular activities she participated in while she was getting her undergraduate degree?
Probably not—but, it’s information you’ll typically find crammed within those margins in attempts to stand out (remember how tough it is to differentiate?) and elevate a person’s candidacy.
Unfortunately, those various nuggets and accolades don’t actually help you make a wise hiring decision in the slightest.
4. Resumes are all talk and no action.
You’re familiar with the old “actions speak louder than words” cliche. But, what exactly is a resume?
A resume is just words on a paper—and that’s it.
Anybody can say that they’re a problem solver, but the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Resumes give you no way to actually see how a candidate would cope and move forward when met with a complex business problem.
This is why resumes are often just the first step in the hiring process.
Hiring managers need to rely on more in-depth interviews to get a true sense for whether or not the candidate could fill the shoes of that open position.
So, with that in mind, it feels as though resumes have become virtually meaningless—aside from gathering basic information like name, contact information, and educational degree. Perhaps it’s for that reason that the average recruiter only spends six seconds reviewing an individual resume document.
So… What to use instead of resumes?
Are you convinced that resumes aren’t necessarily the best way for you to zone in on the candidates that deserve to move forward in your hiring funnel? We can’t blame you.
But, that naturally leads to this follow-up question: If not resumes, then what? What tactics can you use to identify the most suitable and qualified candidates?
More and more employers have been ditching resumes in favor of tools and assessments capable of giving them a more accurate feel for how a specific candidate would perform in a role.
One tactic that’s been growing in popularity? Setting up short skills-based challenges that applicants need to complete.
These assessments are improving your candidate experience (and removing the stressful pain for candidates of needing to create a resume), while also giving you added insight into their job-specific skills and whether or not they’re a true fit for that rule.
Don’t know how to get started? Hundred5 also has helpful templates you can use to put together your assessment.
You’re in charge of deciding how many points a candidate needs to achieve in order to make it to your shortlist and move forward in the process, meaning you’ll end up with a roster of truly qualified candidates who have already proven their value.
By going beyond just the words of a traditional resume, having candidates complete these assessments brings the action back into the hiring picture—arming you with powerful information you can use to find the best hire for your business.
Ready to Ditch the Resume?
Are you feeling ready to kick resumes to the curb in favor of a hiring process that actually helps you find the right talent for your open roles? Get started by signing up for Hundred5 and begin creating your own on-the-job tests for your applicants.
You’ll have a shortlist of top-notch candidates in no time.