Recently, while driving to work, I heard a report on the radio about a company choosing to forego traditional job interviews or collecting resumes for an open position, choosing instead to base their entire candidate selection process on “Twitterviews.”
Upon arriving at the office and doing a little more research, I found both USA Today and Business Insider reporting on the Twitterview trend.
Apparently, the tech firm Enterasys Networks is in the process of hiring a Senior Social Media Strategist using Twitter to ask job candidates interview questions, then basing their hiring decision on the candidates’ 140-character answers. Vala Afshar, Enterasys’ Chief Marketing Officer, refuses to even look at resumes, stating, “The paper resume is dead. The Web is your resume. Social networks are your mass references.”
Enterasys isn’t the only company jumping on the Twitterview bandwagon. The Marketing Arm, a division of advertising company Omnicom Group, is planning to hire five summer interns based solely on tweets. But presumably, the positions have yet to be filled, and several unanswered questions remain.
How will these companies determine what kind of a fit the candidates will be with their company culture? How will they assess each candidate’s ability to perform under the pressure of an interview, thus translating to their work performance? How will they determine the candidates’ social skills, and how well they’ll interact with their coworkers or contribute in a team environment? And most importantly, what will the candidates’ next step be after getting fired for not being qualified, not being able to handle the workload, or simply not being a good fit for the company?
I don’t doubt that an employer can learn a great deal from candidates based on their tweets. I’m sure an interviewer who is an industry veteran and savvy Twitter user can ask just the right questions to glean the necessary info from a prospective employee in order to ascertain that they have the industry experience and social media knowledge the job requires.
But how does one verify the legitimacy of this information? If these companies are truly not accepting any application materials other than tweets, aside from viewing the candidates’ web presence, how do they verify past employment, confirm education or check references?
In the past decade alone, we’ve seen the job application process take on many new forms – LinkedIn profiles, online portfolios, Prezi resumes, Skype interviews. Technology is constantly evolving, and with change comes new and innovative ways of showcasing skills and talents to prospective employers.
And while Afshar claims the resume is dead, the fact remains that 3.6 billion resumes are being sent to potential employers in the U.S. each year. So employers must still be reading them, right?
As someone who works in a recruiting department that sources and screens resumes for each position we fill, I still see the resume as an important tool. If it weren’t, why are 15,000 new resumes being posted every day to CareerBuilder? Why are employers paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilege of searching CareerBuilder’s database to fill open positions?
For those employers looking to fill positions that don’t require strong social media connections, where are they finding qualified candidates? Unless they are word-of-mouth referrals, the candidates are likely being sourced by a recruiter or directly by the employer. And unless they’re passive candidates who are hand-picked from a competitor and convinced to leave their jobs, the names are probably coming from resumes!
Afshar’s statement that the Web is the new resume and social networks are now mass references demonstrates the hiring criteria important to Enterasys’ business. However, just because someone is knowledgeable about a subject or industry and active on social media doesn’t necessarily mean they will make a good employee.
If I were an employer who was impressed with a young prospect’s social networking skills and industry knowledge, the first thing I would want to do is get some more background information on the individual – the kind of info that a resume provides. And if I were a job seeker, I certainly wouldn’t wait around hoping a prospective employer reads my tweets before taking a proactive approach to getting my work experience and accomplishments in front of their HR department.
So maybe my views are antiquated – maybe I’m an octogenarian trying to view the recruiting world through a black-and-white television with a rabbit-ear antenna. But with LinkedIn stating its aspiration to be “the next generation resume” and just hitting the 200 million user mark, from where I sit, the resume isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. For those employers who have had success hiring without the use of resumes in any form, I’d love to hear about your experiences. But if you’re a job seeker asking me for work, guess what my first request will be.
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