Resumes have long been the standard starting point for hiring managers searching for top job candidates.
But as it turns out, they might not be the best indicators of which applicants deserve a second glance.
In a blog post for the Harvard Business Review, Terence Tse, Mark Esposito, and Olaf Groth argue that resumes and CVs don’t identify the most important qualities companies should look for in leaders.
“Resumes generally don’t distinguish between skills (knowing how to do something) and competencies (doing it really well and with great reliability and ease),” they write.
While resumes still serve as great records of candidates’ achievements and skill sets, they place too much emphasis on grades, university reputations, and prior work experience, Tse, Esposito, and Groth say. They contend that in many cases these criteria favour applicants from wealthy backgrounds who can afford to attend expensive universities and take unpaid internships.
This not only hurts qualified candidates from less affluent backgrounds, but also limits recruiters’ opportunities by narrowing the talent pool they draw from. To combat this, Tse, Esposito, and Groth suggest implementing strategies that test the competencies of candidates instead of simply reviewing a list of their past accomplishments.
For example, London-based startup Seedcamp uses psychographic information, such as personality traits and outside interests, to predict which teams will be most successful. Similarly, IBM reviews candidates’ social media and web presence.
Tse, Esposito, and Groth also point to resources like Saberr, which uses algorithms to forecast how well new hires will fit in at a certain company. To accomplish this, Saberr administers surveys to both employers and potential hires that focus on soft skills and “predict how strong the interpersonal relationship between applicants and the potential employer can become.”
Companies like Quid, which analyse where individuals spend the most time and energy online, could also serve as valuable tools by showing recruiters where candidates dedicate their “professional energies,” Tse, Esposito, and Groth say.
Resumes aren’t going anywhere — they still provide several valuable insights into a candidate’s skills and background — but other technologies and strategies could change the face of recruiting. Using the resume as a secondary tool in weeding out potential hires levels the playing field for applicants and provides recruiters with better ways to find the strongest choices.
Click here to read the full HBR blog post.
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