There are many things in the workplace that are out of date. Typewriters, fax machines, manual filing. Most of these things have been replaced by better versions of themselves - computers, email, cloud storage.
But when it comes to how we hire employees - the most important part of any business - many of our tools and processes remain stagnant.
The most outdated element in the entire hiring process is still deemed by many one of the most important: the resume.
Resumes used to be the only way to get an idea of an applicant's skills, qualifications and experience outside of a face-to-face interview. They were a screening tool used by companies when most industries and positions required a standard set of criteria.
However, things have changed. We know more about what makes a good employee. There are different and more advanced techniques for screening candidates and new and different ways to hire talent. And resumes are simply no longer an efficient way to understand these factors about a person.
If you need to proof to convince your team to drop resumes all together, check out our list below the top reasons why resumes are inarguably useless in today’s hiring environment:
Chemistry is More Important than Skill
Most HR professionals know the cost of a bad hire. Leaving an employee costs an average of 33% of his or her annual salary, and that does not even take into account lost time.
But what constitutes a bad hire? If the skills and qualifications listed on the resume match the job description, why do 46% of new hires fail within 18 months?
A recent groundbreaking study by Leadership IQ found that the number one reason new hires failed had nothing to do with their job skills. It was poor attitude or chemistry with their new teams. The study found that attitude was responsible for 89% of new hire failures, while technical skills accounted for only 11%!
Knowing this, you can understand why an applicant's resume says little about whether or not they will be a good employee. It's chemistry, personality, and fit with the company culture that really make the difference.
HR is Unfamiliar with Most Industry-Specific Terms Used on Resumes
Imagine you are a HR professional looking to hire a software developer. You are probably not familiar with things like coding, programming, or development. So when you review a developer's resume, there may not be a lot of useful information available to you. Sure, there are a few terms you are looking for, but if you do not understand them in context, you are missing half the picture.
This is exactly the problem with using resumes in the hiring process.
Often, applicants use terms, names, or jargon that are common in their industry, but are unfamiliar to the professionals at HR. You may miss a golden nugget on a candidate's resume because you do not understand what it means. Or you may favor a lesser candidate simply because they use a lot of industry terms in their resume.
Resumes Can’t Capture Potential
Author and expert on executive search, Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, stated in a recent interview that after 30 years of evaluating and observing executives and studying the factors that influence their performance, he considers potential to be the most important predictor of success at all levels.
But it's impossible to understand a candidate's entire story from a one- or two-page resume. Unfortunately, all the factors that lead a candidate from one position to the next, while important to understand, are simply impossible to capture. In other words, resumes cannot convey potential.
For example, let us say you receive a resume from a great potential candidate. However, his resume states that he has been in the same mid-level position for 15 years. Since this is a "red flag" for your HR team, you disregard the application.
But what if this candidate's potential has been suppressed by a political work environment rife with nepotism? Perhaps he was passed over internally for several promotions that went to his supervisor's friends. Again, this would be another loss that could have been prevented by not relying on the resume.
Resumes Are Terrible at Communicating Qualification
So far, we have addressed how resumes fail to convey an applicant's chemistry and potential. But in reality, they are not that good at conveying qualifications either!
Since resumes are usually very brief, it is extremely difficult to read an applicant's skill level from them.
For example, let us say you are looking for a candidate who is an expert in Adobe design programs. You might see on a candidate's resume that they have every Adobe program listed among their skills. However, those skills might be novice, and you'd waste an interview appointment trying to figure that out.
You might also see on a resume that someone has held a management position for the last five years. However, that does not mean he is a good manager!
Resumes are Tedious and Time Consuming to Review
During a time in our professional lives when efficiency is everything, reviewing resumes can be a real setback. The most seasoned HR professionals can end up spending 20 to 30 minutes on a single resume, trying to look for red flags, understand nuances, and look for key skills.
Many of Today’s Resumes aren’t Even Written by the Candidate
If you are using an applicant's resume to assess things like his or her writing skills, ability to follow directions, or attention to detail, it could be in vain. Over the past decade, resume services have become increasingly popular, leading to an increase in the number of resumes that are not explicitly written by candidates.
Unfortunately, this could mean that your candidates with the most impressive resumes could become your least impressive employee.
Resumes Can Lead to A Lot of Unwarranted Disqualifications
Some of the old 'resume review guidelines' are a surefire way to disqualify good candidates.
We have heard stories of incredibly successful professionals who were denied a job because their resume was missing a comma. That's crazy! These people could have been incredibly good employees, but an outdated document and flawed process cost them (and the company that could have hired them) a lot of money.
Do not fall for bad resume review policies. Maybe the candidate with the gap in his resume was a military spouse who had to relocate with his service member. He's loyal. Maybe the candidate who wanted to stay in a lower position for a while was taking care of a sick relative. She is selfless. These qualities might be considered beneficial by HR departments if they were not disqualified because of a resume that did not tell the whole story.
There are Just New and Better Ways to Screen Candidates
As we said, most technologies in the workplace have been replaced by new and better achievements. And it is time for the CV to suffer the same fate.
We live in an age where we have access to an almost complete history of an applicant's work life, personality and innermost thoughts. It's called social media, and it's an incredible tool for really understanding your candidate as a person and figuring out how they will fit into your organization.
Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter give us a glimpse into how a candidate thinks, communicates and interacts with others. This gives us a good idea of his personality and values. And all these things can tell us more about whether or not he will be a successful employee in our company than a simple resume ever could.
But perhaps one of the best ways to really understand if a potential candidate will be a good fit for us is to simply try them out in the role!