Archives For Kill the Resume

Small businesses hire sales people. Big businesses hire sales forces. There’s a very important distinction there. Given that only 1 in 4 sales people have the competence, the behaviors, the beliefs, and the motivations to be elite in a given organization, hiring a sales force is a numbers game that small businesses can’t afford to play. And yet, everyday we see small businesses doing the same things as their larger counterparts. They throw out a job description, collect resumes, find people with experience and that “sales” personality, and make a hire based on unreliable criteria.

Here’s a good example. These are two real candidates for a sales job for which NewHire recently recruited. The employer needed a business-to-business sales representative to sell software to CEO’s and owners of small and medium-sized businesses. The position required a salesperson to do mostly over-the-phone sales, where some leads would be provided, but the salesperson would have to supplement via their own prospecting. I will refer to two of the candidates in their applicant pool as Candidate A and Candidate B, and describe their sales talents in the same depth that we discovered them:

Candidate A, according to her resume:

Selecting Sales People

  • Worked in sales for 8 months before leaving the company and taking a job as a social media marketing manager for a research consulting agency
  • Had a 3 month gap in her work history, and not much information on experience beyond that one sales job
  • Has a bachelor’s degree from a small liberal arts college
  • Describes herself as “talented and results focused”

Candidate B, according to his resume:

  • Been in sales for 7 years and has just recently taken a sales management role for a “burgeoning technology company”
  • His sales experience was mostly business-to-business with some business-to-consumer experience
  • Has a bachelor’s degree from a Big Ten school
  • Describes himself as “loyal”

Given the above information, you might take a guess at which candidate is the better sales representative. Candidate B clearly has more experience. He also fits the industry that the employer works in, and has even moved up into sales management, right? If you’re like most companies, you would phone screen Candidate B and toss Candidate A in the resume shredder. Luckily, NewHire didn’t rely on this information alone. When we took a closer look, the picture of each candidate became a lot clearer.

Based on their answers to our careful questioning and an OMG Assessment, here’s what we learned about each candidate.

beliefs

sale-behaviors

truth-resumes

After further review, Candidate A clearly has the competency, skills, and behaviors that fit the employer’s need and are correlated with sales success. Here’s the deal: given a phone interview and a few in-person conversations, the employer probably never would have hired Candidate B anyway. Despite the attractive resume, they would have uncovered that he was not a fit and moved on — wasting only their valuable time in the process. The problem is not that Candidate B would have been hired… It’s that Candidate A would have never even been interviewed given the contents of her resume alone!

She was the perfect candidate and ended up being a very successful hire for the employer. Had they relied on her resume, she wouldn’t have had a chance at even talking to the employer on the phone. That’s the impact that the average hiring process has on the ability for a small business to hire successful salespeople. In some jobs, you can get by just screening for experience (although I would argue that including behaviors, motivations, and skills in the early stages of any recruitment search is ideal.) In sales, failing to uncover appropriate information about your candidate before ruling them out of the process is the number one way to miss out on your next superstar.

Imagine the impact a salesperson from the top 10% could have on your business this year alone. Can you afford to continue hiring the same, dangerous way just because resume screening is how you’ve always done it? No matter how you do it, a small business in search of a sales superstar must find out about a candidate’s sales behaviors and beliefs before making a yes or no decision on the candidate. Setting up a process that is specific to your company by which you can learn relevant information about a candidate before ruling them out will yield better results every time. There are plenty of tools out there to help save you time in building a custom process, but clearly it must be built. The old guess and check method for hiring salespeople is unsustainable, as the example above shows.

If you’re interested in learning more about the sales behaviors and beliefs that correlate to success in sales in all positions, and finding out which things to look out for that will make a difference for candidates at your company, check out Dave Kurlan’s White Paper on Sales Selection.

In recent months, NewHire has emphasized various reasons why we believe employers need to reconsider how the resume fits into their recruiting process. As the primary tool of assessing candidates, the resume is an antiquated, time consuming, and overall inaccurate way of identifying which candidates will be a fit for a position. However, beyond resumes being ineffective as a screening tool, there are more nefarious results of employers hiring on resumes alone: racial discrimination.

The Research

In 2002, University of Chicago Booth School of Business researchers Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainatghan published an article titled “Are Emily and Brendan More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination”. As that title implies, the research’s purpose was to investigate the impact of candidate names and implied race influenced the likelihood of receiving a callback from employers after submitting a resume. Focusing on the Chicago and Boston markets, resumes were randomly assigned a name that implied the candidate’s race as either white (i.e. Emily, Brendan) or black (i.e. Lakisha, Jamal). They also measured the impact of improvements to resume credentials increased the response rate. All combined, they sent out over 5000 resumes to a variety of industries and positions.

The results were staggering. Resumes with names typically associated with white candidates elicited approximately 50% more callbacks than those with perceived black candidate names. Furthermore, adding additional, higher credentials to resumes (more experience, more education) resulted in a 30% jump in calls to “white” resumes. Those same improvements to “black” resumes resulted in little to no improvement in the rate of being contacted by employers.

There is little reason to think things have changed since the year the study took place. In 2014, a man named José Zamora received national news attention when, in an effort to improve his job search results, he started to drop the “s” in his name to “Joe Zamora”. With that one letter change, results improved. Watch the video below to hear José’s story:

Organizations like Career Pathways recognize the problem and have worked to improve career opportunities for disadvantaged candidates. A PSA launched in 2014 titled “Grads of Life”, while not explicitly focused on assisting candidates of color, strongly urges employers to consider candidates from diverse backgrounds. The campaign remains active and, I can say from personal experience, has had subway and bus ads spring up around Chicago. I took the photo below waiting for the train earlier this year:

Resumes and racial bias

What can employers do to prevent discrimination?

Intentional or not, hiring managers are susceptible to displaying racial discrimination in the hiring process. One sure fire way of preventing such discrimination is to utilize a screening process and tool that allows hiring managers to get candidates to answer the questions that matter most to doing the job and then having the ability to search on those answers to identify top talent. Lucky for you, that’s what NewHire does! Not only will our Applicant Tracking System (ATS) cut down on the amount of time you spend reading resumes, it will also ensure that candidates are being judged on their competencies and experiences and not their age, sex, or race.

Maybe you’ve heard of the commonly cited word problem made popular in the psychology and behavioral economics field by Nobel prize winning economist Daniel Kahneman and his late colleague Amos Tversky. It goes like this:

Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations.

Which is more probable?

   a. Linda is a bank teller.

   b. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement. [1]

The obvious answer is B, right? Based on that 3 sentence description, it’s pretty likely that Linda is active in the feminist movement. Heck, she’s probably a vegan, too! Am I right?

No.

I’m actually very wrong.

Let’s do the math real quick. How many people are bank tellers? Let’s represent that number of people with the variable x. Now, of that group of people who are bank tellers, how many are also active in the feminist movement? Well, since this group must meet both the conditions (feminist and bank teller), we know that it is a subset of x. With that in mind, clearly it is more likely that Linda is a bank teller than it is that Linda is a bank teller and some other thing. But, the feminist narrative fits her so well. Our unconscious biases take one look at her description as a social justice warrior and become vulnerable to the presumption that she, like so many of the people we know with similar descriptions, is an active feminist. 

This is an example of the conjunction fallacy. And if you were one of the people who was saying B was the correct answer, you’re in the majority. In one study, 85% of respondents said B, even though it is quite literally impossible for B to be more likely. [2]

Hiring is so broken

So? What gives? What’s at play here? And how does it relate to hiring?

Well, that story you just told yourself about Linda. It’s the same kind of story that’s keeping you from finding the right person to fill your open jobs.

Let’s say you are hiring for a Sales Rep. At some point in time, you’ve collected a stack of resumes. You look over the first few and start a Yes pile, a Maybe pile, and upon reading the third resume, you decide to start a No pile… in the trash. What was wrong with the third resume? Well, there was this gap in it. And usually when there’s a gap in a resume, it means the person did something bad that kept them out of work for a while.

The reason hiring is broken

I hear this “gap” story all of the time. There are hundred of other stories as well, ones that land your target candidate in the trash instead of at your doorstep. The problem with these “stories” is that they force us into thinking that what might be true must  be true. Heck, if we didn’t have some short cut for sifting through resumes, we’d be reading them for hours! But when it comes to a talent market that is already so tight, can you really afford to throw away someone with a gap in their resume without first confirming why there was a gap? Not to mention, if you had to defend your hiring process to a group of your peers, do you really think that focusing on “gaps” rather than focusing on sales skills, behaviors, and motivators would pass the eye test? The fact of the matter is, the biases that are inherent in resume reading give you about a 50% chance of failing the hiring process before you even pick up the phone and call someone for the first time. [3]

Now this might be the point in this article where you’re saying to yourself, “Okay, I get it. A lot of people are biased. The resume isn’t perfect. But I am certainly not as biased as most people.”

I’d like to introduce you to another form of bias called “the bias blind spot.” According to a Princeton University study, in a sample of 600 Americans, only 1 person considered herself more biased than the average American. That’s right — only 0.2% of the population actually believes they are in the top 50 percentile of bias. 85% of people believed they were less biased than the average American. [4] That is to say, not only are we extremely biased, but we also tend to underestimate just how biased we are.

The reason that hiring is broken has much less to do with a skills gap and much more to do with the fact that humans are the ones in charge of doing the hiring. And humans, by their very nature, are fallible. But where humans have shown immense progress is when we recognize our own fallibility. Think about some of the most important inventions of the modern era — airplanes, computers, and sliced bread. None of these could have been invented if we didn’t first recognize that we were unable to compute complex algorithms quickly, we were unable to slice loaves evenly, and we were unable to grow wings and fly. When it comes to hiring, we need to stop trying to grow wings and start building the darn airplane.

Where do we start?

At NewHire, we believe that every time you recruit, you follow a six step process. Those six steps start with Preparing to Recruit. This means sitting down and ironing out the profile of your target candidate. Who are they reporting to? What challenges will they face? What behaviors and motivations are going to be significant in reporting to that person and facing those challenges? What are the specific skills necessary for success? If you aren’t answering these questions before you start looking for candidates, then when it comes time to make decisions, you are bound to be comparing candidates against one another rather than comparing them against the ideal. Figure out what your ideal candidate acts like, and then hold yourself accountable to finding that person.

There are a handful of great methods out there for sourcing candidates. If you’re not an expert at this, there is help everywhere you look. So ask around (heck, ask me) and you should find what you need. [5] This is the piece of the recruiting process that has advanced a lot since the days of “Help Wanted” signs in the window. The next piece of the airplane that we need to build is the screening method. This is crucial. Instead of using resumes as your screening agent and inviting all of that bias into the process before you ever get kicked off, I think it makes sense to use a short questionnaire. Some multiple choice and short answer questions that are aimed at getting the right person to answer questions that prove they’re the right person. If you keep this questionnaire short, candidates will appreciate the opportunity to prove they’re right for the job. This will change everything. Now, instead of finding reasons not to call someone, you’re going to be finding reasons why you should call people. They have the years of experience. They have skills x, y, and z. They prefer to work autonomously rather than being closely managed.  And if you have it set up right, you’ll be able to search your results based on the answers to these questions, making your Yes, No, and Maybe piles automated, saving you tons of time and holding you accountable to the things you said were important at the start.

If you do these two things, your hiring is guaranteed to improve immediately. Not to mention, you might actually start to enjoy the process. The final piece of the pie is the interview stage — which would require another 1200 words. Maybe next time…

Interested in learning how to attract those top candidates? Check out our guide for Crafting Effective Recruitment Advertising. It’s a great way to ensure that your talent pipeline stays full of qualified candidates in an increasingly competitive market. 

 

Back to the Future of Recruiting

“Your kids, Marty. Something has got to be done about your kids!”

Doc Brown had a point when he took Marty to the year 2015. Something had to be done about us, residents of the year 2015. And although Doctor Emmett Brown may not have been the strongest recruiting mind of our time, I must give credit where credit is due.

Imagine you are in the year 1985 searching for a job. You are laboring over the typewriter to craft a perfect resume, knowing that you will probably have to drive around in search of “Help wanted” signs in the windows, drop a copy of that perfect resume off, and sit anxiously by the phone awaiting a call. There is no email. There is no internet. There is facsimile. Oh the glorious fax machine, invented over 20 years ago and beyond reproach — the greatest technological advancement since the telegraph.

And then, lo and behold, in the middle of your job search a disgraced nuclear physicist who you may have hung out with a time or two comes by the house with a piece of equipment a million times more advanced than your precious facsimile device. In a time machine, the two of you travel forward in time to the year 2015. Not only are their hoverboards and self-driving cars, but there is a magic box with keys and a screen that allows you to connect with anyone in the world with the click of a button. These “computers” not only have the power to communicate across thousands and thousands of miles, but they also allow a user to input, store, process, and output information in fractions of a second.

These machines have become the center of the universe. People everywhere in the futuristic 2015 world are staring at miniature computation devices meant for phone calling, communicating via electronic mail or text message, and playing games. Walking aimlessly on and off sidewalks into the and out of the danger of traffic, so engrossed in these devices that they are relatively unaware of the physical world around them, the humans operating these miniature computers need no location. Humans can be truly present without being physically present.

But alas, you can’t just exist in the year 2015. In order to stay, you’ll need money. And due to astronomical rate of inflation, the old Nickel and Dime stores have become — what is that? — A DOLLAR? Great Scott! That pocket change from the year 1985 will be of no use around here.

A job. You need a job.

But, this is going to be disastrous. The people of the year 2015 must find jobs in a way that has advanced far beyond the old “send and pray resume” method. Given these “computers” and all of this “software,” someone must have found a way to attract, filter, and select talent seamlessly.

What then, will you do with your resume? It’s so bland. It’s so non-specific. It’s so… old.

Hold on. You sir, what’s that you’re doing? You’re just sending in your resume to that employer electronically? But, what about the softwares and the computation devices? They’re not being used to make the resume a thing of the past? People are still asking for you to fax in your resume?

Despite computers and software that give us the tools to match employers with specific candidates for employment that meet their criteria in the click of a button, almost everyone has taken this “send and pray resume” method and simply put it online?

Man, this is heavy. But, couldn’t you send out questionnaires with queries meant to narrow in on ideal criteria? And now that everyone has a device meant to communicate with anyone at any time, if my calculations are correct, these questionnaires could be available en masse via independent landing pages shared across the internet in certain hubs where job seekers hang out. This way, when looking for a job, a candidate can prove their worth to employers in terms that are mutually understood. Heck, this futuristic world could go beyond mere experience when deciding on whom to interview. You could develop methods to understand an employee’s behaviors, their motivations, and their very skills.

Recruiting is an essential business function. How could you, the hyperintelligent beings of the future, have left such an important piece of your lives in the hands of a mere resume? Something has got to be done. Dear employers of the great future, in 2016, I beg you to trust in the one page questionnaire and compare candidates against the same criteria. Rid the world of the resume. Unless… what are you? Chicken?

 

broadcastWant to know more about the changing world of recruiting and hiring? Check out our Webinar series, where you will learn to take complete control of the 6-Step Hiring process that defines who fills that next open seat. 

Eddie’s article first appeared on recruiter.com. Please find a link to that post here.

Isn’t it ironic that the people who think it’s their job to look at resumes (i.e., recruiters) try their hardest to not look at resumes?

It feels almost sacrilegious to start calling out resumes because of how dependent we are on them – employers and employees alike – but they’ve been an obstacle in the hiring process for too long.

An Ineffective Tool for a Complex Problem

The resume started as a basic solution to a complex question that employers didn’t even know they needed to ask: How do I hire the right person for the job?

Unfortunately, despite its ubiquity, the resume was never up to this task.

But I’m probably telling you something you already knew, or at least suspected. In fact, anyone who’s ever had to whittle down a pile of resumes has probably reached the point where they’ve realized that the whole process is somewhat broken. How are you really supposed to compare documents – and by extension, the qualifications of the candidates they represent – when those documents aren’t even standardized?

And that’s when the shortcuts come in: “Times New Roman?! Bye Felicia!” “Oxford commas? Better luck next time!”

Resumes are the worst

Suddenly, everyone has their own “system” based on preferences, snap judgements, and made-up narratives that they use to manage the resume-screening process.

We don’t create shortcuts because we’re bad, lazy, or incompetent people. We create them because we need to find meaning in the things we do. When there’s no meaning, we rebel. We find ways to minimize how much of our resources – time, energy, and attention – we commit to the task.

But if there’s meaning behind what we do, we become engaged in the process and we do it right. Doing the hiring process right means comparing candidates’ skill sets to the job’s duties. So if your system doesn’t start and end with this comparison, can you really say you have a functioning or meaningful hiring process?

Bad Hiring Process? Blame the Resumes (Really)

How often have you seen some variation of the stat, “recruiters spend 6-30 seconds reviewing a resume”? If you’re an employer and you’re entrusting someone to review resumes in the search for the most qualified candidates, this stat should blow your mind! I can’t even decide in 30 seconds if this bag of Doritos fits into my Low-Carb-Paleo-Zone diet (it doesn’t), but we believe that recruiters and hiring managers are accurately gauging candidates in that same timeframe (they aren’t).

We can’t blame individuals in the hiring process for this dereliction of duty, though. We’ve based a giant piece of our hiring process on the resume, so any inefficiencies or shortfalls that result from that flawed process should be accepted as inevitable. If I know my mechanic is tightening lug nuts with his bare hands instead of a wrench, I really can’t get mad when the wheel falls off my car. I knew they were using ineffective tools, so how could I expect anything other than ineffective results?

Resumes are the tool we’ve chosen to assist us in performing a function, but experience, the stats, and the anecdotes should make it clear that we’ve been using the wrong tool. It’s ineffective, and it’s giving us ineffective results.

That being said, resumes are not entirely pointless. In fact, they do have a place in the hiring process – just not at the start. The start of your hiring process is about matching qualified candidates to the job by comparing qualifications and skill sets, and you can’t do that consistently when you’re using resumes.

Do yourself and your company a favor by finally “killing” the resume. You’ll find the benefits of consistently bringing on the best people greatly outweigh the temporary adjustment to how you, your father, and your grandfather hired.

 

broadcastWant to know more about the changing world of recruiting and hiring? Check out our Webinar series, where you will learn to take complete control of the 6-Step Hiring process that defines who fills that next open seat. 

Technology has drastically changed every aspect of recruiting in today’s job market.The social media revolution has bought many changes to the job search process of today. In the past the resume was the single focus for hiring managers in the recruiting process from the screening, to the phone interview, to the face to face interview.  Today social recruiting has become very prevalent among recruiters and human resource professionals alike.

LinkedIn and your resume both highlight you as a person and tell the world who you are but in very different ways. LinkedIn is used for multiple purposes but a resume can be used for one single purpose. So let’s examine how LinkedIn can be used more effectively in a job search over a resume.

Linkedin v resumes

Broader Audience for Your LinkedIn Profile vs. Your Resume

A resume is distinctly used for people who are looking for a new job. Normally a candidate will submit a resume to apply for a job and chances are your resume may never be viewed by the hiring manager if you are not selected as a viable candidate for the open position. However, LinkedIn is used for multiple reasons such as job searching, networking, connecting with new contacts, publishing articles, posting information, sales people communicating with potential prospects, recruiters reaching out to passive candidates, gathering information from industry leaders and many other uses.

According to the Pew Research Center 25% of adults use LinkedIn which is 22% of the entire adult population. LinkedIn is the only major social media platform in which usage rates are highest among the age group of 30 – 49 years old. With this social media platform 32% of users are employed compared to 14% of users who are not employed.  Therefore, the reach of LinkedIn users are vastly greater than the number of people a job seeker will send a resume to and who may view your resume posted online. LinkedIn will give you greater exposure than a resume ever will.

Professional vs. Social

A resume is a formal document that is professionally written to highlight a person’s employment history and past accomplishments. Your resume is a simple text document that is tightly formatted to highlight STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) bulleted points. However, LinkedIn is considered a business social site which allows a person to highlight more than just your skills and work experience. This format is less formal and more personable. On LinkedIn a person may highlight their accomplishments and skills by including media links on both your profile and positions. A person might include a portfolio, a professional presentation, a PDF e-book, pictures, links and videos to highlight your talent and work product.

Past vs. Present

A resume is a one to two page document of your professional history, skills, experience and career highlights. A resume shows your job history and past accomplishments. By comparison a LinkedIn profile is a person’s present and future professional life.  A LinkedIn profile consists of many more sections such as your career summary, experience, education, skills & endorsements, recommendations, honors & awards, groups, volunteer work and more. Status updates are part of your profile and a person can update their profile daily which will organically grow your profile each time you add a new skill, a new job, receive an endorsement, share information, and engage in a discussion and other activities on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Profile Builds Relationships and Continuously Grows

By using LinkedIn regularly you are able to build relationships with people through your daily interactions and discussions. LinkedIn allows you to connect with people in your industry of business and also connects you with group members who share the same interests or profession. A resume just sits on a desk or the inbox of a hiring professionals email. However, with your LinkedIn profile each time you post an update it is shared with all of your first-degree connections. These updates will put you in front of an audience repeatedly which is what candidates need when looking for a new career opportunity. Your status updates can now appear on your Twitter feed which is one more avenue for exposure when looking for a new job. In addition, to these updates you can include links to articles, videos, websites as well as pictures.

Recruiters and human resource professionals now practice using LinkedIn once they receive your resume and may be interested in pursuing you as a potential candidate. They venture onto the social site to gain more information about a candidate’s personality to determine if they would like to initiate a phone screen with you. Lastly, with LinkedIn a person can separate themselves from the competition better than using a resume. The LinkedIn profile will allow a person to demonstrate and articulate what value you can bring to an organization and why you can become a valuable addition to the team.

broadcastWant to know more about the changing world of recruiting and hiring? Check out our Webinar series, where you will learn to take complete control of the 6-Step Hiring process that defines who fills that next open seat. 

Kill the Resume

It is our declared intention to change the world of employment recruiting in this way:

  1. Stop using resumes as the primary screening method for choosing which job candidates to pursue
  2. Start choosing candidates based on the answers to questions most important to the hiring manager

It may seem a small change to some, however the implications are huge.

At NewHire, we believe that the resume:

  • hinders the connection between the right candidate and the right job
  • causes employers to overvalue experience at the expense of behaviors, motivations skills and aptitude
  • clogs up talent pipelines and fills inboxes with useless, uninterruptible data
  • creates electronic noise when candidates apply for 10 times the amount of jobs and apply for jobs beyond what they are qualified for in the futile hope that one will get noticed
  • invites intentional and unintentional bias in choosing candidates to pursue
  • invites hiring managers to tell themselves stories about candidates without actually speaking to them, creating a situation where potentially qualified candidates are overlooked

At NewHire we want to “kill the resume” to:

  • improve the connection between the right candidate and the right job
  • help employers choose candidates based on behavior, motivations, skills and aptitude
  • free those responsible for recruiting from the barrage of emails with useless information that comes with resume-focused recruiting
  • reduce the electronic noise associated with unqualified candidates applying for jobs
  • reduce hiring manager bias by providing better information from which to choose candidates
  • cause hiring managers to spend more time getting to know fewer, more qualified candidates

At NewHire, we know that companies make better hires when hiring managers stop reading resumes TwitterLogo_#55acee and start choosing candidates to pursue based on their answers to key questions. Because every recruiting process should be shaped like a funnel, with more candidates starting out at the top of the funnel than come out the bottom of the funnel, the manner by which we narrow that flow matters.

Resumes document a person’s work experience and can say nothing about a person’s character, behaviors, motivations, aptitude and skills (all of which are better predictors than experience of on-the-job success!)

Instead of reading resumes for clues of “who” a person is and not just “what” that person has done, ask job-specific questions related to the:

  • work behaviors required for success
  • motivations the job rewards
  • skills the job requires and/or develops
  • culture of the company, work group or department

The most common hiring mistake is that we hire people for what they can do and we fire them for who they are. Resumes are the single biggest contributor to this common error.

It’s time to Kill the Resume.

 

broadcastWant to know more about the changing world of recruiting and hiring? Check out our Webinar series, where you will learn to take complete control of the 6-Step Hiring process that defines who fills that next open seat. 

This article appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Strategize Magazine:

Capture

It’s time to kill the resume. Plain and simple… using resumes as the primary tool for screening job applicants is ineffective and outdated. Traditionally, resume content includes a summary of academic history, followed by a timeline of employment and unconfirmed accomplishments, but says nothing about the applicant’s on-the-job behaviors, motivations, or attitudes. As a result, it is not surprising that many new hires fail. In fact, a three-year study of 20,000 new hires conducted by Leadership IQ revealed 46 percent failed within 18 months. Lack of skill accounted for 11 percent of the failed hires, while attitude and behavior were responsible for the remaining 89 percent. These numbers are simply not acceptable. After all, what executive is willing to accept a 46 percent failure rate in a core business process?

Identifying, hiring, and retaining quality people cannot be left to chance. When it comes to hiring well, a revolutionary change is in order. Until businesses leave the resume behind, they will continue to hire based on what candidates say they know, only to turn around and fire the same individuals for who they really are.

Why resumes don’t work

Prior to computers and online access, resumes typically provided the only way for potential candidates to show interest in a position. Fast-forward to today. As technology revolutionizes the hiring process with such time-savers as electronic job posting and online submissions, resumes have transitioned from paper to digital format, but they have not changed in substance or effectiveness.

Technology aside, selecting potential employees with such limited information benefits neither the candidate nor the business seeking to fill the position. From the employer’s standpoint, resumes allow candidates to take control of the hiring conversation by telling the story they want the employer to hear. In fact, a 2012 survey of college students reveals 70 percent would lie on their resume to get a job (Accu-Screen, Inc., ADP and The Society of Human Resource Managers, 2012). At the same time, because no two resumes contain the same information in the same format, assessing and comparing skills or experience among candidates is challenging. It’s the hiring equivalent of giving a different test to every student in a class. Using that approach makes coming up with a grading scale next to impossible.

Additional reasons why resumes fail to lead to successful hires include:

  • They equate previous job experience with future success. Unless job variables, such as the manager, product, selling cycles and buyers remain consistent across the board, this is an unrealistic expectation. More importantly, past experience offers no insight into characteristics that indicate future job success, namely behaviors, attitudes and motivation.
  • They lead to dismissing candidates based upon small details or personal biases that likely are not related to future success on the job. Resumes allow hiring teams to select candidates based on a particular gender, race or age, or reject candidates due to typos, misspellings, incorrect grammar, unusual email addresses and uncommon fonts.
  • They result in faulty assumptions. A prime example is the candidate who lists multiple jobs within a certain time frame. Traditional resume-reading leads employers to suspect lack of success when a job change may be the result of a life situation beyond the candidate’s control, such as a spousal move or a company-wide layoff.
  • They lead hiring managers to talk to the wrong people. Overconfident recruiters and hiring managers often assume they can choose a qualified pool of candidates from resumes alone, and then look for desired motivations and behaviors during the interview process. Approaching the process in this way not only leads to beginning with the wrong candidates, but also results in hiring the wrong person or no one at all.

Better tools, better hires

In a 2013 Careerbuilder survey, 66 percent of the US companies surveyed said their businesses had been negatively affected by a bad hire in the prior year, and 27 percent said that each bad hire cost their company more than $50,000. For companies that want to avoid these costly pitfalls, hiring the right people at the right time will require a revolutionary change in hiring practices and mindsets. Here are four tips to accomplish that goal:

  1. Make sure hiring team members understand the company culture. Successfully targeting the right candidate requires knowledge of not just the position, but also of the company.
  2. Create a profile of the target candidate. Use assessments to help teams construct a consensus of behaviors the job requires and the motivations the job rewards.
  3. Gather a wider range of information about candidates to determine behaviors, motivations and personality. For example, before reading a single resume, use an online form to ask candidates to answer the most important questions. Take advantage of applicant tracking systems that offer this process, or create an auto-respond email to deliver questions to applicants.
  4. Recruit continuously, not just when a position needs to be filled. Approach competitors at conferences; connect with friends and acquaintances at social gatherings and through social media. Leave no stone unturned.

Start the revolution

The numbers tell the story. Today’s hiring process is broken, and nothing short of a radical change will improve the rate of success. It’s time to lay the tired resume to rest and make hiring decisions based on the characteristics that make a candidate successful on the job. Only then will companies hire the exceptional people necessary to compete, grow and succeed.

©Strategize Magazine, published by Avenir Publishing, Inc.

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Sometimes you have to jump into that new millennium (+14 years) and embrace the breakthroughs that are at your fingertips. There’s a reason CD players, Napster, and M. Night Shyamalan were all mercifully put down like rabid raccoons. Progress and innovation have rendered them all obsolete. The role of the resume as the central piece to the hiring process is on that same path. You have other tools at your disposal to identify the best candidates for your job besides the resume. So if your recruitment process still begins and ends with the resume, then you’re doing it wrong.

 

Resumes ignore personality fit:

All employees are not created equally; different employees thrive in different environments (and hopefully you’ve already done the work to define what sets your environment apart… if not, try our EVP Checklist.) Some employees do better when they’re allowed more autonomy; others do better when they have a set routine to follow. Some are better at working on one thing at a time; others are great at multi-tasking. Resumes give you no insight into an applicant’s personality, which means you have no insight into how your position matches up with their strengths, priorities, or optimal working conditions. If you want to set an employee up to succeed, then you should make sure that whomever you bring on has the right personality to match the position.

 

Resumes ignore culture fit:

Matching the personality of an employee with the culture of your company is as important as matching their skills to the requirements of the position. An employee whose values are not aligned with the company’s values runs the risk of hurting morale or distracting the team from reaching common goals. If a resume can’t tell you that an applicant plays well with others, then that resume is leaving out a valuable piece of information that can determine how successful a new employee will be at your company.

 

Resumes ignore motivators:

Work is more than a place we go to earn money. Today’s workers are looking for reasons beyond a paycheck to commit themselves to their job, and resumes are a poor tool for uncovering what those motivators could be. Motivators — like mastery, autonomy, and purpose — are strongly correlated to job satisfaction and engagement, which in turn are strongly correlated to productivity. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, then you should figure out what the motivators for your top candidates are. The right candidate is the one whose motivators overlap with what the position offers.

 

Resumes ignore YOU:

You are the most valuable source for judging a qualified candidate. You know exactly what skills and experience a successful hire will need to do the job well; applicants don’t. Resumes end up being a long list of skills that were useful in their past positions or strengths they feel they can bring to any job. Now you’re stuck guessing if the skills and experience an applicant listed would be a good fit for your position when you should be evaluating those candidates based on criteria you know are essential. Stop relying on industry standards and guesswork to figure out if a candidate is the right one for your company. Customize the recruitment process to answer the questions that you know need to be asked.

Resumes have been a standard part of the recruitment process for a long time. They still have a place in the recruitment process, but their importance has been mitigated by the introduction of new methods of evaluating applicants. Relying on resumes is like relying on hammers to fix everything in your kitchen. Both are just one tool in your arsenal, and sometimes they aren’t even the best tool to get the job done. Looking for an alternative? Use online employment applications and questionnaires that allow you to customize questions for each specific job.

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Countless articles appear on employment blogs around the world that tell candidates what they should put on their resume to get noticed.  Unfortunately, common mistakes can drive any hiring manager crazy.

Here are five pet peeves that hiring managers hate to see, and resume tips for job applicants:

1. Misspellings

While a lot of interviewers don’t thoroughly look over a resume during an interview, typos stand out as if they were capitalized and in bold-faced print. The resume is one of the ways candidates represent themselves and spelling mistakes show carelessness. Combined with the fact that 99% of word processing software has spell-check, it leaves a bad first impression.

2. Formatting problems

Contrary to many articles, resumes don’t have to be a beautifully formed work of art. We frequently see candidates who have over formatted their resumes and the result is a jumbled mess of tabs, tables, and font changes. For every resume that gets attention because it’s beautifully formatted, there is at least one that gets discarded for being a disaster.  It is better to have presentable, simple formatting than run the risk of cluttering your resume. (The one exception would be for graphic designers and positions where page setup is a major part of the job. Even in these cases, there is more than just the resume that seals the deal.)

3. Too much information

The purpose of a resume is to say why you’re a good fit for this company. Its purpose is not to say everything you’ve ever done and why those things make you more interesting than the last person. Candidates that include every detail of every job they’ve ever had can overwhelm. A more focused approach is best. More information doesn’t necessarily mean better information.

4. Personal input

The hiring company does want to know about you on a personal level, but that’s what the interview is for. The resume is a brief synopsis of your work history, touching on important points that are related to what you’re hoping to do for this company. The interview is where you get to fill in the blanks about what type of person you are and how that pertains to this job opening.

5. Length of Resume

This one is a little trickier, because not every job is the same. For certain positions, you may see a detailed work history which could span a few pages. For most jobs, a well structured, well formatted single page will do, any more than two is frequently too excessive and long to read.

There is no “across-the-board” code for what is the perfect style of resume for all situations, but there are universal things to avoid: don’t waste words or space, make it look presentable, and know how much information is too much.

As a hiring manager or business owner, what resume mistakes drive you crazy?