Are resumés still relevant? A few months back, PROFITguide.com columnist Edwin Jansen made a compelling case for why resumés don’t help companies find great talent.
“No doubt, the resumé has had a good run; but it’s well past its prime. Advances in recruiting technology have eclipsed the value of resumé screening. We’re ready to move on,” Jansen wrote. He then elaborated on his point: “The biggest problem with resumés is that they usually don’t relate the things about a candidate’s previous experience that will actually predict success in a role. That’s because resumés typically describe only what work was done and for how long—not how well it was done.”
According to Jansen (and the many who share his view), resumés do little more than quantify and codify achievements. And that makes them increasingly irrelevant in a business environment that is evolving to care more about other things. Consider this: around the world, companies are relying less and less on a candidates’ credentials. Google—whose unconventional hiring practices are well-documented—is putting less and less stock in things like degrees and achievements. ““GPAs are worthless as a criteria for hiring,” Lazlo Bock, Google’s head of people operations, told the New York Times earlier this year. The tech giant is looking for something else: “It’s ‘intellectual humility.’ Without humility, you are unable to learn.”
In May, online shoe retailer Zappos decided to stop posting jobs and accepting resumés altogether. Instead, the company asks people interested in working for it to join a social network called Zappos Insider and, as the Wall Street Journal put it, “network with current employees and demonstrate their passion for the company—in some cases publicly—in hopes that recruiters will tap them when jobs come open.”
There are many examples of companies adopting resumé-free (or resumé-light) hiring policies here in Canada, too.
Last year, booming Ottawa tech firm Shopify posted notice that it was looking for a new recruit to join its business development team. The post explicitly banned any written applications or resumes; instead, the winning candidate would have to “hustle” their way in.
Orit Koren, president and CEO of Vaughan, Ont.-based financing firm Trillium FSB Inc., has stopped relying on resumés in her recruiting efforts. “I don’t really care a whole lot what’s on a candidate’s resumé,” Koren said in her 2014 PROFIT 500 interview. “I hire for passion and integrity and work ethic. If those align with mine, then I think they would be a good fit, because everything else I can teach them.”
Brian Scudamore, founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, finds resumés equally useless. At the recent PROFIT 500 CEO Summit in Toronto, he told the audience that his main criteria in hiring is not whether a candidate’s resumé is stacked, but rather if he could see himself having a beer with the candidate. (In other words, it’s more important to him for a hire to be good to work with than to be wildly talented.)
Do you agree that it’s time to let the resumé die? If not, why? If so, what non-resumé strategies do you use to screen candidates? We want to hear your best ideas and strategies. (We’ll publish our favourites in an upcoming issue of Canadian Business.) Share your thoughts by email or in the comments below.