There are beginning to be more conversations about whether resumes (or CVs, in other parts of the world), are still a necessary recruiting resource. It’s not a new argument. After all, certain types of professionals (visual arts, graphic designers, etc.) have always relied on a portfolio of works instead of a traditional resume. And the idea of being ‘paperless’ has been a much-hyped goal for at least 20 years.
But it feels different to me this time. And I think we might, actually, be at the beginning of the decline of the traditional paper resume.
Well, for one thing, this time around, the conversation isn’t just limited to new media or high-tech Silicon Valley candidates. Some companies are starting to experiment with more ‘traditional’ kinds of roles. Employers are realizing more and more, that a candidate’s ability to ‘fit’ the corporate culture is often just as important, if not more so, than their ability to do the job. It’s tough to get a sense of ‘fit’ from a sterile, one-dimensional resume.
For another, it’s no secret that employers are making “social media research” part of their screening process. While it may be true that such efforts are often a tool to reduce the candidate pool, there are some amazingly great things about candidates that are online. In addition to a LinkedIn profile, there are blogs, digital portfolios, slide decks, and content curation sites like Scoop.it and even, perhaps, Pinterest, that can show a more complete picture of the candidate as a person. It’s early days, and most candidates probably aren’t doing these things (or doing them well), but those who are probably have a competitive advantage.
As for independent recruiters, for whom the resume has long been the ‘gold standard’ by which candidates are measured, The Ladders reports that the average recruiter spends just six seconds (!!) per resume during the initial screening process. Six seconds? It’s tough for me to believe that anyone can make an accurate assessment about anything other than cursory keywords in six seconds. That’s the best recruiting resource to assess a candidate’s potential?
Finally, I believe that the staggering proliferation of mobile devices may very likely cause the death of the resume as we know it. Not this year, maybe not in five years, but I think it’s coming. Candidates are using smart phones for everything. They aren’t storing a resume on their phone. It’s not something they can access easily in a mobile environment. There are now recruiting firms and other services offering suggestions on how to make mobile-friendly resumes. Independent recruiters and employers are increasingly mobile, too, with their own smart phones and (to a lesser degree) tablets. How does that six seconds thing work for you when you’re trying to read resumes on your iPhone? Hiring managers and HR professionals are reviewing resumes on mobile devices when they are away from the office, and the traditional format simply does not translate well to the small screen.
I don’t think the revolution is upon us yet. Resumes are a deeply entrenched part of the recruiting process. It will take time before many traditional employers will be ready to let go and embrace a different (still undefined) alternative.
Are resumes still a prime recruiting resource in your recruitment agency? What do you hear from clients?