Resumes tell employers about experience and credentials, but they are a poor representation of a human being. Whether on paper or LinkedIn, they don’t give real insight into a candidate’s personality, or character, or their ability to communicate and work in a team—all soft skills that employers consider essential ingredients for success.
Plus resumes tell you about a candidates past, not what they are capable of doing in the future. Many of the candidates we have placed have excelled in their positions because they have the skills, experience and importantly, personality to drive things forward—a quality that rarely is clear from a resume.
As employers seek out the workers whose creativity, drive, and leadership skills set them apart, the conventional resume is becoming less helpfpul. The resume of the near future will be a document with far more information—and information that is far more useful—than the ones we use now. Farther out, it may not be a resume at all, but rather a digital dossier, perhaps secured on the blockchain (paywall), and uploaded to a global job-pairing engine that is sorting billions of job seekers against millions of openings to find the perfect match.
Resumes fail employers as much as they fail candidates. For example the manager charged with recruiting for Monitor Deloitte’s strategy consulting practice from 2012 to 2016, used a list of clear qualifications to choose candidates to interview, including things like an Ivy League degree, high GPA, banking experience and some charity work.
But after the new hires with those qualifications began at Deloitte, she noticed they rarely were her best performers. The real stars came from unconventional backgrounds—one went to an obscure university in Jordan, another studied marine biology. Ivy League educations and experience in finance weren’t predictive at all. Resumes alone, with a list of criteria, simply didn’t work. What did work? Referrals from employees and niche recruitment firms who knew their candidates and clients well.
The LinkedIn effect
As it works now, LinkedIn both reinforces and undermines the authority of traditional resume. Its basic format and structure mimic chronological resumes, as does the emphasis on previous jobs and education. And its de facto requirement for a photo can open the door to employer bias.
But unlike resumes, LinkedIn offers candidates space to express themselves, to use personal pronouns, and to include recommendations from other users. An increasing number of Oliver Parks’ clients accept LinkedIn profiles in lieu of resumes, and it is clear that its importance as a collator of candidate information will only grow.
While LinkedIn may introduce more fields in its standard profile—to give candidates opportunities to provide additional information, and more data points to sort them by, it isn’t going to be able to replace a good old-fashioned conversation, or the type of raptor built over the long term with a consultant who really gets to know someone. That lack of human-to-human understanding is what failed Deloitte, and will likely fail the corporations that are currently pursuing things like algorithmic candidate selection.
But what about algorithms?
Laszlo Bock, former head of human resources at Google sees a future in algorithmic candidate selection. He predicts that job seekers and employers will one day be paired by a sophisticated third-party algorithm that has enough information about the characteristics of both workers and employers that it can play matchmaker. But he admits that there are major hurdles. More than just the programming challenge, it requires building the trust on the part of employers and would-be employees.
Plus, for the system to work, it would need an understanding of a company’s corporate culture, and how people actually function within its walls—not just what the company says about its culture. And employees and applicants would need to be comfortable handing over their personal data.
Perhaps the biggest challenge however, would be getting people who are happy in their jobs to enter the system. Bock says. “The very best candidates typically aren’t applying for jobs, because they’re already doing well.”
Which brings us back to the need for a human intermediary. Recruitment is an art and a science. And no matter how far we get with algorithms and Linkedin data points, ultimately it is going to take one human to truly understand another.
About Oliver Parks
Oliver Parks Consulting offers search-based recruitment solutions to the technology sector, specialising in the ERP, CRM, CMS, ECM, BI and Open Source Technology spaces. The firm’s multilingual consultants operate in narrowly-defined niche market segments, enabling them to gain extensive knowledge of the people and companies operating in each technology. Oliver Parks has a proven track-record with more than 100,000 candidates worldwide and more than 300 clients globally.