Sometime in the early 2000’s I recall reading up on some future trends that were predicted to be prevalent in the next decade. One predicted trend was the decline of the PC and the rise of lightweight, portable computers that I envisioned at the time as like a really fancy Palm Pilot. Ten years later, there isn’t much argument on this point – revolutionary technologies like smartphones and tablet computers and their myriad derivatives make it pretty clear that trend is occurring. People are migrating toward smaller, more agile devices with touchscreen interfaces and slimmer storage space, instead keeping their information online in the cloud. To keep up, companies, individuals and organizations are preparing cloud infrastructure, using cloud applications for collaborating and fundamentally changing the way they work and communicate in the new paradigm.
A second, and mostly unrelated (I thought) trend was the decline of the formal resume as a recruiting and communication tool in the hiring process. While many still cling to the resume as a necessity in the recruitment process, it’s pretty clear that the resume is on the decline. When was the last time you looked at a Linkedin profile and shot a message or InMail to a candidate with the question – “Can I get a copy of your resume?” It’s unnecessary, as the information is mostly already available on a web profile and it’s an unnecessary burden on a passive candidate. Progressive recruiters have become accustomed to doing exploratory calls or phone screens with limited information long before there’s a resume or formal application. But, in sharp contrast to the trend of cloud computing, HR Technology systems lag far behind their preparations for a post-resume world.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Applicant Tracking Systems raced to categorize applicant information to replace old systems based on paper. Partially due to a mindset of recreating the paper application online and partially due to the limitations of database systems, ATS’s rushed to create fields upon fields of data, each little field capturing a tiny piece of the applicant. In the 2010’s, this leaves us with a mostly inflexible structure for data – a candidate is required to fill out giant forms of required fields, often alienating the truly passive and often best candidates. Parsing technology, while it can be helpful, isn’t the answer, either.
Think about the people you know that should be able to walk in to any company on earth and be a rock star. I know I’ve worked with a few people I hold in such esteem that any company would be incredibly lucky to have them. What do you think their resume looks like? I think that it looks blank, because they don’t have – or need – a resume. Capturing these folks requires different thinking, particularly from our computer systems. They’re not going to fill out pages of forms in your ATS. They’re probably accessing your site from a mobile device or tablet and couldn’t make an attachment of a document even if they had one.
So what do we do to prepare for a post-resume world? As with most things HR, it requires a blend of process change and technology change. Here are some things you can be thinking about to get ready:
- Move requirement of resume/application collection later in the process to remove that barrier to candidates
- Use the data that you can easily get – scraped from web profiles, social media pages, etc to contruct information about a candidate in pre-qualification stages and fill in the gaps based on recruiter conversations
- Choose software that uses better search technology and fewer rigid data contructs
- Prepare hiring managers for a post-resume world in which they may need to conduct an interview or meeting without a formal document
- Work with legal teams to determine what parts of the application process can be moved or slimmed, always thinking of removing barriers for the candidate
One thing I’ve always loved about the Talent Acquisition space is that there really is a significant “first mover” advantage for forward thinking companies. Talented people appreciate, nay demand, that the companies they work for have progressive, thoughtful recruiting and onboarding processes. Preparing for a post-resume world gives progressive companies a talent edge while their competitors are trying to find a pay phone in an iPhone world.