Death to the Résumé
Prior to the 1930s, résumés were merely a formality. For the job positions that would open up, word would spread mostly through print advertisements or word of mouth. People would queue up at offices to present their applications for these jobs. While talking to their prospective employer over a cup of tea, candidates would scribble their necessary personal and professional information on a sheet of paper and hand it over for record-keeping.
Over a period of time, as conventions moulded into norms, employers began expecting this record in prior to their meeting with potential employees — aiding the résumé in becoming a mainstream convention and a pivotal aspect in the hiring process. The upcoming century saw numerous re-modellings in the résumé’s format while its fundamental intent remained the same — of informing potential employers about an individual’s personal, educational and professional details, and the skills that would add value to the job position they’re seeking.
The Age of Information
Today, on an average, the working class spends 3.26 hours every day on the Internet, creating and consuming an endless stream of information. Correspondingly, the rise of social platforms has created more avenues for people to share data about themselves online, intentionally and inadvertently. We see ourselves documenting every significant aspect of our personality and our profession on the internet for anyone to see.
A great amount of indirect and implied professional information about us comes from our activities on numerous social engagement platforms. Take into consideration the various popular forums such as Github, Stack Overflow, Hacker News, etc for software developers; Dribbble and Behance for designers; Kaggle for data scientists, Hacker One for computer security researchers — to name a few. Communities like these have become deeply ingrained in our professional daily lives. We find ourselves actively contributing to the growth of this two-way stream of data, befitting our skills, interests and our proficiencies.
Leveraging this massive repository of public information to paint a better picture about someone’s strengths, weaknesses, and their personality in general, fulfills the original intent of a résumé. In the same vein, it aids in better decision-making, backed by data that can be proven with facts and isn’t merely declared.
This begs the question — why do we still need a written document reiterating a small subset of this information in a vaguely restricted and highly non-standard format? Résumés don’t need to remain the central source of information anymore.
Why are we still holding on to the floppy disk?
A relic of the past
Fifty years ago, when the information and insights about a prospective hire could fit on a single piece of A4 paper, this process might’ve been the go-to mechanism for effective hiring. However, today, this process is bereft of objectivity, due to the sheer subjectivity of both the job description and the résumé. As a result, it becomes sub-optimal by definition.
The underlying résumé parsing and matching engines that drive the aforementioned platforms apply Natural Language Processing to convert abstract information to workable data points. With résumés as their primary data source for recommendations, the effectiveness of these platforms is limited by the quantity and validity of data points about a person.
The way we discover and match people with jobs must keep up with the blitzkrieg and magnitude of data available about people publicly on the internet. Otherwise we’d still be dwelling on the inefficiencies of the past.
Towards a data-driven future
The days of job boards, résumé repositories and résumé intelligence engines are numbered if they do not fundamentally reinvent their core workflow around the primary problem they had set out to solve.
Better matching of people with relevant jobs consists these components:
Better candidate profile
Better matching algorithms
Better job descriptions
Data, as they say, is the new soil.
If you are a recruiter reading this, I would love to have an in-depth coffee conversation with you about these ideas. At DoSelect, we are committed to solving the most challenging problems in recruitment for everyone. Please consider giving me a shout out @sanketsaurav or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.