Reboot the Resume: Maximize Your Hiring Efforts

It is no secret among HR professionals that resumes are outdated, plain, and notoriously fickle. They have become documents designed to be people pleasing and optimized for keyword scanning. Recruiters are often left to guess at soft skills and applicant personality based on an overly formatted basic document.

Furthermore, resumes sometimes contain misinformation, stretched truth, and untruths that may or may not be discovered during a reference or background check. This is after a long and expensive process of moving the applicant to that phase of the recruitment process.

Although resumes have been an employer’s first line of assessment, they are clearly missing the mark. Managers agree that promising resumes often come from applicants who are unsuited for the position. In many cases, it is necessary to interview the applicant to verify experience, assess soft skills, and evaluate technical skills.

Thinking Outside the Box in the Hiring Process
HR professionals are learning to think outside the box, so they will not have to deal with endless cookie-cutter resumes. With modern technology, employers have options to reboot the resume and get to the bottom of who they are hiring.

Joining the 21st Century
Companies that are not already doing so should start posting jobs online. Otherwise, they could be missing out on much of the available talent, as most candidates search for jobs on the internet. Employers should streamline the application process and upgrade their software if necessary. The process should be quick, easy, and user friendly, or it may turn candidates away.

Fully-integrated human capital management software can streamline applicant tracking and accelerate recruiting and onboarding. Look for software that provides intuitive user interface and integration with job boards and social networks. The right software can make it possible to quickly pre-screen applicants, review resumes, record feedback, rate candidates, and tag key applicants. Better still, with state-of-the-art software solutions, hired candidate data converts seamlessly to a new hire record to jumpstart the onboarding process.

Pre-Screening Applicants
When applicants submit resume information online, employers may opt to add screening questions to the process. These “mini interview” questions can serve as a first assessment of an applicant. Employers can even set a distance filter to reduce the risk of new employees failing to show on the first day of work.

Hackathons, the new recruiting tool for software engineers, can also be applied to the workforce in general. Simple pre-interview testing can help refine a pool of applicants. A short answer form in which the applicant explains how he or she would deal with a specific situation, can serve to demonstrate skills and qualifications.

Short answer forms are more personalized than a resume. They allow applicants to use personal pronouns and easily express their thoughts and skills. Cover letters also allow employers to catch a glimpse of the applicant’s personality, see soft skills at work, and gauge cultural fit.

Beefing Up Referrals
Applicants referred by an employee can become valuable assets to a company. Employers can increase referrals by setting up a reward system for employees. Referred applicants are more likely to be a good fit with the company culture, as they are less likely to be in the normal scope of applicants, and may provide a diversity of backgrounds to create a better culture and better employees.

Broadening and Eliminating Job Requirements
Candidates who encounter a long list of requirements for a position may become discouraged and move on to another company. Recruiters should scan the list of requirements for a job and decide which ones can be safely broadened.

For example, specific certifications may not be necessary for proof of technical skills. Job seekers may have skills they can demonstrate for which they have not been officially certified. Minimum time requirements for experience may also be overly specific. Instead of specifying minimum times, ask for proven expertise.
Consult with team leaders to find out what are the make or break skills for a position. List only the top skills required for the job, along with the team leaders’ most wanted traits and a few personality points to show your company culture.

Recognizing the Impact of the Employee
The employer-applicant relationship is changing overall. Employers today are as interested in finding top talent as employees are interested in finding meaningful positions. Many employers are beginning to realize that their employees are the company’s greatest investment and most valuable asset. From entry level positions to CEO of the company, the impact of an individual employee on a business is now being recognized.

Some employers are using personality tests, language assessments, or other customized assessments to narrow down applicants for a position. However, accessibility and reliability may be issues with these methods. Instead of completely replacing the resume, recruiters today may achieve better results by supplementing the resume with cover letters, applicant screening questions, short answer responses, and other options.

Michelle Lanter Smith is the Chief Marketing Officer of EPAY Systems, where she oversees the company’s go-to-market strategy, customer success and technical support operations.

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