Should Recruiting Without Resumes be Policy?

man holding a touch screen padWe see a lot of discussion about whether in the face of social media profiles, resumes are actually dead, not dead, undead, dying, not dying anytime soon, or alive and kicking. It can depend on which sector you work in as to where exactly you stand on this debate as some businesses, professions and sectors are more social media profile engaged than others. Me, I stand somewhere between dead, dying and zombie undead, that is, the traditional resume is still walking around, but it is a pale shadow of the enriched, life filled, colorful, vibrant social media profile alternative.

Irrespective of where one stands in the debate, the truth is many companies are beginning to recruit without resumes and are beginning to make recruiting without resumes policy. It may be some of the smaller entrepreneurial companies who are leading the way, but small companies represent around 50 percent of the private sector workforce, so should not be dismissed lightly. Also, research from Jobvite tells us that 92 percent of recruiters are using social media profiles to screen and last year, according to a piece in Forbes, Mastercard was one of the first of the big players to dip their toe in the water and test out a resume-less recruiting process where candidates had to apply with: a topical video, completed LinkedIn profile and by engaging on Mastercard’s Facebook page and following them on Twitter. This was admittedly aimed at interns, but, it is a sign that recruitment without resumes is real and other big players are sure to follow.

So, should recruiting without resumes be policy? In some sectors, professions, and grades where you can make it work, yes, absolutely. Why not? Social media profiles can supply all the information you need to make a decision to shortlist. However, if you are going to embark on a recruiting without resumes policy there are some things to consider, because resume-less recruiting does come with its differences. For example, there is a structural uniformity to the LinkedIn profile and social profiles, which mean candidates do not have to make choices around font, layout, information structure and hierarchy, information order, and bold headings like in a resume. This means when applying without resumes, candidates cannot differentiate themselves in terms of their visual presentational skills, because they must follow the given format.

I think this means that if you are recruiting without resumes it can help to give candidates other ways to differentiate, as with Mastercard that made applicants produce a video on a certain topic. In fact, when recruiting without resumes, social media is no longer the ancillary process to the resume, it is now the central gateway. This is why I think that a recruiting without resume policy should then start making full use of the social media tool set range in the hiring/selection process, so applicants have plenty of opportunities to differentiate themselves. It is much more than simply replacing the resume with a LinkedIn profile. For example:

  • Insist that all applicants apply with a fully completed LinkedIn profile, which should provide the factual info needed.
  • Ask candidates to have at least two LinkedIn recommendations from managers/superiors as well as two to four from clients, suppliers and colleagues.
  • Assess Technorati, Twitter and Klout scores where appropriate to assess the candidate’s power and influence in their field.
  • Invite candidates to prepare a short presentation that shows why they are right for the job and to place this on SlideShare or something equivalent.
  • Invite applicants to upload two or three sample presentations that show their skills on SlideShare¬†or some other media presentation platform, so recruiters can assess at will.
  • Encourage applicants to provide links to industry discussions and debates they may have been involved in, or any published articles they have written, which demonstrate their expertise and flair for discussion and reasoned argument and ability to socialize on some level.
  • Invite applicants to make real-time connections with your team via your website using a chat client to assess sociability.
  • Allow candidates to see your hiring manager and key team profiles on LinkedIn so the candidates get a feel for the culture and the personalities.

As you can see a recruiting without resumes policy should be less about the ‘without’ and more about recruiting ‘with’ the full range of social media engagement devices to help you get a social media enriched, dynamic and 360-degree professional view of the applicant prior to shortlisting or hiring.

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Kazim Ladimeji
Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.