According to some experts, the resume is no longer the leading way that employers determine whom to hire. Inc.com went so far as to call the resume “dead,” citing Artificial intelligence (AI)- and neuroscience-based technologies as the future of hiring practices.
Chad Thompson, an industrial organizational psychologist and Principal at MIX Talent, an acquisition and management firm in Columbus, Ohio, says that employers often want “a degree of flexibility and adaptability that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the job experience on your resume.”
Instead, he’s seen employers put potential employees through short “mini-simulations” as part of the interview process. This gives the employer a sense of how a candidate communicates, how they process data, and other skills that can only be assessed in the work environment.
Ashley Irvin, Growth Manager for Remedy Review (a subsidiary of Three Ships), a national healthcare media company based in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a fan of work simulations. She says her company will sometimes put a prospective candidate in “live work sessions” to model team dynamics and team meetings in an interview, to see if the candidate is comfortable sharing their perspectives in an unprompted way. “Can they be assertive and creative around coming up with new ideas?” Irvin says. “Are they going to vocalize their perspective or are they timid and sit back and wait to be asked?”
Thompson also recommends utilizing people in his field, organizational psychologists, to run a battery of tests or put candidates through role plays customized to the job. “Often times smaller companies think that’s a big company process, but if 1/20th of your company is not clicking, that’s a major problem,” he says.
It’s also important, he says, to make sure you’ve put thought in advance into your company culture and asked what kind of people you want to work there, what your beliefs and values are. “Then ask how do we find people that jive with that?” Thompson says.
Irvin, who does not believe the resume is dead, but certainly doesn’t see it as the only useful tool, says her company places a lot of weight on one very low-tech measure: references. “I think that past performance is the biggest indicator of future success, and that can’t be seen from a resume,” she says.
However, she’s seen companies be successful with what she calls “the virtual resume” in which candidates come up with creative ways of sharing their experience via video or audio clips through an app. She’s even seen a candidate go to the trouble to code and build a video game to showcase their web development skill.
But in the end, Irvin says there’s no substitute for face-to-face contact. “I believe that intimacy and connection is very, very important when somebody is considering joining a company.”
Every employer has to determine what it is they’re hiring for, which will shape the conditions of the interview: “Do you need to see the intangibles, the character and personality qualities…or is it a role where you need to see a high level of technical skills aligned to this actual position?” Irvin muses.
Thompson urges employers not to think of their future employees in a “transactional fashion,” and to get to know the candidates as thoroughly as the interviewing process will allow, which is less about clever techniques and more about investing the time.
“Who you decide to bring into your business is probably the most important decision you’ll make,” Thompson says. “It shocks me that people spend more time researching a vacation than who they’re going to hire.”