The Resume’s Slow Death and Other Evolutions in Hiring

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By Genevieve Douglas

The resume had a great run, but its importance in hiring is steadily diminishing as company executives favor face time and networking when deciding who gets the job.

The hiring process has evolved to be more condensed and more to the point, “much like Twitter,” Chris Brown, vice president of human resources at West’s Unified Communication Services, told Bloomberg BNA July 19. “Executives want the bare bones information on the candidate and don’t want to be bothered with a resume,” he said.

Through technology HR has the ability to find the perfect candidate for almost any job opening, Brown said. “There is a lot more prospecting now” and the information provided by a resume is often already known by recruiters, he added. This means HR often uses the recruitment and hiring process to determine whether a prospective employee meshes with the company culture, and not just to vet a candidate’s skills, training, or experience, Brown said.

In fact, 77 percent of 1,815 executives surveyed by the Futurestep division of consultancy Korn Ferry said networking was the most important part of the job search process, followed by interviewing (16 percent) and social/online presence (4 percent). Resumes appeared at the bottom of the list at 3 percent.

Attention to Detail Still Matters

“Resumes today are often looked at as education verifications,” Peter Keseric, managing consultant of financial services and real estate for Korn Ferry Futurestep, told Bloomberg BNA July 17. But the drop in significance doesn’t mean job seekers should cut corners with their resumes, Keseric noted.

Although 51 percent of executives said they spend less than five minutes reading a candidate’s resume and 13 percent spend less than two minutes, a typo or other error can sink a person’s job prospects. Ten percent of executives surveyed by Futurestep said they would disregard a candidate if they found a typo or bad grammar in a resume, even if the candidate had appropriate qualifications. Forty-six percent said they would keep the candidate in the pool, but with reservations.

“The most important thing about a resume is it shows your attention to detail, so a typo in a resume is really, really bad,” Matthew Steinberg, a labor and employment attorney for Akerman LLP in New York, told Bloombeg BNA July 19. “Employers feel that if someone can’t put enough time into making a resume perfect, then they won’t put the time and attention into their work.”

Potential Positives

One potential positive of the death of the resume could be eliminating certain risks an employer can encounter in the hiring process, Steinberg said.

Resumes often contain a section where people disclose hobbies or extracurricular activities that give employers information on whether the individual belongs to a protected class that they otherwise wouldn’t know about from LinkedIn, he said.

Eliminating resumes could also help curb instances of implicit bias, Steinberg added. Hiring managers with implicit biases might judge a resume by name alone, so a process that sources talent based on qualifications and less on a resume, “will likely mitigate the problems that implicit bias may cause,” he said.

Technology Leading to New Frontiers

In lieu of a resume, employers can explore other evaluation tools on the cutting edge of technology, such as artificial intelligence programs to test candidates, digital interviews to get face time with candidates regardless of geography, and skills-based testing and simulation software to assess abilities, Steinberg said.

Today’s job market requires HR to view the talent acquisition process in terms of specialty, Brown said. “A generic skill set is really a thing of the past as well,” he said.

HR must vet potential employees on whether they’re the right fit for the company and will be engaged workers, and not just whether they have the skills to do the job at hand, Brown said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris at

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