Overload driving resumes to extinction

Jun 21 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Resumes or CVs have long been regarded as the cornerstone of employment recruitment, but according to new U.S research, they are dying a slow, painful death.

A study by recruitment firm MRINetwork has found that, despite candidate shortages and the impending retirement of large numbers of baby boomers, the resume is no longer an effective tool for employers seeking to fill critical positions within their companies.

Human resources managers and recruiters are getting more resumes than ever before, but a significant percentage of them, often as high as a third to a half, are never reviewed.

"Like fast food, the resume deluge is fat and bloated," said Kent Burns, a partner at MRINetwork.

"Resumes are generally of poor quality and of declining interest to those interested in a healthier, leaner way of operating," he added.

Candidate awareness of employment opportunities, often through the internet, had led to the marked increase in resume submissions.

Before the job board era, passive candidates did not have easy access to the universe of job openings.

"Now candidates search openings via job boards 24 hours a day, 365 days a years," said Burns.

"With resume submission only a mouse click away, they often apply to multiple positions. It's not uncommon for me to contact candidates who confess to applying to so many job postings that they haven't a clue which one I'm calling about," he complained.

Compounding the problem with job boards was the lack of standardisation, which created a challenge with classification, storage, retrieval and comparability.

Employers have found that having hundreds of disparate resumes and a text search function is only marginally better than having hundreds of paper resumes.

"The lack of meaningful filters creates inconsistency – and even chaos – while draining important HR resources," worried Burns.

Errors, exaggerations and even lies are all part of the resume landscape
There was also an inherent risk in relying too heavily on the resume as an indicator of talent and ability.

"Errors, exaggerations and even lies are all part of the resume landscape," said Burns.

"These tactics transfer the burden of validation to the company's interviewing process, and often the inaccuracies go undetected until the new hire is on the job and problems begin to surface," he added.

What's needed, argued Burns, is a completely new kind of job application that provided a standardised format for capturing, comparing, searching and archiving candidate information.

The format also needed to allow the hiring manager to define the information that the candidate provided in a format that made optimal sense for the company.

On top of this, it needed to use objective talent quality filters through validated assessment tools, he argued.

"Using this method, the job applicant will supply only the information deemed critical by the employer and will then complete the assessment battery," he said.

From all the data gathered, a report would then be created and assigned a score. The candidate score would be compared with the "cut score" established by the employer to determine if the candidate is scheduled for an interview.

"We've come a long way from the days when the HR manager's problem was a pile of letters filled with resumes in response to a classified ad," said Burns.

"It may take a while, but we are headed for a time when we look at resumes the way we now look at music recorded on vinyl," he predicted.