How Companies Are Hiring Without Resumes (Yes, Really)

Is anyone that fond of the traditional resume? Would-be employees feel like they’re being judged on a snippet of their job experience or life, and they often cite the fact that it doesn’t adequately represent who they are as a person or an employee. Employers find resumes provide very little information about the important things, like the level of loyalty a new hire will demonstrate, or trainability. Additionally, there are concerns of unconscious biases in the hiring process, such as passing over an applicant because of their name or clues as to their age (like what year they received their degree).Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.28.21 PM

Research is increasingly showing, even if they don’t realize it, hiring managers are going with employees that feel most similar to themselves, or those people that have a background that most closely matches theirs. It’s not necessarily done with malice—it’s just one way managers can make decisions based only on the stacks of resumes they receive.

These are just a few of the ways talent managers and employees are finding resumes to be troubling, and some companies are leading the way toward a new hiring experience. Dubbed blind hiring, this approach to finding new talent doesn’t require a resume.

The Wall Street Journal recently covered the idea of blind hiring and featured Compose Inc., which is a cloud-storage company based in San Mateo, California. Rather than asking for a resume, possible new hires are instead asked to write a story about data, complete an assignment and work on a project for a day.

The goal? It’s not as wacky as it may seem. It’s to judge new hires on their actual talents and abilities, rather than what’s on their resume. Instead of hiring because someone shares your alma mater or worked at a company where you have a lot of friends, you’re hiring based on their ability to rise to the challenges they would actually face within your company. In many cases, some of the best talent, particularly in the technology sector, may not have even graduated from college.

GapJumpers’ Software Solution

Realizing the potential growth in blind hiring techniques, entrepreneur Petar Vujosevic decided to create a software solution that would help talent managers tackle the problem.

GapJumpers is a website that does much of the heavy lifting of the blind hiring process for employees. The site likens itself to the television show “The Voice,” in which contestants perform for a panel of celebrity judges, and without seeing them, the judges make choices on who they’d like to select for their competition team.

The site points out some unique statistics regarding blind auditions, and in particular, how this hiring approach can impact company diversity. The site reports that while many people might believe there’s a shortage of women in technology because of low applicant numbers, when hiring is based on blind auditions of women, the figures of candidates are comparable to their representation in the general population.

The site also points out that many colleges, including Ivy League universities, are turning to blind auditions to find applicants from varied backgrounds.

The goals of GapJumpers, besides simplifying blind auditions for employers, are to help businesses attract more diverse talent, to avoid turning away top talent because they don’t fit the framework of what employers might see as a good candidate, and to find talent without consideration of gender, education or overall background.

GapJumpers was launched in June 2014, and Vujosevic recently spoke to Business Insider about the site.

“Our platform is a lot like the reality TV competition show, ‘The Voice,'” Vujosevic said. “The judges have their backs turned away from the talent, and they decide whether to proceed to the next round based on the contestant’s vocal skills — not their looks, not their race, not their gender. The judges are not biased or influenced by anything other than the skills.” 

The software works by stripping resumes and applications of identifying information, such as name, college, graduation year and address, but Vujosevic is quick to point out that this process isn’t a way to sidestep the face-to-face interview. He explains they’re just the first step in the process and a better form of preparation for both employers and applicants for the eventual in-person interview.

Resume Not Required

Another site with a similar aim is Resume Not Required, operating with the tagline “Take the Emotion Out of Job Seeking.”

The site touts statistics such as the fact that Gallup Consulting says almost 70% of average workers are disengaged in their work, showing only about 1 in 3 employees are actually committed to their company. Resume Not Required also points out that a lack of engagement costs businesses between $292 and $355 billion each year in lost productivity.

Back in 2011, the site’s CEO Don Garrett spoke to the Washington Exec and said employers should be hiring smarter—which means looking beyond quantifiable metrics, such as how many years’ experience a candidate has in a particular industry. He said this isn’t really a way to gain insight into the person and their potential for engagement and success in your organization. Instead, he said employers should focus on why someone wants to be involved with their company.

Rather than taking a broad marketing-based approach to the job search, Garrett says job seekers need to take a more targeted “sniper” approach to the process.

Along with offering projects and asking for writing assignments, some start-ups are focusing the no-resume hiring experience on paid trials. Many of these companies embracing these ideas are even letting candidates work around their present job, so they’re not quitting before they actually get hired. This style of hiring not only looks beyond demographics and possibly non-relevant criteria, but it’s also an excellent way to get an idea of how well someone will fit with a company’s culture and work with others on the team, which is of significant importance to companies like Amazon and Google.

It’s an interesting idea and one that will likely pick up steam as a mainstream hiring alternative, particularly as companies look for ways to source more diverse talent.

January 11, 2016   Updated :November 16, 2016   hiring, recruitment, resumes   

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