Hire for Skills, Not for a Resume

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Pop quiz: You’re hiring someone. Do you prefer a candidate who is great at writing and formatting resumes, or one who has the exact skills, training, and experience your job demands?

Hiring managers, except for those hiring resume writers, unanimously answer that they want skilled employees who can do the job with as little training and oversight as possible. So why is it that so many hiring experts demand resumes, look only at resumes, and never stop to consider whether a would-be employee has the skills necessary to do the job?

There’s a better way to do things — one that wastes less time, less money, and offers better results. There’s a new approach called Inbound Hiring that allows hiring managers to assess candidates more effectively than any resume. By incorporating skills testing into the hiring process, you can find the best possible people for your team — without relying on a resume.

Resumes Offer Hiring Managers Little Information

Resumes are just lists of words. They don’t tell you much about what an applicant can really do in a role. The structure of resumes is designed to make all applicants look roughly the same. The formating is the same. The language is the same. Research consistently shows that hiring managers spend just a few seconds scanning resumes, looking for a handful of keywords. Some even use resume reading software to accomplish this feat. But do you want a candidate who can guess which boxes you’ll be checking off? Or do you want someone who has the right skills? I think you know the answer already.

Here’s the thing: if you believe the resumes, everyone has leadership skills, a commitment to strong work, and a perfectionist streak. What it really shows is that the candidate is an intelligent person who knows how to write resumes well. That’s why all resumes end up looking the same. It’s also why you can’t rely on resumes, and certainly can’t rely on an algorithm for what a good resume for your company should say. Your business is unique, so you need to hire for skills it demands. Don’t you want an employee who can rise to that challenge, rather than check the right boxes via empty phrases on a resume?

Change the Way We Think About Work

A generation or two ago, once a person scored a job, they could expect to keep that job as long as they showed up, did the bare minimum, didn’t offend anyone, and parroted company slogans. Today, companies demand much more from their workers. Not only must they be dedicated, they must also be committed to continually evolving, mastering new skills, and delivering more value.

The shift away from resumes in hiring reflects this change. The resume is about ensuring a candidate ticks all the right boxes. It shows that a candidate does what he or she is supposed to and plays by the rules. It shows you that a candidate can Google “how to write a resume.” In short, it shows you that a candidate meets the absolute minimum threshold for hiring. It also screens out talented candidates who are too busy to waste time formatting a resume, and too in-demand to waste time listing their achievements in the form of sentence fragments.

The workforce is changing. So too must your company’s approach to hiring.

Assess Job Skills Instead

You already know that the position you’re hiring for requires a number of specific skills. Otherwise you’d hire the first person to seek the job, hope for the best, and call it a day. So why is it that your hiring process does so little to assess actual skill? Even if an applicant has performed well in the past, you have no guarantee that they’ll continue to do so in the future. Circumstances, demands, and skill-sets change with time.

A writer may show their writing samples, but they may have relied on a great editor. An engineer may have worked on a team building a great product, but they may have been the weak link on the team. The only way to understand a candidate’s actual skills is to test them. Instead of reading a list of achievements, skills assessments are a better way to guage the talent of candidates. A competency-based approach tests employees on the skills you truly need for every role. Forget about hiring an expert resume writer — you need an expert in the exact position you endeavor to fill.

Find the Very Best Candidates

The challenge for many hiring managers is that they may not know exactly how to test candidates for skills. That’s where a great interview script or hiring software can help. Rather than trying to suss out skills you don’t have yourself, you can get expert help in assessing the skills of every candidate.

Inertia is a powerful force. It’s hard to break trends in the world of hiring. After all, the thinking goes, a resume is better than nothing — and therein lies the problem. Managers are mistaken when they believe that a resume offers anything of real value. Do you really want to miss out on quality employees because you’re stuck in the dark ages of hiring?

It’s time to add in adjust your hiring strategies. Armed with a skill-based assessment, you’ll never again have to worry about whether an employee has bluffed their way into a high-paid position. Hire the right person the first time and every time.

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