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The future of resumes

This blog post is based on the ninth episode of the data-driven recruiting podcast hosted by CodeSignal co-founders Sophia Baik and Tigran Sloyan. You can find and listen to this specific episode here or check out the video version embedded below.

The future of resumes is changing, and we want it to be for the better. We’re jumping into the discussion and sharing what they could and should be, versus what options would only perpetuate the status quo.

First, let’s look at virtual resumes. Similar to a mini-interview, video resumes are popping up, giving a candidate the ability to present themselves more fully than they ever could on paper. Here’s the problem – we can’t remove unconscious bias as a human, so when you evaluate someone for the first time by video, it is only going to make matters worse. At least with resumes, bias is limited to things like gender, name, school affiliation, etc. With video, we’re adding in appearance, the pitch of someone’s voice, the shape of their face (which believe it or not can signal to us “trustworthiness” based on our bias). Unless you’re hiring a TV anchor or the next Chris Hemsworth (and being comfortable in front of a camera matters) skip the video to minimize bias. 

Look for ways to find, and evaluate, unbiased data about the candidate’s skills. An example might be a context-based resume that highlights particular skills. This doesn’t mean receiving a resume that has been altered to match a posted description. Instead, it could function more like a targeted ad. As an employer, you would be able to find the resumes with skill sets you want, to match the jobs you’re hiring for. Think of it like Google AdWords where what you search for is matched immediately with a relevant option. 

There are already companies in the recruiting industry that focus on sourcing information from keywords. They’re happy to come along and find the data for you, but remember it’s not changing the process. Instead, what you’ve done is improve the existing practice by making it faster or more automated. A collection of keywords can never truly recognize ability or potential. 

The direct measure of ability is the most essential tool for the future. Direct measure of ability doesn’t allow you to make decisions based on proxies, like where the candidate went to school or what companies they’ve worked for. And that’s important because these outdated proxies are signaling tools that give an impression that someone is good at what they do, but in fact don’t accurately measure whether a candidate is qualified or not. 

Although no one can say for sure where resumes are headed, we know the new wave shouldn’t include videos. Instead, candidates should be evaluated with a direct measure of their skills. No resumes, no pictures, maybe even no names!