4 Alternatives to Resumes 1

Dear Employers and Employees alike, to quote Phoebe Buffay as she *pwned* Ross Geller, “Wasn’t there a time when the brightest minds in the world believed that the world was flat? And, up until like what, 50 years ago, you all thought the atom was the smallest thing, until you split it open, and this like, whole mess of crap came out. Now, are you telling me that you are so unbelievably arrogant that you can’t admit that there’s a teeny tiny possibility that you could be wrong about this?”

What if there was a way to reduce the amount of time you spent hiring? These four methods below aren’t just alternatives to resumes, they’re practical, cost effective methods to improve the quality  and reduce the quantity of candidates qualifying for time-consuming interviews.

What if you’re wrong about resumes being indispensable to the hiring procedure? Are you willing to admit it might be time to move past them? Are you willing to stop wasting time interviewing candidates you could never hire?

As a recruiter it’s not your responsibility to invest more time in individual candidates than you already are, but if they do offer other ways to get to know them, don’t dismiss them. These four methods might just be the future we haven’t unlocked yet:

1. Online Brand

Using the wide variety of social media platforms available on the wild world web- all of which have been created to give voice to people’s thoughts and ideas-employees can create a differentiated personal brand for themselves if they play their cards right. This brand can be broken down into their Personality, Portfolio and People.

For their Personality, use their Facebook, Twitter and About Me profiles to get an insight into their belief systems, opinions, likes and dislikes, and get a glimpse of how they network, maintain themselves in public, and if they’re defined by their careers.
For their Portfolio, use their Slideshare, Prezi, Tumblr, WordPress and Youtube accounts, assuming of course that they have uploaded samples of their work and created a reservoir of their creations.
For their People, visit their Linked In pages and see the recommendations they’ve received, the connections they have, the groups they actively participate in or if they have followers.

A candidate’s personal website can be used to study any of the above 3 P’s, since its content will differ from one candidate to the next.

2. Skill Tests

Skills and competencies are two very important factors to predict an employee’s on-the-job productivity- i.e. the faculties they possess, and how effectively they can apply them. A selection test thus allows you to assess the capability of a future employee and can be used as screening tool for most industries; from programmers- for whom you can create a hiring challenge by using an advanced assessment tool that’s smart enough to judge code, to marketers-for whom you can provide a case study that needs solving or ask them to create a brief campaign for your product and explain its viability, and even writers- for whom you can assign a topic and a deadline and judge their creativity and/or factual correctness.

Another way to administer skill tests is by asking candidates to offer a proposal – this works especially well for managerial positions at high levels- wherein they offer a business plan or idea that would profit your company. It tells you what they can bring to the table, and how they can be asset to your company. These geniuses seem to have pioneered this idea.

3. Psychographics

Employers can learn about how employees may interact with each other by studying their lifestyles, work ethics and style of functioning. Social Media, as mentioned before, offers insights into many of these. Additionally, personality tests or application forms which ask questions about how hard they would work if nobody was watching, how much of a perfectionist they are, an example of leadership or charity from recent times, etc. can give revealing answers. Similarly, we can discover their tendencies to be lazy, narrow minded, or fragile, and test their comfort with work load, ambiguity or peer pressure. To prepare an all encompassing set of questions that assess the exact qualities you have in mind, you can organise focus groups with existing employees or depend on observation alone.

4. On The Spot

This is an exciting method that brings into the spotlights an aspect of a candidate’s existence which the above three methods could easily miss- their thinking process. It leaves no room for scripted soliloquies or carefully crafted creations, and tests how an applicant performs when they have no props to put them on a pedestal. Companies like Google and Boston Consulting Group depend on these ‘mind teasers’ asking things like “How many TV sets are bought in China every year?”, “Explain the difference between the Earth’s rotation and revolution to a 2 year old”, “How many people are online between 9PM and 11PM in India?” and/or “Which would work better, a Men’s clothing line started by Victoria Secret, or a Clothes Detergent line started by Johnnie Walker?” These questions rarely have a correct answer, and as long as the answer is well explained and justified, it can fly just as well as any other.


From here, here and here, we found the following discouraging statistics about hiring with resumes:

  • There is an average of 118 applicants who apply for every job opening posted, with the first coming in the first 200 seconds. 20% of those applicants get an interview
  • 58%  of Employers Have Caught a Lie on a Resume, according to Career Builder.
  • Average time spent looking at a CV is 5-7 seconds
  • One spelling or grammar mistake can get your CV rejected
  • Job rejection rate of 88% if you have a photo of yourself on your CV
  • 17% chance that your cover letter will be read

Time to expand our horizons and think outside the box to hire the best! But first, watch this clip from Friends: