Leonardo da Vinci created many amazing things in his lifetime, and he was so proud of his work that he also happened to write the first recorded resumé in 1482.
At the age of 30, da Vinci was looking for his next gig, so he wrote a letter that listed his accomplishments and sent it to Ludovico il Moro, the Duke of Milan. And with that, da Vinci placed the resumé at the central point of the hiring process—a position it still holds more than 500 years later.
No doubt, the resumé has had a good run; but it's well past its prime. Advances in recruiting technology have eclipsed the value of resumé screening. We're ready to move on.
The biggest problem with resumés is that they usually don't relate the things about a candidate's previous experience that will actually predict success in a role. That's because resumés typically describe only what work was done and for how long—not how well it was done. To figure out whether someone is capable, interviewers need to probe into past performance in similar tasks rather than focusing on the length or type of the applicant's experience.
Other important elements for predicting performance are completely missing from resumés, including personality, attitude, team skills, motivation and culture fit. Along with past performance in similar tasks, these are the factors that will predict future success. Not how long the applicant held a position or if the title they had is similar to the job they are applying for.
The other major issue with resumés is their inaccuracy. Since this is a self-created tool for people to sell themselves, you have to be skeptical of every resumé you see. Otherwise, you'd have to believe that an uncanny number of people are "diligent, responsible team players with a proven track record in results-oriented environments."
But, beyond the self-serving language, an alarming number of resumés are deceitful.
According to data from Accu-Screen, ADP and the SHRM, 78% of resumés contain misleading information, such as exaggerated skills and the omission of key information. Many people also lie outright. The same source reports that 53% of resumés contain falsifications; 21% contain lies about education degrees. A whopping 70% of university students are willing to lie on their resumé to get a job they want.
That means that most companies today are betting their hiring success on documents that not only lack the right information to assess candidates but also present a lot of misleading information.
After 500 years of this, haven't we found a better way? Well, yes; the good news is we certainly have.
There are at least three ways of initially screening applicants that put the resumé where it belongs: in the back seat. Here they are:
1. A qualifications self-assessment
These days, there are many inexpensive applicant-tracking software tools (or even free online form-building tools) that you can use to ask each candidate specific questions about their qualifications.
With the tool we use, you list the qualifications, education or skills that you require, as well as how important each one is. Then, once each candidate completes the short assessment, they are given a score based on how well they fit your requirements.
If you're doing the smart thing and advertising your job widely on free and paid job boards, you will maximize your chances of finding exactly the right person—but you'll also probably get buried in unqualified resumés. A qualifications assessment allows you to not only screen against the most predictive and objective elements, but it also will eliminate any time you'd have to spend looking at poor-fit candidates.
2. An early personality assessment
For decades, personality (a.k.a. psychometric) tests have been used to improve hiring success rates at the selection phase—that is, when you're making the final decision on which of the few best candidates to hire. But, recently, it's become possible to put all applying candidates through the test.
Reputable psychometric assessments have been validated over millions of tests to be a much better predictor of success than resumé fit. Companies now can use online personality tests at the beginning of the screening process to instantly find the best potential matches for their role amongst hundreds of applicants.