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6 reasons resumes don’t work.

Meredith Stack

Resumes are not only an outdated recruiting tool, they often lead to biased and unbalanced hiring decisions. Consider the facts:

  1. Applicants lie. 85 percent of applicants lie on their résumés or applications, according to a Hireright survey. Since resumes are often the first step recruiters and scanning tools use to cull applicants, you may be cutting the best (and most honest) candidates.
  2. Resumes only get a cursory glance. The average recruiter spends 5-7 seconds reading a resume if they look at it at all. Whether they don’t trust the data or they just don’t have time to read them, resumes clearly aren’t adding value to the process.
  3. Resumes reinforce bias. One study found that an identical resume is 50 percent more likely to result in an interview if the candidate’s name is European American than if it is African American. A similar study found the same resume with a man’s name got a 70 percent response rate, whereas with a woman’s name it got zero. In other words, even if a resume outlines exactly the skills and experience you are looking for, it still won’t get the right person into the job.
  4. Algorithms reinforce bias. Even when companies use machine learning algorithms to review resumes, many of these bots bring bias to the process. Amazon recently had to scrap its software engineer recruiting engine, because the algorithm was trained using 10 years of past hiring data, which caused it to seek out male candidates, reinforcing male dominance in the industry.
  5. Resumes contribute to bad candidate experiences. Recruiters may not put much thought into resumes, but applicants do. When they spend hours crafting the perfect summary of their lives and careers then never hear from you, it sullies their candidate experience. Fully 60% of job seekers report having received a poor candidate experience, and 72% of them shared that experience online or with someone directly.
  6. Culture fit is more important than skills in a resume. Ninety percent of execs believe a candidate’s fit to the culture is equal to or more important than the skills and experience they lay out in a resume, according to a report from Robert Half. The report also found that workers who aren’t a good match for the corporate culture are the most likely to leave a job in the first year.

These statistics are proof that resumes as a recruiting tool aren’t serving their intended purpose. Recruiters can learn more about a candidate’s fit for a job by assessing their skills, attitude and potential to succeed. Pre-employment assessments, behavioral interviews, skills tests, and references deliver more insight and a better candidate experience than reading a stack of resumes ever could.

An employer is looking at a candidate's resume during an interview

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