Business Brains

Resumes are dead: here's what gets you the job these days

Posting in Science

Some companies are hiring job candidates based on their social network profile, instead of resumes with a lot of bullet points. Will this soon become a mainstream practice?

More job candidates are being hired on the basis of what shows up on their social network pages, versus those one or two sheets of paper that are either emailed or snail-mailed into human resource departments.

The Wall Street Journal's Rachel Emma Silverman just posted a piece on how some companies (albeit new media-ish type firms) prefer to examine a prospect's social media profile, versus a few bullet points on a terse document.

The manager at one company that refuses résumés explained their rationale to WSJ:

A résumé doesn't provide much depth about a candidate, says Christina Cacioppo, an associate at Union Square Ventures who blogs about the hiring process on the company's website and was herself hired after she compiled a profile comprising her personal blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile, and links to social-media sites Delicious and Dopplr, which showed places where she had traveled. "We are most interested in what people are like, what they are like to work with, how they think," she says.

Along with social network profiles, some companies post games or challenges to winnow out applicants. (The "gamification" of hiring?) In her article, Silverman describes how IGN Entertainment Inc., a gaming and media firm, "posted a series of challenges on its website aimed at gauging candidates' thought processes. (One challenge: Estimate how many pennies lined side by side would span the Golden Gate Bridge.)"

As reported here a couple of months ago, Facebook also employs online gaming or challenges to bring in talent, and at last report, by 2010 had brought in about 118 engineers — or 20% of its technical workforce — this way. It became an “easy, fast, and cheap to evaluate entries automatically.”

Granted, the examples shown here are, again, new-media-ish type companies, not your average widget maker down the street. How prevalent is this trend among mainstream companies?

Most companies still take resumes, but it's also a sure thing that candidates are also being researched across social media channels. And, as Michele Rafter explains at the Second Act site, there are some interactive techniques that jobhunters should  employ in order to increase their marketability. (I like the term "presume," short for presentation resume.)

The ideal "presume" could include an online interactive slide presentation (SlideRocket is the platform cited), an infographic (yikes), a video resume, a something still printed -- but on something unusual, with lots of eye-popping graphics.

The bottom line is it takes more than a piece of paper to get a job these days. The good part is that your accomplishments and interactions can flourish, they no longer need to be squeezed into a small 8-1/2-by-11-inch box.

(Photo: National Science Foundation.)

Share this

Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure