Screening Candidates: Are Resumes A Dead Method?

Candidate screening methods: Are resumes dead?

When it comes to methods for screening candidates, your employee screening process might rely on reviewing resumes or CVs. But does resume screening work well for today’s business and hiring challenges? 

We have bad news if your organization relies on resume screening as a modern method of hiring. The first resume was created by Leonardo da Vinci. In 1482.  

But there’s also good news: you don’t HAVE to rely on resumes to screen candidates. You can hire quality talent in a modern way that’s more reliable than sifting resumes.  

Read on for 4 reasons resumes just might be a dead method for screening candidates. 

1. Screening candidates: Resumes are outdated  

Resume in peace, outdated candidate screening methods

Not just in a “resumes are 500-years-old” way. Modern growth is driven by innovation. And insight leaders like Deloitte refer to “diversity as an engine of innovation”. 

But how can you spur innovation screening applicants the same old way? How can you diversify your workforce hiring the same old people? Especially when resumes or CVs highlight pedigree-driven things like schooling. Even well-meaning recruiters and hiring managers can fall prey to similar-to-me effect and other unconscious biases.  

Instead, a more modern employee screening process would emphasize a method like assessments. When scientifically validated, behavioral assessments can level the playing field for all candidates with objective data. And that gives your organization the opportunity to identify and hire the quality talent that resume sifters are overlooking.  

Of course, innovative doesn’t have to mean unproven. For instance, Harver’s suite of assessments are based on decades of scientific research and rigor. Behavioral assessments are a modern, objective, and reliable option compared to 500-year-old resume screening.  

2. Screening Candidates: Resumes look backwards 

Why look backwards? Look forward to workforce planning, with objective soft skills data.

Another reason resumes might be dead is they look backwards. Yet after The Great Reshuffle, many organizations are looking forward. Or, you could say, vertically and horizontally.  

Internal mobility is all the rage these days. It makes sense, considering there are 1.4 million more job openings than available labor supply. Beyond a tight labor market, many critical hard skills like certain coding languages don’t exist yet or don’t last long. For instance, there weren’t many generative AI experts just a few years ago. 

One of the great things about assessing disposition and workplace behavior is that it supports data-driven decisions for vertically or horizontally mobilizing your workforce. Soft skills tend to be more durable than hard skills. They also tend to be more transferable with new roles or responsibilities.  

If your organization is focusing on development and internal mobility, resumes aren’t that helpful. But other methods, like Harver’s traditional behavioral assessment, can help you look forward with workforce planning. 

3. Screening candidates: Many resumes never get seen 

Resumes: Unseen, unfair…unneeded?

Resumes as a method for screening candidates is a process that rewards those who “play the game.”  

According to CNBC, 3 out of 4 resumes are never even seen by a human because they’re filtered by an ATS. What happens if an otherwise qualified candidate doesn’t use just the right keywords in their resume? Then they lose out on a good job and your organization loses out on a good fit.  

See for yourself: Try going through some resumes your ATS or AI tool rejected offhand. We bet you’ll find some talent you couldn’t afford to overlook.  

Resumes reward savvy job seekers who know how to play the game. What’s worse, this comes at the expense of potentially better fit talent. In a way, resume screening is a similar situation to standardized testing, which the National Education Association refers to as “inaccurate, inequitable, and often ineffective at gauging what students know.” 

Being savvy enough to parrot back keywords from a job description isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But how do you objectively know the candidate can perform well on day one? To make reliably predictive hiring decisions, you’d still need to supplement resume sifting with assessments. So, what are resumes adding, really? 

4. Screening candidates: Resumes get just a glance

Intuition? Or in-two-seconds? Maybe it’s time to bury resumes once and for all.

About the 25% of resumes that are seen: Recruiters average a whopping 7 seconds on each one. 

We’d say more, but our 7 seconds are up. 

In conclusion: Are resumes dead? 

To recap, resumes as a method for candidate screening have some significant limitations, including: 

  • Resumes are outdated and lack objectivity 
  • Resumes look back, which doesn’t help with mobilizing your workforce 
  • 75% of resumes aren’t even seen by employers 
  • Resume sifting happens too quickly be to reliable 

Consider the above and what that means for your organization. Maybe resumes as part of an employee screening process aren’t quite dead yet. But are 500-year-old resumes the most reliable and efficient way to assess external and internal job seekers?  

For a more modern approach that can breathe new life into your workforce’s productivity and innovation, check out our guide to 21st century candidate selection.   

Keith Leong

Keith Leong

Updated on:
October 9, 2023

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