There was a time, not so very long ago, that looking for qualified candidates meant barricading yourself behind a pile of resumes from people who may or may not have any idea what your company actually does. Then after sifting through hundreds, you invite in the guy you think is the perfect candidate, only to have him show up to your interview in a five year-old frat tank and a pair of jorts.
Fortunately, technology has put an end to that. Not jorts. Just the resume thing.
No, the traditional resume isn’t dead. But it’s also no longer the be-all, end-all of the job application process. While candidates still need some kind of record of what they’ve accomplished, increasingly employers have ways of delving a little deeper into who each applicant is. So, what are some things you should be looking at to find the perfect candidate?
In “The Resume is Dead, the Bio is King,” Michael Margolis suggests creative-types focus on creating a bio, which tells a much broader story than the transitional template of bullet points. That biography is not only designed to tell an employer what a candidate has done, but humanizes them too. Margolis even goes so far as to tell job seekers to “share some guilty pleasures. Describe what you like to geek out on. Reveal a couple things you obsess about as hobbies or interests.”
As an employer this can be an incredibly invaluable tool for you. First, you can see if that great-on-paper candidate also has a weird obsession with taxidermy. But more importantly than weeding out the weirdos, it can allow you to dig a little deeper to see if someone has the same values as your company. For instance, if you have a candidate who mentions that he came from a military family, and your company stresses precision and detail, that candidate might be better in your corporate culture than someone with a seemingly-more-impressive resume who doesn’t have that level of meticulousness ingrained in his head.
Recruiting potential employees from LinkedIn is nothing new. But the way resumes are now being tailored specifically for the professional social media site is. Because of the algorithms LinkedIn uses, people posting resumes now use a keyword-rich headline to grab the search engine’s attention. This is typically the first thing someone writes after his or her name and will inevitably include the phrase “hard-working.” So maybe leave that out of your search parameters.
Next comes a summary of skills and attributes that the search engine also keys in on. Work experience comes later down, so when running a resume search on this site, look for the skills you’re looking for instead of a specific job.
There was a time when an employer investigating an applicant’s Internet persona was seen as the virtual equivalent of dressing up in all black, creeping around back of their house and going through their trash. But while you might be hesitant to check somebody’s online activities for fear of seeming “creepy,” job seekers now know this is very much a part of the job application process. Increasingly, they are creating online presences for themselves that serve as publicly-viewable portfolios of what they can do. Savvy candidates have blogs, Tumblrs, personal websites and more that will give you a better idea of who they are.
Beyond that, candidates are using social media to show that they are in tune with technology and can utilize it to market themselves. This shows you the kind of representation candidates would give your company, as well as assesses their communication skills through what they write. Most candidates will volunteer links to these sites, which will not only provide you a greater depth of information, but also save you the time of interviewing candidates who have great resumes but are not personal fits.
In her article “No More Resumes,” Rachel Emma Silverman of the Wall Street Journal profiles John Fischer, founder and owner of StickerGiant.com, who uses online quizzes as a sort of “self filter.” Fischer custom-designs each quiz depending on the job, and the answers give a much clearer picture of who the candidate is, and what he or she can contribute.
So as a small business owner, it might be important to find out if someone prefers a secure, consistent job or one that will perpetually change. You may also want to gauge their level of interest in your industry. Does your company do virtual wedding planning? Ask them how they envision the perfect wedding. Are you a company that values humor and creativity? Ask them which Muppet they’d most like to be tickled by. And why. You get the idea.
The quizzes can be easily set up with websites like Surveymonkey.com and KwikSurveys, and allow your small business to screen candidates with greater accuracy, even with your limited time and staff.
So while you may still want to ask for resumes when looking for your best employees, your search will ultimately be easier if you ask applicants for more. A few minutes spent perusing their blogs, tailoring a LinkedIn search, or developing a quiz can narrow you pool of applicants to exactly who you want, and avoid ever having to see someone walk around your office in jorts.
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