Why one employer decided to kill the resume

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The resume is dead — or at least according to Zapier it is.

The startup, which helps employers build their own workflow automations, decided to do away with the document shortly after they started hiring in 2013 — and they haven’t looked back since.

Wade Foster, CEO of Zapier, says when the company first started recruiting they were overwhelmed by the number of resumes they received.

“Jobs like ours would get like 1,000 applicants in a couple of weeks. We had a team of 20 or 30 people at the time. There’s no way that a person can sift through that many resumes,” he says.

So Zapier decided to replace the resume with a series of job-related questions. Foster says these questions range from asking the candidate to explain why they might be a fit, to more focused inquires. For example, a candidate applying for a product designer role might be asked to explain a time where they directed research or impacted business strategy.

“We ask that our product designers engage in the research processes,” Foster says. “We want to hear that they’ve had experience and some of the concrete details.”

While most employers may not be doing away with the resume entirely, companies are focused on finding more innovative recruiting strategies. Traditional resumes on their own aren’t cutting it anymore, says Vicki Salemi a career expert at Monster. Instead, employers are asking candidates to complete tests, video interviews and even submit social media profiles when applying to a role.

“I do think you need some type of mechanism to evaluate candidates before they are in the door,” she says. “But the traditional resume as it exists right now is not effective. It may not be able to convey where they are in their career.”

Foster says Zapier got rid of the resume because they didn’t think it was an effective way to showcase candidates skills. Just because a person worked for a prestigious company, doesn’t mean they are a good fit. It also helps them weed out potential deception in the hiring process, he says.

“It certainly makes it harder for people to lie,” Foster adds.

Employers are also turning to technology as a way to help them find the best candidates. Companies including LinkedIn, Unilever, Accenture and Tesla use Pymetrics, a software which uses neuroscience based games to determine if a candidate is a good fit, Inc. magazine previously reported. HackerRank uses online tests to assess a candidate's competitiveness for jobs in tech.

Salemi says that technology can play an important role in helping employers assess candidates. It also can be a good way for job seekers to get to know the company better, she adds. Video interviewing is a good example of this.

“You can see the candidate and talk to them and feel like you’ve met them, even if it’s through a screen,” she says.

Candidates applying to Zapier do so on the company website, where they fill out contact information and answer a series of questions before submitting the application. Foster says the company has gotten positive feedback from employees about its hiring process and from time to time they have a candidate that goes above and beyond, he says.

“People feel like it allows them to show off their skills in a more unique way,” Foster says. “Resumes don’t often give people the chance for people to showcase what they’re great at.”

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