If résumés were the only way to identify potential, the world would be a much different place. Richard Branson aims to fly people to the moon–and he dropped out of high school. Ever heard of a little company called Twitter or paid for something using Square? Jack Dorsey, a founder of both, doesn't have a college degree.
Certainly my own life would look a lot different. My "résumé" prior to founding HireVue includes only one internship. It was the one I needed to graduate college. It was also the one during which I co-created my company.
Fortunately, many of the talented people changing the world today didn't have to rely on a résumé to help them tap their potential and pursue their passions. Unfortunately, too many other talented people--who could continue changing the world--still do. I think that's tragic and unfair.
This might hurt, but it's the truth: If your organization still relies on résumés to identify great people, you are engineering failure. You're likely overlooking some of the best talent, and therefore not building the best teams.
Here are three reasons why truly innovative leaders have ditched résumés and embrace the technology that brings amazing people to the forefront.
Reason 1: Résumés lack context and promote bias.
Résumés are generic lists of skills, bloated with power verbs. They offer zero contextual information about how someone's passion or potential could contribute to the company, the culture, a team, or a specific job. What's worse, résumés support an unfair process that discriminates against various groups who may not have the "perfect résumé," yet posses incredible skills, passions, loyalty, leadership, and more, including the long-term unemployed, parents returning to work, vets re-entering civilian life, and new graduates who lack experience.
Lazlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, nailed the problem when he wrote, "a major part of why we have unemployment--and why finding a job is so hard--is because résumés are awful at conveying who you really are and companies stink at screening résumés." I couldn't agree more.
Reason 2: Résumés rely on the past to predict future performance.
I won't argue that technical experience doesn't matter, but focusing solely on the person's performance in a previous role is a horrible way to predict future success. The approach is flawed because it doesn't account for the environmental circumstances of the last role (such as being part of a great team) or the raw potential that could be applicable in the next role.
It also doesn't take into account that truly high performing people constantly re-invent themselves and stretch towards mastering things they have never even tried before. Take it from Marcus Lemonis. He does it every single day.
Reason 3: Résumés are superficial.
Aside from the fact that 57 percent of the lies on résumés are skills embellishments, résumés can't show soft skills. I believe these skills, which are the result of characteristics, personality traits, and behaviors, are more predictive than hard skills when it comes to creating successful teams. Research backs this up too: In 2012, MIT's Human Dynamics Laboratory tracked the communication patterns of teams across multiple industries, and found that statistically, "the best way to build a great team is not to select individuals for their smarts or accomplishments but to learn how they communicate and to shape and guide the team so that it follows successful communication patterns."
How can a six second glance at a résumé uncover the ability to collaborate, communicate, or bring raw creativity to a team? It won't, because it can't. It's why 98 percent of the applicants who submit a résumé never even get heard. A résumé-first process ignores that people are more than words on a page and lazily dumps them into buckets of requirements.
Today's most admired and fastest-growing companies know that résumés are useless. They know that creative, motivated, passionate people who can contribute to high performing teams are the last competitive edge. It's why they prefer using technology that focuses on the person as a whole. They are tapping the power of video and predictive analytics to analyze cultural fit, and using data-driven decisions to make smarter bets on raw potential.
It's working too. According to independent research by Nucleus Research, companies embracing this digital transformation outperform their peers with 50 percent higher productivity, 25 percent faster cycle times, and 27 percent less turnover.
Don't believe résumés are irrelevant? Try this simple test: Delete the name from the résumés of your top 10 performers. Then, circulate them to your leadership team and ask if they would hire these people. You'll be surprised at what you hear.