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Hiring with no resume?

August 21, 2018

By Keisha Ward, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Resumes are merely an attention-getter – a tool used to attract the eye of a potential employer. They are proven to quickly target and identify skills, experience, longevity, and location.  But, what do they actually tell us about the person? 

In today’s tight talent market employers rely on more than experience to fill their jobs. They no longer have the benefit of limiting their hiring decisions on years of experience or employment patterns. Instead, organizations now seek individuals who may not have a specific amount of experience, but they have potential to grow within the position. This change in mind-set or process lends to successful hires. 

Managers seeking to fill engineering, clerical, technical, and sales positions all search for character traits rather than a specific background.  Seeking candidates who are creative, motivated, take initiative, are flexible to change, and possess the ability to learn new information is key to landing a solid hire. And unfortunately, these skills and/or traits are rarely found in a resume. 
Relying too heavily on a resume can turn an interview into an interrogation, says Matt Doucette, director of global talent acquisition at Monster. Eliminating resumes from the interview opens the door to conversation verses interrogation. Instead of conducting traditional interviews, Matt suggests a resume-free behavioral interview to find top candidates. 
For most, taking the resume out of the hiring equation may seem unreasonable, maybe even impossible – but it can yield fast, reliable, long-term results.  

This interview style can be new to candidates. Interviewers should prepare them by letting them know that they are taking a conversational approach. This will ease the candidate’s mind and allow them to relax and speak freely, rather than providing rehearsed responses. 

Start the conversation by sharing. Provide the candidate with information about you, the leadership style, the team dynamic, and of course, the organization.  Let them know the good, the bad, and maybe even a little about the ugly. 
Open the floor and give them an opportunity to share.  Ask open-ended questions that relate back to what you’ve shared about the company. Listen for examples that show they have what it takes to succeed in the role. How do they handle obstacles?  Do they get along well with difficult people? Are they willing to adjust to changes that may occur in the organization? Are they willing to take on new projects? Can they make decisions when the manager is away? 
Many interviewers hire based on what they’ve found in a resume only to later terminate the individual due to lack of motivation or inability to adjust to change. 

Conversational interviews are more likely to generate details that would have otherwise not come up. It allows the interviewer and the candidate an understanding of what drives the other, which is key when it comes to successful placements. 
Resumes certainly offer insight into a candidate’s background; however, in today’s market hiring managers can no longer afford to limit their hiring decisions to experience alone.  We should consider the whole person and try to understand how they learn and become an asset and solid contributor within the organization.  Invest less time reviewing and critiquing resumes and allocate the time saved to focus on meaningful conversations with candidates and training time with new hires.  
Resume-free interviewing merely means interviewers are willing to hire candidates based on what they are capable of and willing to do.  It can prove to the candidate that you are willing to invest in their development and will open the candidate pool to a new and highly engaged group of individuals. 

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