Three big reasons to ditch the résumé

Mississauga Board of Trade
Mississauga Board of Trade


February 4, 2015


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janheadshotwebBy Jan van der Hoop

Résumés have been around for so long, we just take them for granted. They became popular after WWII, and the essence of the document has not changed in the last 75 years.

But relying on the résumé as the admission ticket for candidates to introduce themselves can actually hurt you.
Here are three big reasons why you should consider ditching the résumé:

1. Even if they are factually accurate, they have zero predictive value. There is no relationship between skills, education and work history, and how long someone will stay or how productive they will be while they are there. If you don’t believe me, check for yourself… look at the résumés of your best people and those of your worst. They will all look the same on paper. So if you are relying on the résumé to help you decide who to interview and who to ignore, you’re missing the boat. You should be filtering on the basis of attitudes, which are far more predictive.

2. If candidates have to send you their résumé in order to introduce themselves, statistically you’ll be attracting weaker performers. No more than 20% of the workforce has an up to date résumé. Now think about it. Why does someone take the time to update their résumé? They are either unemployed or they think they soon will be. Good performers don’t have a current CV because they don’t need one.
Worse still, the 60% of the workforce you really want to meet will not apply. Let me explain that. The workforce actually breaks neatly into three segments – the 20% who have a résumé; the 20% at the other end of the bell curve who are in love with their job and would be very hard for you to persuade to join you; and 60% – the fat part of the curve – who aren’t in love with their current job but don’t hate it enough to blow the dust off their résumé. These folks tend to be more loyal, they tend to be better performers… and you simply won’t hear from them if they have to send you a résumé to start the conversation.

The only way you will meet those people is to hook them on things that are important to them, make it easy for them to introduce themselves online without sending a résumé, and then to measure what matters. That’s coming up next.

Jan van der Hoop is President HiringSmart. He  can be reached via e-mail at


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Mississauga Board of Trade
Mississauga Board of Trade
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