It’s hard not to be overwhelmed. With the avalanche of resumes, I mean. They come crashing into our companies non-stop these days. And that makes our job even harder. If identifying qualified candidates for an opening is normally a challenge akin to finding a needle in a haystack, today, it’s more like finding a molecule in a mountain. There are so many resumes piling up so fast that our entire recruitment process is in danger of collapsing.
So, who can blame recruiters for trying to reestablish some order? But, what are they doing? A growing number are refusing to accept candidate resumes unless they are submitted online. They have declared the old fashioned paper and fax varieties persona non grata. Only e-resumes are welcome because they can be easily downloaded right into the corporate resume management system where they can then be easily searched and identified for appropriate openings.
It’s an efficient solution, to be sure. And, it has all of the hallmarks of good supply chain management, which some HR pundits are fond of extolling. Need to recruit some new employees? Great! Just rack ‘em, stack ‘em and pump ‘em in the door. It’s enough to make a logistician’s heart sing.
Those resumes, however, are not widgets, but a stand-in for people. That’s right; for all their inadequacies, resumes have not one, but two realities. They are records, and they are relationships. From a candidate’s perspective, then, the way his or her record is managed says a great deal about the way an organization will treat them as an employee. And processes that are efficient at moving around widgets don’t necessarily build good relationships.
Consider the following example. An employer recently asked a staffing firm, Pearson Reid London House, to recruit several thousand new employees as quickly as possible. The firm used two strategies for sourcing prospects: Internet advertising, where candidates applied online, and an interactive voice response (IVR) system, where candidates applied by responding to automatic prompts on the telephone. The two approaches generated over 300,000 applicants. They also revealed some of the inherent problems in treating people like widgets.
Obviously, efficiency is important, particularly in these days and times. The quest for efficiency, however, must not undercut our ability to accomplish our mission. We are responsible for finding the best candidates possible for our client’s vacancies. And, when we limit the ways by which candidates can apply for those openings, we limit the range of prospects we can recruit. Indeed, the net effect of designating paper and fax resumes as persona non grata is to make many very appealing candidates feel exactly the same way.
-Peter Weddle, CEO, WEDDLE’s