You’ve probably heard that recruiters hate reading resumes, or are too inundated with them for candidates to really stand out, but that’s not necessarily true. Recruiters hate looking at resumes of unqualified applicants. Any talent acquisition professional doing a search for a hard-to-fill role requiring direct sourcing will tell you that, in fact, finding the perfect resume – or its proximity – is one of the most thrilling parts of the job.
Problem is, it doesn’t happen very often. As far as most line recruiters are concerned, if you don’t look good on paper, you don’t look good for a job, no matter how good a job you’d actually do.
That’s why many executive search firms hire professional resume writers for a select pool of candidates for whom the labor laws of supply and demand skew heavily in their favor.
For the huge majority of candidates who aren’t being headhunted, getting the job means concentrating less on standing out of the box and more on perfectly fitting that box. Because the truth is, as right as you think you might be for a job or as compelling a case as you believe you can make, you’re only as good a fit as your resume says you are.
That’s why resumes remain so deeply entrenched into the processes and practices of talent acquisition – the fundamental currency upon which the entire talent generation process is predicated. Most applicant tracking systems won’t let a job seeker even express interest without a resume. Even those systems with more sophisticated features like the ability to join talent networks or get custom job alerts by linking a social profile through an open API like Facebook Connect or LinkedIn will ultimately have to submit a resume, if for no other reason than compliance purposes, before being ‘formally’ progressed to the next step in the hiring process, at least as the system defines it.
Additionally, once a resume is uploaded, it’s also parsed by those same systems, essentially extracting essential information which enables storing, searching and slating those resumes – theoretically, at least, since these systems have severe limitations, since submitted information remains essentially static. That means for candidates and employers alike, finding the right resume – the essential first step in screening and selecting a slate – inherently depends on finding that resume at the right time, which is why most recruiting remains just-in-time.
The average job search takes right around three months, which is actually just under the 3.2 months that pass, on average, between the time a company posts a job and receives an accepted offer. Since, statistically, requisitions are actually open on average longer than any given candidate is on the job market, employers work with resumes with an extremely limited shelf life, and an inordinate amount of time and money is spent generating documents that will, at best, result in a single hire.
The overwhelming remainder of resumes, including the often expensive or labor-intensive CVs of the closest of runners up, will quickly become inaccurate, outdated or irrelevant without manual intervention. Even in those rare instances where a recruiter or candidate attempts to augment an existing candidate record with a new resume, the system’s required processes are more prohibitive than simply starting again from square one, one of the reasons many candidates have literally dozens of unique records within a single enterprise system.
This is why, despite our best efforts at building pipelines, most searches start without a single candidate slated – and for candidates we’ve already engaged, the onus to apply to new positions and keep resumes and records current is placed squarely on their shoulders.
That’s why so many start-ups, established recruiting vendors and a plurality of candidates would like to see the stagnant resume replaced, although the dramatically different departure from the status quo neglects the fact that the resume doesn’t actually need to be reinvented – nor, for reasons obvious to employers, can it be replaced. Instead, it’s about maximizing the relevancy, and extending the lifetime, of the resumes so many employers have already invested so much time and money to generate in the first place.
This is where dynamic profiles fit in.
With the rise in federated search, systems now have the ability to aggregate structured, static information like a resume rotting in the forgotten corner of an enterprise system with real-time, unstructured information like a social profile, a blog post or even a more recent resume from an external database.
One of the features of parsing technologies is that they can auto-populate selected fields directly from a resume into system defined parameters, meaning that each candidate is linked to personal identifiers. Although most systems require candidates fill these in even when submitting a resume, these databases link every candidate record to a unique phone number, mailing address, e-mail address, name and in most cases, work history (although the last is generally searchable only by “current company and title,” which are mostly anything but current).
With dynamic profiles, those same identifiers, along with name, location and other relevant information used as algorithmic inputs, automatically index against the deep web, matching results from social networks, videos, search engines, blogs, news mentions and any other open online source against the candidate record already sitting in a candidate relationship management or applicant tracking system.
Once a match is identified, the relevant information, like title or current employer, is updated in the candidate’s profile directly within the CRM, ATS, or HCM system itself, and, similar to resume parsing, these disparate sources and formats are standardized and made searchable within the core system itself.
These same identifiers also prevent and preempt multiple records for the same candidate. By allowing systems to merge duplicate accounts while eliminating extraneous records, all information about a candidate, including application history, resume versions and recruiter generated notes, can be readily seen – and shared – through a unified dynamic profile.
This means that not only are profiles up-to-date, no matter how long ago the candidate actually applied, but an employer’s resume database is no longer a black hole, but a dynamic database of warm, qualified leads who can be nurtured, and engaged, for current and future opportunities. After all, candidate records should last longer than a requisition, and with dynamic profiles, these records evolve in real time, unleashing the ultimate objective of every resume: to tell not only the story of a career, but also, how you’ve evolved with it – personally, and professionally.
Because we’re never really done writing our work stories.