Foliotek Blog

Gasoline & Resumes

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I love the smell of gasoline. Yeah, I know. Very weird.

Growing up, my father had a passion for old cars. This passion didn't mean Dad collected old car paintings, or little shiny models. Nope, not my dad. My dad would buy broken down, antique has-beens and then systematically take them apart and rebuild them bit-by-bit. I remember one red '55 Chevy I rode in while dad drove home. I could literally see the highway passing beneath my feet. The floor was missing thanks to rust. A real Flintstone moment. Yeah, Dad loved the “fixer-upper.”

This process of rebuilding cars took months and sometimes years. The one consistent resource dad used in his rebuilding repertoire was gasoline. No, not to start the car, but to clean the parts. And guess who he solicited to aid in the part-cleaning extravaganza? Yeah, me. So that gasoline smell is burned into my olfactory senses. Every time I hit the pump to fill up my car, it's a nostalgic trip down memory lane to an orange, cast-iron pot filled with grease, grit and gas.

Yes, I love the smell of gasoline. Just because I love it and enjoy the frequent flashbacks doesn't mean I want gasoline as the energy source of the world’s future. Nope, too much research shows there are better tools for that. I know that in order to get from gasoline to wind or solar or whatever the gasoline replacement ends up being, infrastructure needs to change.

Where am I going with this? Since listening to this podcast by Malcom Gladwell, I have been reflecting on the capitalization of a society. There are many factors that contribute to society's growth, but some factors seem simpler to improve. And yet, they aren’t changing. Why? Because like the transition to renewable energy, infrastructure needs to change. Where can we start? I have an idea.

Ditch the resume. Please HR industry, stop using resumes.

Recently I was reading research on employee turnover. While I found quite a few numbers attempting to summarize the impact of turnover, one thing stood out. It’s insanely expensive.

From the 30% of an employee’s salary cited by the US Department of Labor to the 250% an employee’s salary cited by paychex.com, losing employees is negatively impacting our society’s ability to grow.

This wouldn’t be so bad if turnover rates were low, but that’s not the case. As a matter of fact, over the last five years, turnover rates have increased. In a recent survey of 25,000 organizations, over the past four years turnover rates have gone up almost 4%.

What’s going on? This doesn’t seem to make sense. Why aren’t employers better at the employee selection process? Why aren’t individuals better at choosing career paths that fit their strengths? Yes, this is a complicated issue, but there are solutions. Just like renewable energy is better than gasoline, there are better ways to match employers with potential employees.

And it starts by retiring the resume.

Think about it, how much time is wasted combing through word-smithed resumes filled with hyperbole that fails to tell the trajectory of a person's growth potential in one 8 ½ x 11-inch piece of paper. Not to mention that building a resume does very little for interview preparation. Everything about the resume screams “replace me, I’m old.” But here we are, stuck using gasoline because the industry seems unable to shift.

We need a different infrastructure. The resume is too limited.

What could the future be? Just like there are emerging solutions to replace gasoline, there are emerging solutions to replace the resume. Several companies like Handshake, Simplicity, and Ripplematch are using big data to marry a candidate’s technical skills with an employer’s job description. These systems show a great deal of promise. Other companies like Foliotek and Portfolium are taking the approach of giving candidates the ability to showcase projects or digital stories to potential employers, stories that demonstrate their social and professional capabilities beyond a bullet point on a resume.

All of the companies above still use the resume as a part of the process, but it is only one metric. The future of the candidate / employer matching process will involve both big data and digital stories. Obviously, the future hasn’t quite arrived, but these new options are a great place to start.

If you are a company that is only requiring a resume as your point of entry, I encourage you to look a little deeper at the available technologies. Maybe you can be the next Tesla, and just like they are pushing everyone out of gasoline, you can usher in an era of new methods for minimizing turnover and make a dramatic increase on the capitalization of our society.

My company has already made the switch and witnessed very positive results. The more companies that modify their requirements, the faster the infrastructure will change. And then, maybe someday, I’ll have nostalgic memories associated with the resume like I do with gasoline.

Probably not.