Why Assessments Are Better Than Resumes

Denise LeaserAssessment Tools, Blog, Career Fit Assessments, Career Valuation Tools, Competencies, Hiring, Pre-Hire AssessmentsLeave a Comment


A position has opened at your company, overwhelming your inbox with resumes and CVs from hopeful applicants. It’s a struggle to cut through the chaff and pinpoint the right people, and it gets even harder when you consider this: how much do resumes actually tell you?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with a resume, they’re pretty useful for telling whether an applicant is completely unqualified or deserves a bit more consideration just at a glance.  But a resume is nothing more than a summary of a person’s professional history.  Even eagle-eyed hiring managers or job placement workers who read a candidate’s resume in full will still be left with only an outline of a living, breathing person.

As hiring practices change, we’ve been able to see the shortcomings of selecting a candidate to interview based solely on their resume.  

Resumes only show you the skills that the applicant thinks you want to know, and they might not even be correct.  What an applicant considers as the most relevant information may not align with what you’re looking for, leading to you disqualifying a perfectly good submission. Further, resumes only show you where a person has worked and the basic functions they performed, but not how well they did or what else they brought to the company.  And, last but not least, resumes lie.  Unfortunately, nearly half of all candidates include little white lies on the resumes, according to a SHRM study. As an HR professional, you know that applicants can sometimes talk a bigger game than they play.

If you’re a recruiter or part of a workforce center, you need to be especially vigilant of the illusions cast by impressive resumes.  Much of the time, a stacked resume is built on access to good networks that come from a background of privilege. This approach to selecting candidates discludes whole classes of people and turns income inequality into opportunity inequality. If you’re bringing a candidate in for an interview based on a good education and work experience, you’re doing not only a disservice to other applicants, but to the company you’re hiring for.

Applicants from low income backgrounds often have intersections of identity and a broader range of experience that you won’t find in more traditional candidates. This does not invalidate the skill of people with impressive work experience, but again, do you want someone who can do the job or someone who can excel at the job? Going purely off resumes, you could very well be limiting your options and send the best person to the reject pile.

For example, say that you’re hiring for a management position and have two about equally qualified resumes standing before you. The only hitch is that one is better written than the other. Based on this, you pick the one that flows better and bring forward a candidate who displayed better aptitude at an arbitrary skill and toss away one whose background may have proven an insightful asset to your company. 

The problem is eligibility verses suitability.  You don’t want someone who is going to come in at five, perform the basic functions of their job, and clock out promptly at five, no matter how well their resume aligns with your job posting.  The ideal candidate is the one who comes in energized, has the potential for career escalation, and brings a diverse perspective and skill set to the role.

With those attributes in mind, how can you begin to account for things outside of the listed experience on a resume when you start sifting through the application pile?

The point here is not to say that you should scrap looking at resumes altogether, but rather find a way to balance your knowledge of a prospective employee’s career history with their personal history. Hiring assessments fill in the gaps left by resumes. Through a series of detailed, thoughtful questions you may find the determining factor that separates two similar candidates, and it could very well be a trait you didn’t even know you were looking for.

The life of a hiring professional is a busy one; you have a lot of people wanting an interview and not enough time in a day. Earlier, we noted how pre-hiring assessments can give you a more fully rounded view of applicants, and that’s true. And by requiring applicants to take an assessment before they submit their resume, you’ll have much better insight into who you can pass on reviewing any further.

There are two main types of assessments: those that concentrate on skill and those that focus on personality. Which you choose is entirely dependent on the role you’re trying to hire for.  If you’re looking to fill a position for an IT expert who will spend their day face down in software, it’s not necessarily important they have sparkling people skills. On the other hand, if you’re hiring for a role that includes a lot of face to face time with clients, the candidate with the more magnetic personality might be the better option than someone more traditionally qualified.

Of course, concerning hiring practices in the modern day, we’d be remiss not to account for the effects of COVID-19.  We’re in a new reality now, and many people who once held a desk at the office will be logging on from home for the foreseeable future—possibly forever, if it becomes financially beneficial to just not have an office. The ability to work from home isn’t a skill you’ll find on a resume, but a few well-placed assessment questions could give you a good idea about an applicant’s reliability and organizational habits, the soft skills you’ll count on when it becomes harder to make sure your employees are keeping on track.

Now, before we conclude, we should mention that, like any other method, pre-hire assessments are not perfect. There are flaws and ways that the taker could game the assessment to misrepresent. As the assessment is gauging the employee’s personal traits, they of course could lie in an attempt to look favorable.  But, between the assessment, the information on the resume, and calls to some of their references, you should be able to weed out any dishonest actors.

A career fit assessment from MyInnerGenius can put all your hiring worries to bed. Our assessments yield proven positive results (just ask IBM and Starbucks).  

Ready to try one – for free? For more info on our career fitness assessments and to enjoy a free demo, visit us at https://trywebassess.com/request_demo/

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