Two white female recruiters sitting in chairs and talking about recruiting myths.

'The Resume is Dead' and Other Recruiting Myths

Recruiting in this market is tough. If you’re like most businesses today, sustained record-low unemployment has made it hard to find, hire, and keep good people on board. Even in this so-called “candidate’s market,” finding a job is no walk in the park either. There isn’t one place with all of the job listings, and every news site, blog, or distant relative has tips on how to get your resume noticed.

Whether you’re looking to hire the best people or trying to land that dream job, I’m going to leverage my three decades in the HR technology space to bust a few myths that are as vexing for employers as they are for candidates.

Myth 1: The resume is dead.

The resume is an incredibly flawed instrument, so I understand why this myth has legs. For recruiters, they read more like poetry than reference material. For candidates, it seems like you never really know if your resume is working the way you intended. You would think the resume would have died off years ago, but this flawed standard remains the “currency” of recruiting.

Why? It’s a simple document. Usually, two pages or less can sum up even decades of experience, skills, strengths, and accomplishments. While not standard, it’s a format most people, including an entire cottage industry of resume writing consultants, understand. It’s the format all recruiting technology has been built to read and extract data from. And even with professional networking sites like LinkedIn compiling candidate profiles, you’ll be challenged to find a site that doesn’t take resumes.

And let’s face it: those online profiles are all built to look like resumes. It’s the format that recruiters have trained themselves to scan and judge within ten seconds. Resumes aren't going anywhere anytime soon. 

Employer Tip Candidate Tip
Don’t implement recruiting solutions without proven resume parsing technology, and don’t stop asking for resumes anytime soon. It’s the format candidates know. Make sure your resume is in a format that applicant tracking systems can “read.” Stick to Microsoft Word and avoid PDFs or images. Following a simple format with targeted keywords is key to getting found.

Myth 2: Job boards are extinct.

The job board emerged in the mid-1990s as a web-based alternative to the newspaper classified ad. Since that time, we’ve seen brands emerge like Indeed, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, Careerbuilder, and Monster. We’ve also seen thousands of “niche” job sites spring up.

Job boards are hyper-targeted for specific job types, industries, and skills. According to a 2018 industry report, five of today's top ten sources of hire are job boards. Newer job boards like UpWork and WorkMarket are also a big part of the fuel behind the expansion of the contingent workforce, made up of contract-based workers, temporary employees, and freelancers. You should expect to see more job boards emerge in areas like campus and diversity recruiting. Last year, job board startups received over $960 million in venture capital funding globally—almost as much as the entire HR technology space in 2017. 

Employer Tip Candidate Tip
Be sure not to discount the viability of job boards that can help you target talent you need. Most recruiting goals today include a mix of filled positions and candidate diversity. Job boards can help you cast a wider net in either case. While you might start your search on major sites like Indeed or LinkedIn, do your homework and see what niche sites focus on the industries and skillsets that map to your search.


Myth 3: Robots are doing all of the recruiting. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are disrupting HR and recruiting—period. But before resigning yourself to a vision of recruiting departments led by robots, understand that every business I've spoken to has only considered using AI to augment, not replace, recruiting staff. This means you'll see bots handling front-end data collection and interview scheduling, but humans will still be engaging with candidates at various points in the process.

The industries where these technologies are taking on more recruiting responsibilities are those that normally have a high volume of candidates, like retail, manufacturing, and logistics. These are also the industries that could be more broadly impacted by automation

There's no doubt that technology has come a long way in revolutionizing the field of recruiting. But no matter which side of the table you're on, there are a few constants that aren't going anywhere. So dust off your resume, visit those job boards, and get on the phone with a real human being. Happy hunting.

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