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The Death of the Resume: Five Ways To Re-Imagine Recruiting

by Jeanne Meister, Forbes Contributor

For proof that recruiting has entered a new era, one need look no further than an exceptionally novel internship application submitted this summer by Shawn McTigue. This playful 2:50 video by Shawn was a response to Mastercard’s call for applicants to creatively promote the benefits of a “cashless society.” It was his take on the “something creative” all interns were required to link to as part of the application. The rest of the process involved engaging on MasterCard‘s Facebook page, uploading a resume via LinkedIn, and following MasterCard on Twitter for further directions. The campaign represents the future of recruiting, where the process demands that applicants showcase their skills –and in the process makes them stronger candidates.

Forget the resume; today, employers pay more attention to candidates’ web presence, like their top Google search results, their Klout scores, their number of Twitter followers or the number and quality of recommendations they have on LinkedIn. Companies are looking at how individuals build their personal brand and contribute to that brand on a daily basis. And when it comes to job candidates, the ability to leverage YouTube and Twitter is just the beginning. Applicants are increasingly required to demonstrate creativity and innovation while addressing a company’s business challenge posed during the recruiting process.

Today, most companies have managed to integrate social media into their recruiting function. A recent survey conducted by recruiting platform Jobvite found that 92 percent of U.S. companies are using social networks and media to find new talent in 2012. But this has become the bare minimum expectation for competitive employers. To stand out, recruiters and Chief Human Resource Officers must go beyond simply leveraging social media to recruit talent; they must build a process that creates a more professional candidate; a process where candidates have an opportunity to showcase their innovation and creativity.

In considering the best ways to re-imagine recruiting, I used Spigit’s new crowdsourcing innovation platform, ICON, to do some crowdsourcing of my own. I asked users how they thought companies should build innovation into the recruiting process. Many responses suggested posing business challenges to candidates and asking them to compete on finding solutions.

So how can your company re-invent recruiting in a way that demonstrates openness, transparency, fun, collaboration and innovation?

1. Democratize the talent pool

Use contests and games to allow applicants to set themselves apart by way of their ideas and contributions rather than the standard, one-dimensional credentials presented on a resume. Performance in these contests reveals aptitude rather than education or experience, and that’s where the job market is going. After all, as profiled in my book, The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today, a study by University of California at Berkeley estimates that knowledge doubles every two years and in some fields every six months.

Contest-driven hiring makes for smarter candidates, not only because the brightest applicants will come out on top. Just as importantly, those applicants will have received an education in the company’s priorities, goals, and mission during the recruiting process.

2. Run Time-Bound Business Challenges

MasterCard’s “Cashless Society” campaign yielded over 350 qualified applicants this year, compared to the 20-30 applications the company has traditionally received upon advertising a job.

Applicants were asked to use a third party social media site to explain what a “cashless society,” meant to them, and given four weeks to complete this challenge. Some, like Shawn, created videos; one successful campaign came in the form of a Tumblr blog, called “Cashless ’til May.”

The application process itself is becoming part of the interview as forward-looking companies see the opportunity of creating a more professional candidate. Social recruiting is now morphing into social interviewing, as companies require candidates to showcase their skills, knowledge and competencies in a public manner.

3. Recruit for Impact

In addition to cultivating a workplace family, companies must build a strong employer brand that resonates with potential employees. In the same way that social media now throws a spotlight on candidates’ personal brands, it forces companies to be vigilant about developing their employer brand as a way to attract top talent. They must use social media not only to gain and maintain a following, but also to cultivate a brand that resonates with what young workers (Millennials and beyond) are looking for in an employer.

The research on this may surprise you. In a survey of 1,726 college students conducted by the firm Net Impact, researchers found that 58% of the student population would take a 15% pay cut to work for a organization whose values matched my own

This is giving more organizations the incentive to build their commitment to corporate social responsibility into the recruiting process.

4. Make innovation a requirement

In a business environment fraught with uncertainty, a survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM‘s Institute for Business Value (IBM), identified “creativity” and “innovation” as critical leadership competencies for the enterprise of the future.

But companies are not waiting until an employee’s start date to begin training for innovation. Instead, they are building innovation aptitude into the recruiting process.

Increasingly we will see companies during the recruiting process ask applicants to solve a business challenge, provide input design on a new product or service, pitch an idea, or defend their analysis of an obstacle the company faces. These types of challenges are created to identify candidates who can demonstrate both innovative thinking, as well as T shaped skills, meaning a depth of knowledge in one area combined with as the ability to collaborate across disciplines.

For Shawn McTigue, Mastercard’s #InternsWanted challenge was the motivation he needed to get the creative juices flowing. “It told me that MasterCard was not looking for the same old thing,” Shawn said. “They were looking for exactly what they asked for, which was creativity and someone that would go outside the boundaries.”  As a result of the contest, MasterCard selected Shawn for an in-person interview – however, he had in the meantime landed a full-time summer job elsewhere.

5. Build Gamification Into The Recruiting

Professional service firms like DeloitteAccenture and PwC are the earliest adopters to re-thinking recruiting, and PwC is now building competitive games into the recruiting process in order to train applicants in critical thinking, teamwork and communication – key skills needed for success at the firm. The company’s platform, xTREME Games, is designed to build a range of business skills needed for success among undergraduate accounting students.

So readers, what are you experimenting with in your company to source talent in new and innovative ways?

Discover what Logi-Serve™ can do for your organization. Request a Live Demo Find out why more companies are turning to Logi-Serve™ for their people assessment needs.