5 Ways To Go Beyond The Resume in 2015


No one likes resumes. People don't like writing them. People don't like reviewing them.

How can organizations and recruiters go beyond the resume in 2015 to make a culturally aligned hiring choice?

Here are five talent strategies and tactics that will enable you to go beyond the resume this year.

1. Eliminate Job Postings

"If you eliminate the job posting, you eliminate the practice of people writing their resume to match the job description," says Brian Mohr, co-founder of the leadership search firm Y Scouts. "Then, people have no choice but to be themselves."

Brian Mohr's perspective on this "no job posting" policy is valuable. He spent a decade building up a job board called Jobing.com before directing the talent acquisition strategy at P.F. Chang's. He's watched firsthand as millions of resumes have been thrown at job postings.

"You can always find someone to do the job," Mohr says, referring to job postings, "but you want to find people who truly want to join an organization for the right reasons."

Y Scouts uses a thought provoking questionnaire to learn more about their leadership candidates. The questionnaire gives Y Scouts a good idea of the candidate, and gives the candidate a better idea about themselves. If Y Scouts has a leadership role the candidate may be a good fit for, their search consultants will reach out to learn more.

2. Value Add Talent Communities

Last year Zappos launched their "Inside Zappos" talent community. People don't apply for any jobs, but rather, join the Zappos community to "become an insider" within their area of expertise.

"Last year, Zappos received over 31,000 applications and hired less than 300 people," said Stacy Zapar, Social Recruiting Leader of Zappos in a HBR article.

Rather than leave 99% of the applicants with a negative experience and impression of Zappos, they've decided to build, cultivate and educate their own talent community. The result is that Zappos can seamlessly fill positions with an engaged, and most importantly – a culturally onboarded community.

"Instead of reviewing applications all day and sending countless sign-off emails," says Zapar in her blog post, "our recruiters are focusing on proactive sourcing, driving people to join our Insider program, having two-way conversations, meeting people, networking, chatting with Insiders, answering questions, engaging on social media, employer branding and proactive pipelining so that we know EXACTLY who we want to interview once a position becomes available. It's old-school recruiting, made new and fresh again."

3. Make Cultural Alignment The Top Priority

How do you hire for cultural alignment? TruPath, a search firm that helps established organizations find culturally aligned talent, says it's all about the process and priorities.

"Most organizations when they go to hire someone start with their professional skills, evaluate their behaviors, and then evaluate whether the candidate fits with the culture," says Max Hansen, CEO of TruPath. "We do the opposite when undertaking a search for clients. We first determine whether a candidate fits with culture, then we evaluate behaviors, and if they pass those two tests, we double check their professional skills."

Much has been said about cultural alignment. There's hundreds of tools out there to help measure for alignment - behavioral tests, big data matches, and more - but the biggest fundamental shift that organizations need to take in this area is putting culture at the forefront of their hiring process.

4. Advertise For Relevant Keywords

Are there unique words or phrases that are highly relevant to your culture?

For Keyser, a tenant advisory commercial real estate firm in Scottsdale, those two words are "selfless service."

"Joining Keyser is not for the faint of heart…it is only for the best and brightest that are willing to give their lives to service and living by our core principles," says Jonathan Keyser, Founding Member of a tenant advisory commercial real estate firm in Scottsdale.

Keyser prioritizes cultural alignment over the real estate experience of an applicant. Their prime concern is ensuring potential employees (or members, as Keyser calls them) are willing to commit their lives to service.

Why? Because their mission is to change the world through selfless service. Visit the Keyser website and you'll see each team member has an individual page devoted to them, with a section about their commitment to service.

In short, they're obsessed with selfless service. So, in order to attract the right people - clients or candidates - they advertise for the phrase "selfless service" on Google.

This puts their brand in front of people who are searching for a unique phrase, and puts their company on their radar.

(Note: you want to try this strategy out, Google offers first time advertisers $75 in ad credit after you spend your first $25.)

5. Referrals

Assuming you've defined your principles and values, committed to your culture, and built an amazing organization - the best hires will come from referrals.

Referrals aren't just limited to the people who work at your organization. Opening up the opportunity for more people to make referrals can increase your chances of finding culturally aligned talent. This includes offering referral opportunities to people interested in seeing your company succeed: clients, former employees and other stakeholders.

For internal referrals, approach it like a marketing campaign. Have a strategy and identify your influencers, like your managers, recruiters and the all star team members you wish you could clone. All of these groups are well connected and should be encouraged to refer outside of their expertise (i.e. - marketing people shouldn't just refer on marketing opportunities, they should be encouraged to refer their network for accounting roles too).

Building up this referral program requires effort and encouragement. But, with communication as easy as it is today, most employee referral actions are as simple as shooting off a text or copy and pasting a status update to a Linkedin profile.

Make sure to keep employees in the know and offer feedback on referrals. Their involvement is crucial to the success of the strategy, and allowing them to measure their effectiveness is what will keep them motivated.


We're not saying to eliminate resumes, or to toss them aside. It's just that it's 2015, and we've got a lot more tools at our disposal that give us a better strategy to attract the right people.

You now have five ways to go beyond the resume in 2015. Where will you try to innovative and what will you implement this year? 



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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