CategoriesJake's Take

Jake’s Take: Improve the Economy by Ditching the Resume

There was a time in Baltimore when meaningful employment didn’t require a resume. Workers at Sparrow’s Point, London Fog or Baltimore Assembly could raise families based on competency in the skills required to do their jobs.

While these manufacturing jobs may be gone, we need to keep alive the idea that skills and a demonstrated ability to perform targeted tasks are more important than resumes in determining whom to hire. Adapt this mindset from blue collar to white collar work, and we open a world of employment possibilities to job seekers and an entirely new talent pool for employers.

Resumes persist despite overwhelming evidence they are poor predictors of future job performance. Studies have shown that a person’s job history and education don’t correlate to the ability to perform necessary tasks. In many cases, resumes reinforce unconscious bias and managers hire those with similar backgrounds. This perpetuates workplace diversity issues where qualified female and minority candidates are underrepresented in many fields.

So why do we still use resumes? Until now, they’ve been a convenient way to organize and evaluate potential hires. But, with the emergence of advanced analytics capabilities, companies can now use big data models to hire employees who will succeed in their positions, not just ones that look good on paper.

Here’s how it works. A company selects criteria that are critical for success in a particular position. It then evaluates current and historical employee data to determine what represents a “great employee” who excels at these most important job functions, and the skills and characteristics they possess. These skills and characteristics are then used to create a hiring assessment that helps determine which applicants will succeed in similar roles.

This process becomes a self-perpetuating and self-improving feedback loop. The more people hired using the assessment, the more data you get about their job performance, the better you can fine-tune the assessment and increase the quality of new hires.

Employers can eliminate the time-consuming, expensive and inaccurate process of sorting through resumes. They can now assess and benchmark applicants against the specific skillsets and attributes they know will lead to job success. You spend less to hire better workers and reduce long-term costs associated with remedial training or job turnover.

For employees, this analytical hiring method is one step closer to making employment what it always should be: a full meritocracy.

Job seekers are always evaluated by whether they will succeed in a position. But that evaluation is now based on objective data, not subjective analysis. Those who can do the work are more likely to be hired, regardless of their age, sex, race, economic class, job history, alumni connections or formal education background.

Analytic hiring levels the playing field. It allows people with qualified ability to compete on equal footing. Populations who made up the backbone of blue collar manufacturing jobs, many of whom lack the formal education or traditional work experience that resumes highlight, can now put their innate abilities to work in fields that once seemed unattainable.

This presents huge economic possibilities for Baltimore, Scranton, Detroit and many other Rust Belt cities we heard so much about during the recent election. Regardless of if or when manufacturing jobs return, we can put skilled people back to work now.

We can put them to work in positions that are geared to a more modern, technology-driven economy. This is important given the lack of current “qualified” applicants for these positions.

The White House estimates that there are over half a million unfilled IT jobs. The Department of Labor stated that universities are not likely to produce enough qualified graduates to fill even 30 percent of the 1.4 million computer specialist jobs by 2020. Without finding a new talent pool for these positions, the United States risks losing its global technology and innovation advantage.

Through analytic hiring, we’ve discovered top tech talent from many “non-traditional” sources. These employees do great work every day developing innovative software for our clients. We will continue to hire this way as we believe it improves our business, Baltimore’s economy and helps move our nation closer to one of its founding principles, that all men are created equal.

– Jacob Hsu, Catalyte CEO

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