Are job application resumes obsolete?

The most in-demand skills of today are more specialised. (rawpixel.com pic)

A recent article in the Financial Times signalled the end of education-based recruiting as we know it.

Hiring managers and recruiters have traditionally looked to a candidate’s GPA and the reputational background of their university or degree when making a hiring decision.

But too often these metrics are subjective and make it difficult to compare two candidates. Who’s to say whether a 3.8 GPA at Harvard is truly worse than a 3.9 GPA at Yale?

Either way, the GPA tells recruiters very little about your ability to complete the job requirements. GPA is an average of your scholastic achievement.

By definition, an average says very little and, more critically, doesn’t answer the pivotal business question: “Can this person do this work or perform that task successfully?’”.

A list of degrees and qualifications actually offers very little information to help recruiters make the right hiring decision.

More and more talent acquisition specialists are starting to realize this and are adjusting their recruitment strategy accordingly.

The problem: Using education as a predictor of performance

Historically, the reputation of your educational institution counts in your favour as recruiters seek to compare the qualifications of entry-level candidates. But the job market has changed as the most in-demand skills of today are more specialised.

LinkedIn analysed hundreds of thousands of job postings to determine the top skills employers are seeking in 2019.

Both hard and soft skills are equally valued by most companies, with the following 10 skills being the most commonly sought:

  • Cloud computing
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Analytical reasoning
  • People management
  • User experience design
  • Creativity
  • Persuasion
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Time management

While some university courses do offer some of these skills – cloud computing and artificial intelligence, for instance – educational institutions are slow to adapt to the changing needs of the job market.

Hackerrank points out the skills gap that recent university computer science graduates face. In 2018, JavaScript was the most well-known and popular coding language.

But student developers aren’t learning JavaScript because it simply isn’t offered at most computer science programs.

Today’s recruiters look for both hard and soft skills. (rawpixel.com pic)

Even when a student graduates with top marks, companies are finding an obvious skill gap between academic performance and real-world experience.

Graduates with no previous work experience are unlikely to be successful, irrespective of their academic achievements or the university they attended, according to High Fliers Research.

How is recruiting evolving?

If educational reputation or grades are not a good predictor of on-the-job success, what can recruiters do to improve how they screen candidates?

Google, Apple, and IBM are just a few top companies that no longer require applicants to have a college degree.

Instead, companies are turning to skill tests to help evaluate each applicant in the hiring process.

Coding challenges, mock sales calls submitted via one-way video interview, and immersive task-related scenarios all provide an accurate assessment of how well a candidate can perform the requirements of the job.

  • Over 80% of companies use a skills assessment that is uniquely tailored to their requirements.
  • Over 50% of companies want to test soft skills, not personality.
  • More than 90% of candidates prefer to be given an opportunity to prove their skills rather than be judged on their résumé.

Vervoe’s platform is 83% accurate in predicting top performers across all job types, no matter what your industry.

The job market is turning to skill tests to ensure that new hires are set up to succeed. It’s time for recruiters to reframe the way they look at a candidate’s background.

Trends in recruiting: Super skills and micro-skills

There must be a shift in how recruiters think about a candidate’s qualifications. Instead of considering grades and degrees, micro-skills and super skills should be at the forefront of the hiring process.

Super skills are defined as the components that make up your unique “operating system”. Things like critical thinking, creativity, coach-ability, leadership, and problem-solving qualify as super skills.

Micro-skills, on the other hand, are the “apps” that you “run” on your unique super skills “operating system.”

These are things you can do really well or learn to do, given your unique super skills footprint. Micro-skills are things like graphic design, project management, QA testing, cold calling, or software development.

While super skills and micro-skills might feel abstract, there are some key benefits to framing a candidate evaluation through this lens.

First and foremost, super skills and micro-skills are above bias: they transcend race, gender, age, and socioeconomics.

No matter where you went to school or how well you performed in class, every individual has a unique set of super skills and micro-skills.

Assessments designed to evaluate these two skill categories can overcome human bias inherent in resumes and interviews.

Every applicant who goes through a talent trial has an equal chance to show their ability, regardless of what their resume says.

This article first appeared in vervoe.com.

At Vervoe, our mission is to fundamentally transform the hiring process from mediocracy to meritocracy.