Is it time for employers to revamp the way they find candidates?

America’s job market is structured so there are many more applicants per job listing. This is because jobs are advertised on multiple massive job networks like monster, linkedin, and indeed that deliver the postings to an unlimited number of people daily. A recent google search for “job search sites” yielded 547,000 results. The current system encourages quantity over quality- applicants can send out as many applications as they have time for, thus adding to the heap of resumes that employers and recruiters have to sort through.

How, as an employer, do you trim that pile down to a reasonable number?

Spend “six seconds” reviewing each resume. Sure, once we do that, we’ll bring them in for a 12 second interview.

I know, you can use a computer program that scans resumes to find key words, targeting the resumes that have the correct allotment of keywords. You may not find the right person, but at least you’ll find the best resume. I guess if you were looking for a resume writer, you may have found your perfect candidate.

Or maybe you write super-specific job requirements and require lots of experience in order to target the people who are lucky enough to have that perfect set of qualifications AND be looking for a job within commuting distance of your facility.

You can try to target people with tons of experience that have been doing the same job for many years. That’ll find the top performers, the ones that NEVER advance are the ones you want in your company.

You can target people who don’t mind exaggerating their skills to fit the description. Hey, at least you know they paid attention to your job description.

Maybe you give the task of finding candidates to a recruiter who knows just enough about what your company does to sift through candidates and hand you a reasonable list to look at. Why not trust someone you barely know to provide you with talent that may or may not help your company succeed?

Or you could just give up and hire one of your employee’s friends because we actually know the person. At least you’ll have someone else to blame if they turn out to be a dud.

I think we all know what makes a person a good employee. Is it the 10 years of experience? Is it those certifications that their last company paid for so you don’t have to?

For most jobs, pure qualifications or certifications or 10+ years of experience doesn’t make a great employee. What really counts is the character of the person, the way they think through problems and find the solutions you never thought of, the way they interact and mesh with their co-workers, the way they use the experience they gained doing work that was totally different with totally different people—it’s those kinds of immeasurable qualities that can’t be listed on a resume or written on a cover letter or scanned by an “applicant tracking system” that set the good employees apart from everyone else.

Maybe the old-fashioned search for intangible qualities in an employee has been buried under the growing piles of resumes…
Are the people at freelance websites like Upwork the only ones who have really figured out how to do a modern candidate search? Think about it- they encourage employers to pitch their specific problems and jobs and wait for specific solutions from real people- not some condensed form of a person on a resume that gets a 6 second glance or a trip through the computer system. This is a much better solution- by doing this, they can weed out the generic resumes and also hone in on candidates who can find solutions to their problems, not people who have “lots of experience and certifications.”

I think it’s time for big companies to set a new example and start listing their jobs like a freelance job board does. Put specific problems and needs down and have candidates “pitch them.” Then you’ll see real problem solving skills, marketing ability, industry knowledge, and insight–not some fake one page version of someone tailored to a vague job description. What do you think?