Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Resumes


Although I think that the discussion here is a little exaggerated (some businesses have asked me to help recruit graduates without feeling the need for such things as a position description, selection criteria and pay rates…), clearly some innovative businesses are exploring new ways of signalling their style to attract the right candidates…


that the discussion of the

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 Deloitte, Accenture 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?

Sylvia Pennington

June 6, 2012

Graeme Anthony video CV received 300,000 hits and was internationally lauded as an example of innovative use of social media.Graeme Anthony’s video CV received 300,000 hits and was internationally lauded as an example of innovative use of social media.

If your resume hasn’t seen daylight this decade, what chance do you have in the digitally enhanced world of job hunting?

Imagine having your pick of 50 jobs offers in a week, as multinational corporations vie for your services and wealthy investors offer to fund your own start-up.

It happened to British PR man Graeme Anthony after the Curriculum Vitae interactive video he posted on YouTube two years ago went viral.

Anthony’s CVIV received 300,000 hits in recession-racked London, brought the marketing and PR world banging at his door and was internationally lauded as an example of innovative use of social media.

But not everyone has a two-minute video in them, and if your resume hasn’t seen daylight this decade, chances are it’s a two-page Word document that begins with your vital stats and ends with a couple of former bosses prepared to give you a good rap.

But to stand a chance in today’s tight job market, do you need to go to the same digitally enhanced lengths as Anthony to find one?

Can three sheets of A4 still cut the mustard when the bright young things you’re up against are starring in their own clips, listing their above and below-the-line achievements in infographic resumes and receiving glowing strings of references on LinkedIn?

According to Anthony, the answer depends on which industry you’re in, or trying to be in.

‘The CVIV was essentially a publicity stunt for myself and it worked because that’s my line of business,” he said.

“I very much doubt that this tactic would resonate within the corporate industry, who are a very regimented sector. They have strict protocols and procedures in place and I don’t think the CVIV fits within that culture.”

That doesn’t mean the social media revolution hasn’t shaken things up for job seekers in the traditional professions in other ways though.

While their on-camera skills may not be called into play, white collars eschew social media at their peril if they’re looking for a new post, said Kym Quick, CEO of Clarius Group, one of the country’s largest recruitment groups.

Traditional resumes listing skills and experience are still a key part of the job seeking process but the way they’re communicated and presented has changed.

Quick says LinkedIn has become the first port of call for recruiters shortlisting a position. It’s also the perfect tool to let headhunters know who you are if you’re only passively searching.

The business networking site lists CV-style profiles for 161 million professionals worldwide, including three million Australians.

“I was recently recruiting for an internal position and I checked all the candidates’ profiles on LinkedIn,” Quick said. “I wouldn’t have not interviewed someone who wasn’t up there – but it does help give a sense of who they are.”

But candidates who are dispensing with cover letters altogether in favour of sending a page with a link to their LinkedIn profile are making a big mistake, she said, especially those seeking senior positions.

Some online employment sites such as are also allowing job seekers to create a permanent profile on the site detailing their experience, career aspirations and contact details. Profiles can only be accessed by employers and recruiters advertising relevant positions in a matchmaking type venture that circumvents the need for an old style resume and has resulted in 150,000 placements since its launch in late 2010.

“It keeps working even when the jobseeker is not actively on the website looking for a job,” Seek marketing director Helen Souness said.

“There is definitely place for both [online and paper based resumes] but the trend is increasingly towards online. Furthermore electronic resumes can be easily shared amongst contacts and increase the chances of the jobseeker’s resume falling into the hands of the right employer.”

Career coach Sally-Anne Blanshard says most of the power of an online profile is in the references – and a good set can give you an edge over someone who doesn’t have any.

LinkedIn allows users to ask colleagues and associates to endorse them, with some well curated profiles boasting more than a dozen testimonials. Given that references need to be approved by the subject in question before being publicly posted to their profile, fulsome praise, rather than warts-and-all summation, tends to be the order of the day. Nevertheless they help tell a story, in a way that a name and phone number on a piece of paper just can’t, and give potential employers another reason to keep you in the running.

“It allows you to say, ‘here’s what my boss thinks of me’, versus the competitor with no references,” Blanshard said. “You can tell more of a story on LinkedIn.”

A decent professional photograph doesn’t hurt either – along with a snappy headline that brands you and your services.

“It allows an employer to get a feel for who a person is,” career consultant Katie Roberts said.

“Some people don’t put a photo up and it’s to their detriment. If you have a 100 per cent complete profile with a photo you will be higher in the rankings and come to the top of searches more often.”

But while going all-out electronic may be inevitable if you’re to keep up with the rest of the job-hunting pack, taking a more retro approach might also help you stand out from a cyber-sea of smiling, well-credentialed competitors.

This involves sending an employer your resume in an envelope with a stamp on – and can be an effective way of ensuring your application floats to the top of the tidal wave of 150 electronic responses the average job ad attracts.

“Good old fashioned tools – the phone call, the letter and the CV in the mail – can still be the best,” Quick said.

“It may be the first letter they’ve had in years.”

Do and don’ts for job hunters:

1. If you’re going to create a LinkedIn profile, do it properly or not at all, Quick advises. Put in as much detail as possible about the roles and experience you’ve had. “A fuller profile means people will seek you out, not just people who already are in your circle and know you.”

2. Dead links are a dead end – and not a good look if you’re trying to impress a prospective employer. Check the ones you’ve included in your cover letter, electronic resume and online profiles are still current before uploading them or pressing the send button.

3. Be discreet. Don’t risk the job you already have by advertising to all and sundry on LinkedIn that you’re looking for another one.

4. Keep it professional. Business networking sites aren’t the place to alert the world to the fact that you love cats or have a personal blog about your macramé addiction.

Read more:

Recruiters’ Inferences of Applicant Personality Based on Resume Screening: Do Paper People have a Personality?

Journal of Business and Psychology, 24 (1), 2009 Volume 24, Number 1, March 2009

Michael S. Cole, Hubert S. Feild, William F. Giles and Stanley G. Harris
Published online: 28 November 2008

Abstract: Research shows recruiters infer dispositional characteristics from job applicants’ resumes and use these inferences in evaluating applicants’ employability. However, the reliability and validity of these inferences have not been empirically tested. Using data collected from 244 recruiters, we found low levels of estimated interrater reliability when they reviewed entry-level applicants’ resumes and made inferences regarding applicants’ personality traits. Moreover, when recruiters’ nferences of applicant personality were correlated with applicants’ actual Big Five personality scores, results indicated that recruiters’ inferences lacked validity, with the possible exceptions of extraversion and openness to experience. Finally, despite being largely unreliable and invalid, recruiters’ inferences of applicants’ extraversion, openness to experience, and conscientiousness predicted the recruiters’ subsequent employability assessments of the applicants.

Keywords Personnel selection, Resumes, Recruitment, Personality