Here’s a riddle for you: What fits onto an 8.5” x 11” piece of paper, is predictably formatted and provides almost no detail about the person it represents? It’s your resume, and it is the most discriminatory part of the hiring process today.
Hopefully, at this point in your job search, you know that you are much more than the list of qualifications that you’ve included on your resume. So you are probably wondering why this piece of paper is the only thing that potential employers are asking for when you apply to open positions – and why you may not be getting a call back despite being qualified for a particular job.
The reality is that hiring managers receive hundreds of paper resumes in response to each job they post online. To sort through the “noise,” they need to make some split-second decisions to help them filter out the sheer number of candidates. These decisions are usually based on:
Did you attend a fancy private college or state university? Often the more prestigious school will win, regardless of your awesome GPA or relevant extracurricular activities;
Millenials and older workers suffer the most from age discrimination, so if you include a date of graduation with your resume it may turn off potential employers;
A recent study suggests that if you have a “white-sounding” name, you may be more likely to be called in for an interview (Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal?); and
Gaps in Employment:
If you took a year off to travel, or have other gaps in your resume, a hiring manager may pass you over for someone who has remained consistently in the workforce.
However unintended, hiring managers are discriminating against you before they even let you through
the door; and yet, some hiring managers are so concerned about the issue of discrimination that they won’t even allow you to attach a photo to your LinkedIn account for fear of filtering you out of the process based on your looks.
The fact is that discrimination exists everywhere, especially when hiring managers rely on a job seeker’s paper resume to speak for you. The only way to get around this is to introduce multimedia into the application process. Allowing job seekers to speak for themselves in a video introduction to be attached to their resume, for example, may help to curb prejudice against job seekers like “Lashika.” Lashika may be the best candidate for an open position when a hiring manager speaks with her in person, but she may not be called in for that initial interview because of her ethnic sounding name. Discrimination, plain and simple.
Multimedia applications are still a relatively new concept and the level of education and understanding from both hiring managers and job seekers is still pretty low. Let’s face it, you probably have no idea what you would say in a video introduction to be attached to your resume; and honestly, employers don’t really have a clear idea how to review a multimedia resume to find the best candidate for a job. But, we need to learn together; because, as technology progresses and hiring managers continue to be bombarded with paper resumes, the burden will increasingly fall on job seekers to differentiate themselves by incorporating dynamic content into their applications.
By finding ways to do this now, when the technology and adoption are still in early stages, you are helping hiring managers to judge you on your own merit – and not some arbitrary filters like where you went to school or how long it took you to backpack through Europe.
Integrating video and audio into a job application provides all of us with an equal opportunity to be seen and heard by an employer. It is the only way that we can make a dynamic and lasting first impression in the job search – making the hiring process faster, more equitable and less discriminatory.
Volume 1 Issue 12