This part of your process hasn’t changed in over 50 years… why?

When you look at your hiring process, are there any elements that are there “because that’s just how we’ve always done it”?

That’s not a great reason…

Thomas Midgley Jr. invented leaded gasoline (he also invented chlorofluorocarbons or “CFCs”) in 1921. We added lead to gasoline because it was an “antiknock agent” which improved the efficiency of vehicles and the performance of the engine. In short, it turned clunky engines into smoothly running engines. Hoorah, right?

Well it turns out lead is a toxic pollutant, particularly for children, and it was polluting the air in towns and cities across the world. Even with concerns about its use, we continued using leaded gasoline for decades. The first clinical studies proved it had toxic impacts on humans in 1969, but it wasn’t until 1986 when the first country, Japan, banned it completely. Then the U.S. banned it ten years later in 1996, and Algeria became the last country to ban leaded gasoline in 2021.

Résumés were in full swing in the 1970s as well, just as they are today. Studies have been out for decades about how biased names and résumés are in the screening process, and yet we still use them. You simply need to do a quick Google search to find that screening applicants by reviewing résumés one-by-one is usually the biggest consumer of time for a recruiter. I would argue that reviewing résumés is also the most ineffective way to screen applicants. And just check out social media if you want to see what applicants think about submitting résumés into an ATS in 2023. So the data is there…using résumés to screen applicants is a 50-year old (actually even older than that) process that arguably sucks worse today than it did 50 years ago.

I think we can all agree that getting rid of leaded gasoline was a good idea, and certainly should have been done much earlier in most countries. I also hope we can all agree that getting rid of résumés in the screening process is a FANTASTIC idea. The question is, when it comes to résumés, are you going to be Japan or Algeria?