What the !@$ is a Présumé?

By December 1, 2011Announcements

I bet you’re thinking “oh no, another crappy made up business word”. Well, not so fast to make a judgement… I first saw this word on the SlideRocket blog – and I actually wish that I’d thought of it first, but sadly for me they’ve trade marked it already, it’s a really neat word that encapsulates a great idea. It’s their take on a Presentation / Resumé (now you get it!) which is becoming an increasingly popular way of standing out from the crowd in the jobs market.

I’ve had a look at their example présumés and they are very slick and cool, and tell me a whole load of interesting facts about the Job Applicant in lots of visually interesting ways. So, I have to agree, they are a great way of making your CV stand out from the crowd. But, when I look at one of these, all i get is an animated version of the CV, I get no sense of the person behind the CV. So, the bigger question is, do they make YOU stand out from the crowd?

If you think about the recruitment process (especially in a small firm), you filter candidates by their abilities and qualifications by looking at their résumés. You then interview the best of those so you can get a ‘feel’ for the person – where you make less logical decisions about them, and start to measure some of the intagibles such as ‘What is this person like? Will I like them or get on with them? Are they engaging? Do they have a spark about them? Will my clients like them?’ In other words, the interview is a bit of a personality test.

To me, this whole process is flawed. In simplified terms, not everyone who is good has a brilliant CV, and not everyone with a brilliant CV is good. So how many times are ideal candidates not making it to interview stage where they can really be judged, and how many times are unsuitable people getting interviewed on the basis of a strong CV? I’ll hold my hands up here and tell you that I haven’t applied for a job in 18 years, but if I had, my CV would not be the strongest. I’m not saying that I would be a strong candidate if I applied for a job, but I know my CV wouldn’t do me justice, so maybe this blog post is just sour grapes. I hope that’s not how it comes across, but I’m sure there are plenty of people in the world like me.

It’s not just small companies that have recruitment problems. Richard was telling me about a large blue chip client of his that has been looking inwards and asking itself ‘why are we full of white middle class men with the same backgrounds and qualifications?’. The conclusion they came to was quite simple, that’s who they’ve been recruiting for the last 30 years. Does this demographic reflect their clients? 30 years ago, the answer would have been yes, but today? Definitely not. Now, I’m not saying that they’ve had a policy of recruiting white middle class males, it’s just that the recruitment process has been looking for people with certain qualifications and what tends to filter out the bottom are white middle class men. So, it’s essentially the same problem as a small firm, how many great people wouldn’t even apply for a job with these firms because they don’t think they’re the type, or their CV wouldn’t get past the first hurdle?

So what’s the answer?

I think it’s time for a revolution in the way we recruit. It will be a brave recruitment company that takes on the mantle, and maybe an even braver client that engages them, but whoever does it first could find themselves a winner.

Imagine a world where you could make the judgement about a persons ability and their personality at the same time, and in under a minute. Believe it or not, it’s possible. We’ve started to see our own version of the Presume being produced on Present.Me, (the PresentuMe!?) but this time, you not only get the facts about the person, you get the person too. Have a look at these 2 short ‘me in a minute’ presentations by undergraduates looking for work:

There’s a chance that if you used this method to filter candidates for interview, you’d end up with a really diverse set of candidates, there’s no hiding behind ‘facts’ about yourself on a sheet of paper, they’re seeing the real you.

Would a short ‘talking head’ video do the same thing?

On a certain level, yes – it would enable you to assess someone’s personality, but it wouldn’t enable you to see / contextualise / validate any of the things they are talking about as there is no ‘proof’ next to them, and it would be much harder on the candidate to talk about themselves for a minute in a structured way without the presentation to guide them.

So, recruiters of the world, are you ready for the next level? I dare you to try it and see what happens….

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