Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Show Me Your Skills: Why You Need to Ask for More Than Just a Resume

We've all encountered those words: "only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews." Recruiters achieve this by looking at resumes and cover letters (and potentially looking you up online), but isn't it a better idea to shortlist applicants based off their ability to work? Consider this, a lot of companies these days are changing the face of People and Culture, by asking for something a little more unique than just a resume. We've talked about it for a long time, we've promoted the trend of the creative resume. We've seen cakes publicly perform as applications. Still, it is a trend that a lot of companies are embracing and here are some reasons why. 
Make Them Use Your Product
Companies like Unbounce are clever in their recruiting tactics. They ask applicants to create a landing page application oppose to sending them a resume. In fact, they state on their Careers Page: "don't send us your resume, we'll just delete it." Landing pages are the hallmark of Unbounce's business.  This request works well because it not only adds a new user to their platform, and promotes the product of their company, but it also enables recruiters to see how good you are at experiencing, understanding and exercising their product. On the flip side, it helps them find points of improvement. Why wouldn't Unbounce want to hire the people who are skilled to express their product the best? They wouldn't, which is why it is actually a really valuable way of isolating the weak and qualified from each other. At the same time, Unbounce has to understand that not everybody is a graphic designer, and therefore alternative, creative applications or Job Fairs could serve as a beneficial supplementary idea. Not every position involves the ability to rock a landing page, and Unbounce should be optimistic that they can readily train their new employees to master their products. 
Make Them Go The Extra Mile 
I was recently asked to write, "why it is the job, and not just a job." People really want to know that you genuinely want to work for them beyond your desire to become employed. They want to know that they stood out to you for a reason that ranks above getting a steady pay cheque. Companies like Rise (who promise an HR revolution), are also promoting the use of Unbounce landing pages for their application process. They want to see more than a resume. They want you to go that extra mile. This is a great way to determine who really wants the job, and who is willing to put the effort in, but also who can do the job. 
Ensure That They Understand Your Market 
Startups like Kabuni really put applicants to the test. They want to ensure that you've got the skills for their market. Kabuni will go so far as to ask you to construct a 90-day business plan of how you will directly benefit their corporation by utilizing your skills. They want to see that you have something diverse to bring to the table, something that they currently lack, but still need.  Depending on the department you are applying for, they might ask you to complete a task pertaining to your desired role. Or they may ask you to create a couple of videos for them. Kabuni pushes you to educate yourself in the fields that they are most interested in exploring as a company. This easily could be a way for companies to get inspired by other people's ideas, but it is also a strategy to see who is willing to go that extra mile. Who really has something to offer that will increase productivity, brand awareness and lead generation. Someone who really has the ability to create material that companies like Kabuni want. They are looking to be "wowed" and they want to work with the very best. Companies want to see innovation. They might treat you like you are a top-contender, butter you up, and end up not hiring you, but in reality they are doing this to every applicant (with potential) in order to filter out the top talent for the job.  Not everyone uses this hiring tactic, but some people believe that they need to raise you up, in order for you to deliver your very best. 
Get A Sense Of Their Skills Before You Hire Them 
It doesn't have to be something big, but it could be something extra. If Recruiters at Footprint like what they see, they will send you a few questions to answer, which are important to their brand, but also help them get to know you and your working style. Additionally, your answers to these questions will shape whether or not you are suitable for the position. Seeing how you respond enables companies to decide if they want to move forward with you or not. This exercise challenges your skills, but also makes the applicant understand whether or not it is a good fit.
Companies like Simply speaks to this reality, as they ask shortlisted candidates for a writing assignment (pertaining to what they do) to see if applicants' skills speak to what they are looking for. Other Marketing agencies have done similar things, in asking applicants to take "copywriting tests" and personality tests. Companies will also present talent with a scenario in which they would like a sample solution for. This could be as simple as asking the contender to write a short sales email about a particular product. All of this helps the recruiters to see why you stand out and are right for the job. Asking applicants to show you examples of their work is essential towards acknowledging talent that isn't on a resume. Some people just aren't good at selling themselves, which is why you shouldn't base your hiring process merely off of one's experience outlined on a piece of paper. As impressive as it may be, hands-on skills should be tested in order to prove those 'resume-listed credentials' true.  
People may question why recruiters ask for more than just a resume. There are articles on the internet of people not getting the job, but having their work (produced in the interview stage) used by the company. This is certainly a gamble you take, however, when dealing with the right companies, which you trust, you shouldn't go in with this fear. Chances are recruiters liked what they saw on your resume, and now want to see if you can put it work. It's a "put your money where your mouth is" kind of approach. Your resume talks the talk, but can you walk the walk? Showing your skills should be a part of the hiring process because it will guarantee for better talent fits in the future. 

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