Are Resumes Actually Useful?

Job applications are kind of the worst, right? Creating a resume is stressful, creating a cover letter is stressful, and battling self-defeating thoughts is stressful. Like, everything about the whole job-seeking process is stressful. But what would that process be like if submitting resumes was no longer required? New York Magazine's Science of Us blog recently made the case for why resumes might not be the best way to hire for a position. I know — my ears just perked up, too.

Science of Us' webseries, titled (perhaps unsurprisingly) The Science of Us, explores the "why" behind general human weirdness. One of their latest episodes, "Resumes Shmesumes," focuses on a topic dear to the hearts of every single recent graduate: hiring processes.

Though it often feels like you're sending your job application into the void, especially if you never receive any sort of response, I promise that on the other side of that "We're Hiring!" button is a real live human hiring manager, whose job it is to sift through hundreds of resumes.

As the video points out, here's the issue: Studies have shown that hiring managers can oftentimes be biased to certain cues on a resume, whether they realize it or not. Cues that are kind of, um, unavoidable — like your name and your education credentials.

Yep, research has shown that people with "white-sounding" names receive a higher number of callbacks for jobs, sometimes upwards of 30 to 40 percent, as opposed to applicants with "Black-sounding" names.

People with degrees from more prestigious-sounding institutions are also ushered in at a higher rate, regardless of whether their skill set and experience actually make them more qualified than their peers.

The Science of Us makes the argument that altering hiring processes to intentionally combat these tendencies would massively impact the diversity of offices. I have to agree. So how can we level the playing field of hiring practices? Here are two ideas from the video; scroll down to watch the whole thing.

Use Anonymous Identifiers

I have a feeling very few hiring managers would be willing to admit that they're swayed based on an applicant's moniker, but since name discrimination is a very real, very prevalent thing, automatically providing resumes with an anonymous ID number would prevent so much grief: Gender bias, racial bias, and much, much more.

Job Auditions

You know like how actors audition? Maybe it should be the same with office workers. Sure, there are certain jobs that are much easier to hop in and out of, but there's no question that the best way to find the most competent, well-rounded employee is to observe them in action. This practice may cut down on those applicants chosen exclusively for their Ivy League degrees, and may benefit people who are passed over because of gaps in their job history.

Check out the full video below:

Images: Fotolia; Giphy; New York Mag/YouTube (3)