After decades of adoration, the strange supreme being known as the curriculum vitae or résumé is losing its faithful congregation. Recruiters, students and jobseekers are increasingly turning to other methods of choosing candidates. Time to throw out the cold and impersonal CV! The recruitment revolution is here, based on a guiding principle – open innovation.
It’s thought that the curriculum vitae was invented by Leonardo de Vinci in 1482. But according to RezScore, it only became an essential part of a job application from 1930. Starting out as a summary, over the decades, the typical CV has featured all sorts of surprising information, such as its author’s height, weight, religion and marital status. It finally rose to become an essential tool that’s used by most recruiters to find talented new employees.
But despite the CV’s popularity, it now seems completely unsuited to today’s world. How can applicants sum up all of their skills, experiences and personality traits in one or two pages? How can employers get a real measure of an applicant’s talent, creativity and appeal simply by reading a few carefully chosen words? Sorry, Leonardo, but in our times, the CV is more of a praise-filled marketing brochure than a real insight into a candidate’s profile.
Of course, the CV is rarely the only step in the recruitment process. After wading through hundreds of profiles, recruiters invite a few lucky people to meet them in person. Then, after one or two interviews (or five or six in some worrying cases) and a lot of time invested on both sides, just one or two candidates are chosen.
It’s an unfortunate fact that the combination of CV + interviews has a big impact on recruitment. Last September, we asked 248 people about the impact that recruitment processes have on employer brands. Over half of respondents said they viewed companies negatively if they had more than three rounds of interviews for a job – and 38% considered it a sign of a lack of trust between employees. Nothing could give a worse impression about a future employer!
Only people with certain types of profiles are able to stand out at interviews, which can eventually result in the workplace being filled with astoundingly similar teams. But doesn’t the ideal team include members with complementary skills? Especially given that most dysfunctional teams are formed of people with incompatible psychological profiles. Add weak leadership into the mix and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a crisis.
Strong teams focus on the differences between their members. But it’s hard for recruiters to make enlightened choices – according to a University of Minnesota study, between 85% and 97% of professionals trust their intuition or their overall impression when assessing candidates rather than trusting in objective criteria. The researchers warn that the problem is that it’s easy for individuals’ perception to be affected by minor elements. It means that people can sometimes miss out on real gems!
The main strength of open innovation challenges is that they put participants in situations requiring teamwork, revealing their soft skills (interpersonal skills and character traits). When these challenges take place over a long period of time (such as with online challenges), the organizing company gets an even more representative picture of the candidates. A mistake that recruiters often make is to hire candidates based only on their hard skills (technical skills), and are then forced to sort out the problems caused by a lack of soft skills. That’s why several MBA programmes around the world view soft skills as extremely important.
Given that an unsuitable candidate will compromise the company’s performance and that replacing them will mean another expensive recruitment process, it’s best to invest in an effective way of choosing candidates from the outset. We’ve said it before in a previous article, but we’ll say it again – the most powerful algorithm in the world is incapable of measuring a candidate’s interpersonal skills. Creativity, empathy, communication and team spirit can only be assessed by observing them in action. By seeing participants in a challenge develop throughout the process, recruiters can closely target candidates who have a lot of potential. They can even recruit entire teams formed during the challenge, importing them whole into the company. Lastly, at the challenge final, participants have the chance to meet a number of employees who work for the organizing company. The ideal opportunity to get existing employees involved in the selection process!
Since 1991, a number of web services have emerged, offering an alternative to the traditional recruitment process. The CareerBuilders, Indeeds and LinkedIns of this world appeared in quick succession in the space of a few years. But most of them simply offered a platform where people could upload their CVs and view job vacancies. The revolution was still a long way off, and there were still shortcomings.
Then, in early 2010, a concept truly took off – open innovation. At that moment, companies’ digital transformation affected the way human resources were managed, from recruitment to managing working hours. In this context of change (where we still find ourselves today), recruiters have had to adapt and innovate – they have had to fill new posts (tech, IT, web development) from candidates who know little or nothing about their company.
The principle behind open innovation is relatively simple. It means using employees from within the company or external innovators to source new ideas and boost creativity. Involving new people in the innovation process results in out-of-the-box solutions with real benefits.
What’s the link between open innovation and recruitment? By opening up its processes to students, the organizing company provides them with an insight into its internal culture and values. What’s more, it’s a chance to see potential candidates in action – their technical skills, their interpersonal intelligence and their ability to communicate. Finally, the company is able to target the participants that complement its existing teams.
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For six years, Decathlon has been recruiting the best creative students by organizing challenges, avoiding the usual combination of CVs and interviews. A veteran supporter of events that focus on students’ work, the company has been organizing the ‘Les Coéquipiers’ business game for six years. In an interview with Focus RH, a Decathlon spokesperson explained the idea: “We wanted to give all of these budding talents a taste of what it’s like at Decathlon, to immerse them in it so they could discover our passion for sport and for our customers in an authentic way.”
For the sixth challenge, participants had to create or improve a product to revolutionize the way sport is played. The challenge the year before was to find the ideal solution to make employees and customers alike want to become true brand ambassadors.
Decathlon isn’t the only company to adopt this strategy. For example, as reported in French newspaper Le Parisien, Danone has hired 370 students in six years as a result of its business games. L’Oréal (200 positions and internships filled in a single challenge) and Bouygues (40-50% of participants integrated into the company) have also found success through open innovation. And even when the experience doesn’t lead directly to a job offer for participants, they still get excellent visibility within the organizing company.
After all, attraction works both ways – everyone wants to hire the best students, but business positions are limited. At the end of the day, a company’s employer brand is likely to play a fundamental role in a candidate’s choice. And that’s where open innovation challenges come into their own – they show that the employer is open to creativity and favours a collaborative approach.
The days when the CV reigned supreme are behind us. And we’ve got open innovation to thank. But the battle’s not over yet.
The first change came with the switch from traditional to online recruitment. In today’s world, according to IBM figures, 74% of high-potential employees use their mobile when looking for a job – and 69% look more favourably on organizations that use mobile recruitment. But the second step in the digital transformation of recruitment is a lot more far-reaching – its aim is to revolutionize the process from start to finish.
Revolutions always clash with deep-seated attitudes. The American inventor Edwin Herbert Land once summed up innovation: “It’s not that we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas”. But once a company has gone through the period of change, the benefits are unbelievable.
So free yourself from the chains of the CV and choose open innovation!
Agorize comes from “Agora” and “Rise” and empowers companies and people from all over the world through Open innovation Challenges.
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