The Death of the Paper Resume

When IT company Enterasys decided to hire a social media marketer, one thing stuck out in its job posting: no paper resumes accepted. The application requirements said qualified candidates will be identified using social influence metrics on Klout, Kred and Twitter. Using the hashtag #SocialCV, a marketing professional could apply for the position.

Enterasys develops, manufactures and delivers enterprise networking products in a business-to-business space. The Boston-based company employs approximately 1,000 people and serves clients at universities, banks and hospitals.

“The paper resume is dying,” said Vala Afshar, Enterasys’ chief marketing officer and chief customer officer. “And in the near future talent acquisition will use the Web for an applicant’s CV and social networks as mass references.” Afshar, who also co-authored The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence, isn’t responsible for acquiring talent solely in the marketing department; he’s involved in many integral aspects of the 30-year-old operation.

“If you’re not a social employer, you’re irrelevant over time,” he said. “I don’t have a resume, but I’m highly active. I believe that the very best talent, they are too busy changing the world, they’re not actively looking for work, but they are active on social networks.”

The hiring campaign was launched after Afshar said he found himself spending more time searching for a candidate on the Web than staring at a candidate’s paper resume. To be even considered for Enterasys’ social marketing position, an applicant must have a minimum of 1,000 Twitter followers. Also required to land an interview is a minimum Klout score of 60 and a minimum Kred influence score of 725.

Afshar said there’s going to be a lag until engineering, human resources, finance and other “back office” functions will require an applicant to have a social presence, but he warns that day will come. “I’m certain that we are going to find exceptional talent and whether it was the process or not, I’ll let other people judge. I’m just looking to bring a talented person into the company,” he said.

The use of social media is considered fair game for talent acquisition; a digital footprint can benefit both job candidates and recruiters. However, this hiring practice might also provide false positives.

Dino Baskovic, a digital strategist in Detroit and adjunct professor of technical and professional communication at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Mich., said it’s important to keep quantity versus quality in mind when looking at these numbers because one’s social profile isn’t the only place to network. Baskovic said Klout, Kred and Twitter followers are good early indicators, and give a manager or recruiter a sense of one’s ability to navigate the space. “It gives me an initial sense that this person more than likely has the competency I want for a social media position, but having said that, it’s an indicator, not the ‘be all, end all’ indicator.

“I’m a big believer in professional recruiters; they live and breathe this stuff every day. They know how to vet candidates more so than hiring managers would and they are going to know a lot of things about one’s background that a typical hiring manager may not,” Baskovic said.

He warns that while a candidate may have a wonderful blog and an abundant supply of followers, the candidate may be just a couple years out of college, or have no experience working within the organization’s industry. This is where a professional recruiter, he adds, can help a hiring manager employ the right prospect.

“I think it’s interesting to see that there’s a willingness to take what was formerly a very private and very trusted infrastructure that’s talent acquisition and shed a little more light on it,” Baskovic said. “We need to tread very carefully there because it’s untested and the waters are so uncharted, and I’d hate for a candidate or a company to get into trouble, inadvertently, over seemingly innocent online discourse.”