2016-10-11 stackoverflow logo on HRExaminer.com article by John Sumser about Stackoverflow Developer Stories

Today, StackOverflow, the developers’ online watercooler, launched Developer Story, its attempt to expand the narrative in developer resumes.

Today, StackOverflow, the developers’ online watercooler, launched Developer Story, its attempt to expand the narrative in developer resumes. “This new feature is aimed at helping programmers and employers move beyond the traditional resume by giving developers the freedom to highlight the accomplishments most important to them and helping hiring managers think differently about how to evaluate and identify the best developer candidates.” The new functionality, which allows users to add blocks of code, videos, blog posts and more to their CV, bears a distinct similarity to other enhanced resume offerings over the years.

They’ve mostly failed.

With the exception of LinkedIn’s capacity to carry articles, papers, links and presentations, the various experiments in resume expansion all faded with a whimper. The problem is largely a matter of recruiter workload rather than the desirability of the solution. The resume is a singularly constricting form of exposition. Its limits (one page is better than two and so on) favor rapid review (6 seconds max) by recruiters in the first cut process.

The conventional wisdom is that one uses a resume to get an interview and then uses the interview to get the job.

It would be great if there was a format that delivered professional credentialing information in a timed release format. That way, the recruiter and hiring manager could get access to the information they needed when they needed it.  I’m afraid that a tool that encourages lengthy and deep disclosures will simply raise job hunter expectations while actually increasing the likelihood that they will be ignored because their tool offers too much information.

It’s one of the core conundrums of the ‘candidate experience’ issue. Job hunters want to be heard and often feel that they aren’t. Recruiters want to listen but can only absorb so much at a given point in the process. Great front end recruiting is asking for even less than a resume (little bits of connection info and an indication of interest). Great candidate advocacy usually looks like StackOverflow’s new tool: Enough info to satisfy the candidate while drowning the recruiter.

It would be nice to see the emergence of tools that can automate the process of progressive disclosure. Instead, it looks like the focus on humanizing hiring results in more work, more data and less communication. It’s hard to imagine the recuiter who is begging for more information earlier in the process.

The early stages of recruiting require relatively standardized information. The process of sorting 1,000 possible people into a pile of 100 probable people that then gets sorted into a list of 10 likely suspects needs a quick way to be an apples to apples comparison. More data at this stage slows it down.

Once the list is narrowed, more information helps differentiate. And, once the list is down to two or three, extensive insight makes the difference. But, the most likely result of a resume with too much disclosed too soon is that it will be overlooked, ignored or outright rejected.

It’s important to remember that the limits of a recruiter’s ability to see are the limits of the tool he is using to compare all of the applicants in her pile. Whether it is an ATS or a spreadsheet, the real format limitation is the tool that handles the resume. It may well be that some very specialized recruiters in boutique search firms want to see examples of code upfront. The approach is decreasingly effective as a function of the size of the recruiting operation. The bigger the operation, the less likely an embellished resume will work.

It would be great to be wrong about this. The resume is broken. The job hunting/recruiting process is often limited to vague insight as a result. The problem should be fixed. DeveloperStory doesn’t seem like the answer.




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