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Profiles vs. Resumés
(October 21, 2004) Most job boards offer the candidate the option to store either a resume or a profile on the site to be searched by employers. Understanding the audience of your site will determine which of these is right for you.
The distinction is simple: a resume is a complex, freeform text document subject to its author's sense of format. The document may include a list of hard and soft skills, education, references, or achievements, or it may simply list dates and locations worked. All in all, the document is seldom standard, and generally highlights the candidate's strengths and achievements. A profile, on the other hand, can be culled by presenting a candidate with a series of multiple- choice checkboxes asking specific questions about hard skills and direct experience.
Both should, of course, be subject to equal skepticism.
Evaluating whether your service should be looking to collect the shallow view or the long view depends on a few simple factors. These are:
Need for automation (volume of candidates to process)
Depth (the importance of a candidate's personality as it relates to fit)
Standardization (need for quantifiable numbers, such as years of experience, and uniform categories, making candidates easier to sort)
Specialty (the degree to which a complex or refined position can be matched to a profile via a series of yes/no or multiple-choice questions)
It boils down to the difference between asking the candidate to take a standardized test or submit an essay. Although judgment of adequacy for a given position can be based on either, one relates more to a candidate's planning, writing, and presentation skills; the other gets more concrete definition of the candidate's core competencies and experience. A profile is faster for a candidate to complete and for HR to process; correctly implemented, a profiling system can considerably reduce cost-per-hire by saving time.