Is chat screening replacing resumes?

Mayra Eliana Arcusin

Mayra Eliana Arcusin · Aug 27

Resumes are an important tool in the recruiting process. They synthesize candidates’ career paths, highlighting their level of education, skills, and work experiences in just 1 or 2 pages, and are used by HR recruiters to evaluate and shortlist candidate applications.

However, for some roles and in many contexts, resumes have some limitations, which makes us wonder whether they are still relevant in the job market nowadays.

Firstly, resumes don’t necessarily show candidates’ interests, skills, or real motivations behind a job search, which sometimes can be more important than previous job titles or their highest degree.

Also, they tend to be outdated or incomplete. As candidates need to spend a considerable amount of time to keep their resumes up to date, they sometimes fail or forget to include their most recent jobs or latest courses, or their new phone number. So recruiters may be shortlisting candidates based on outdated information, which isn’t ideal.

Most recruiters find the task of screening resumes very tedious and time-consuming.

Recruiters waste hours per week reaching out to candidates, sometimes to only find out that the email or phone number mentioned is mistaken or unavailable. And when they do reach candidates, they first need to validate certain information that wasn’t in the resume or was unclear, before moving on to what they wanted to evaluate in that exchange.

On top of that, going through hundreds or thousands of resumes is physically impossible for them, so a large number of candidates are usually left out of consideration. This likely means good candidates may be discarded before the get-go, a situation that hurts the recruitment process and is also unfair to applicants.

To solve these problems and evaluate candidates in a more efficient way, many companies are turning towards a new way of screening candidates:

Chat screening

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With this method backed by AI technology, candidates can chat in real-time from their phones on the most common channel nowadays: texting apps. Immediately after showing interest in a job posting, they start to chat on WhatsApp, Messenger, or SMS, at any time and from anywhere: on public transport on their way to college or work, or even at 2 am on a Saturday.

Through dynamic and natural conversations, in only a few minutes candidates can explain in detail their past work experiences, the tasks they performed, what they enjoyed the most, or what soft skills they developed in those jobs. They can also ask questions about the company or role they’re applying to, and get updated about their application status in an instant. And, by doing all these in writing or through voice messages, candidates are more confident and open, performing better.

For recruiters and companies, this practice has many advantages:

With chat screening, companies can evaluate 100% of received applications and do so objectively, leaving aside the natural human bias. So all candidates get to be evaluated, and those who rank higher will move forward in the process, regardless if they applied at the last minute!

Another benefit is that recruiters no longer have to spend hours of their days reviewing an endless pile of resumes, they can finally forget about that tedious task. Candidates are screened the moment they apply to a job, and those who match the role’s requirements can be invited to an interview the very next day! So companies’ time-to-hire reduces significantly and recruiters’ tasks become more strategic.

Not to mention that during this conversation candidates are most likely to provide their current contact details and their preferred contact means, so they’ll be more predisposed to answer notifications, making it easier for recruiters to reach them. And, as the role’s basic requirements have already been evaluated with the help of technology, these interviews can focus only on deep-diving on specific points, being more valuable and effective for recruiters!

Chat screening done right can help companies attract and engage with candidates. But not investing in smart technology with complex natural language understanding, will damage the candidates’ experience!

All in all, resumes are still useful in many circumstances and for specific roles, like management roles, which require a lot of experience or seniority in certain fields, and where recruiters need to thoroughly understand candidates’ career paths and expertise at first glance to shortlist applicants.

But in other contexts, for example operational roles like cashiers, drivers, or warehouse operators, resumes don’t necessarily serve their purpose. Criteria to be assessed at the beginning of their recruiting processes can include understanding candidates’ time availability — a piece of information not often covered in resumes. In such cases, adopting chat as a means to screen candidates would be a better plan, and is more likely to succeed.

For this kind of roles, resumes are indeed becoming obsolete, giving way to AI-powered screening: a recruiting tool that has proved to increase recruiters’ efficiency while also improving candidates' experience.

Want to know more? You can contact May at may@emilabs.ai

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