Four ways to hire your next employee without ever looking at a resumé

Most resumés aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. To find the best people you have to get creative

Balled up paper resumé in the garbage.


Tired of scouring piles of job applications? We asked for your advice on recruiting and hiring without getting bogged down in a stack of resumés. Here are some better ways to find your next star employee.

Make candidates get creative

“Last year, I was hiring a business development person. Instead of asking for resumés, I put up a post asking people to ‘hustle’ their way in, because that’s what sales is: being resourceful, showing persistence, dealing with rejection. I got an application by singing telegram, a few taped to skateboards from people who knew that I skateboard to work, even one by courier when I was in the middle of a Utah camping trip from someone who figured out where I was from my Instagram and Twitter. That was my way of ascertaining whether candidates had what I was looking for.”

Harley Finkelstein, CPO, Shopify, Ottawa

MORE: Why Resumés Don’t Help You Find Talent »

Channel your inner high-schooler

“We hired our latest recruit by asking for essays on who the candidates were and why they wanted to work for us. The resulting submissions contained valuable insights into the candidates’ writing skills, thought processes, and communications and marketing skills. What we didn’t get were cookie-cutter resumés.”

Bill Stevens, via PROFITguide.com

Build your own linkedin

“We were often inundated with e-mails and resumés from unqualified people. So we decided to eliminate job postings and start something called Zappos Insider, a sort of social network. People interested in working for us can create a profile—they can attach a resumé or LinkedIn profile if they like, but they don’t have to—and opt to become an “Insider” for different departments. Our recruiters go in every day and review the profiles that have come in, and assign qualified Insiders to different positions—current or future—they might fit. This creates pipelines of qualified people interested in working for us, which we can easily turn to whenever we need someone in a position. It’s a much more proactive way to hire people. We’re getting a lot fewer candidates, but the quality is much higher.”

Rockne Henriques, recruiter, Zappos, Las Vegas

MORE: Why hiring the right employee is about to get even harder »

Seek people who aren’t even looking

“Often, great people might not be looking for a new position; they won’t necessarily be looking at job boards. So we launched a campaign this summer where we bought a ton of advertising and set up trucks in core areas in downtown Toronto to give people a taste of what life at Klick is like. We handed out free Starbucks coffee, because we have that in the office. We held Klick hours at local bars, in which we’d buy a drink in exchange for a business card. And our concierge service would bring dinner to anyone working late who tweeted to #KlickConcierge. Our goal was to spark some soul-searching among people who weren’t looking. We tripled our LinkedIn page views in the first week.”

Leerom Segal, CEO and co-founder, Klick Inc., Toronto

Got a challenge you’d like to run by your peers? Write to us at profit@profit.rogers.com. Next up: How companies can crack the Quebec market. Send us your best tricks and ideas.