Resumes Go Way of the Dinosaur, Job Interviews Next

For an increasing number of companies, printed resumes are obsolete and the dreaded job interview may soon follow.

Remember eight-track tapes? Polyester leisure suits? Beer-can openers? The printed resume – long the standard way to apply for a white-collar job – may soon join those once-ubiquitous products in history’s dustbin.


In some cases, resumes have disappeared from the hiring process completely. Some employers don’t even want them in digitized format. They prefer customized online forms, tailor-made to cull the applicant field.

Some human-resource gurus suggest the personal interview could be next on the endangered-species list. John Sullivan, a management professor at San Francisco State University, says most interviews are as valuable as Ouija boards in measuring whether a person will be good on the job. Interviewers ask the wrong questions, and job candidates can lie, or simply not shine when on the job they’d do quite well, he says – all the better for online assessments. Companies – especially those that hire thousands of workers and have high turnover – are turning to a range of computer-based filters to pare down candidates to a manageable number.

While I understand the gains in efficiency for human resources departments in these moves, they may be self-defeating. I simply refuse to spend an hour filling out some online form that simply repackages my resume; my guess is that many other highly qualified applicants simply don’t bother, either. That may be a bonus if the company is looking for good cubicle drones; if they’re trying to find top-notch talent, however, they may be sending the signal “apply elsewhere.”

If I really want a job, I might well be willing to submit to an online personality profile assessment. Even then, however, I’m seldom willing to spend the time unless I’ve made it past some the first hurdle in the hiring process. It’s simply not worth the effort as part of the initial application process.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. The job being filled is going to determine if this makes sense. A CEO position is not going to be filled via the on line form. A cashier position might be filled via the on line form. The only question is how far up/down do you look at the resume vs an on line form.

    Now could there be an opportunity for “monster dot com” having a standard set of on line forms/personality assessment (so you don’t have to fill it out for every employer).

  2. talboito says:

    I’ve used one of these systems and they have some capability of parsing an uploaded resume. So typing everything in isn’t so onerous.

    Were CEO type positions ever decided on resume?

  3. Bandit says:

    That may be a bonus if the company is looking for good cubicle drones;

    Always putting down people who work for a living.

    I’ve got news for you – this is the cost of the professional labor market – have a staff of HR screeners read resumes or have a search program read records from a database – I won’t say which one is better but I know which one costs less.

  4. Rick DeMent says:

    I simply refuse to spend an hour filling out some online form that simply repackages my resume…

    You guys who haven’t had to look for a job in a while kill me. Oh so you simply refuse eh? Then you don,t want a job do you. Fact is that looking for a job nowadays has been reduced to a lottery pure and simple. The idea that even mid-level jobs go to the most qualified candidate is a joke. There is no way to evaluate all the people looking for a job. It has been reduced to a numbers game. I got to the point where I would apply for anything regardless of if I was under, over or uniquely qualified.

    You pretty much have to be wired to a job before it even hits the job boards, that’s how I eventually landed my current position. Be tween the jobs that are posted just to fill out some requirement that HR has and the jobs that will never get filled because they want to hire an H1B worker for cooly wages, the job market is starting to take on lottery characteristics.