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Operation Resume: Talent Acquisition Through the Ages

In today’s world of online job applications and career-building sites, it’s hard to imagine a time without resumes. For nearly 100 years, business leaders have used this document to catch their first glimpse of a prospective hire. From the Italian Renaissance to online job boards and beyond, the development of this professional staple has an appropriately storied resume of its own.

Document da Vinci

Among all of his thought-provoking and sometimes surreal concepts, Leonardo da Vinci’s most enduring innovation may be his most straightforward. The icon of the Renaissance crafted — perhaps unintentionally — the first resume when he was seeking the Duke of Milan’s employment around 1482. Da Vinci included a brief personal introduction followed by a summary of his skills in this document, also making it an ancestor of the cover letter.

By the end of the 15th century, traveling English lords would give the “resume” a name and use them to introduce themselves to new acquaintances. Like a prototypical form of social media, the affluent would use these letters to outline their aptitudes and experience in an attempt to further leverage their social standing.

Becoming the standard

The document would undergo few changes over the subsequent centuries; in 1900, resumes were more or less formalities with no consistent structure, often handwritten on scraps of paper. As we approached the new millennium, businesses boomed and workplaces themselves evolved, creating a need to efficiently review a candidate.

Even so, the resumes of the 1940s were a bit more aligned with our idea of Facebook, as they contained significant personal details — such as age, height, weight, marital status and even religious affiliation. By the following decade, they were an expected piece of the application process. And with their new status, resumes became closer in form to those of today.

By the ’70s, a drastic leap in efficiency by way of the first word processors pulled resumes into the digital age. This trend would continue throughout the following decade with the release and immediate popularity of Microsoft Word, which quickly became the preferred method for resume building — although some more visual applicants would go so far as to deliver their resumes on VHS tapes.

The advantage resumes provided employers would eventually become the norm by the turn of the century, as the emergence of the internet would usher in a new era of connectivity and convenience. Shortly thereafter in 2003, the necessity of this document for recruiting and job hunting would ultimately culminate with the launch of LinkedIn, the first comprehensive online career and resume platform.

The digital candidate

Today, prospective employees have the ability to build and post their resumes on a number of different online job boards like Indeed, and HR managers can just as easily post openings and process all application materials, including resumes, thanks to comprehensive applicant tracking tools.

But with 67% of candidates reporting a negative recruiting experience due to long, drawn-out processes according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the need for businesses to optimize their recruitment strategies is still apparent. Slow responses and unorganized hiring streams hinder an enterprise’s ability to secure and often even locate top talent. Mitigating these issues is especially crucial, given both the competitive labor market and the hiring challenges of the holiday season.

Fortunately, the right technology helps build a bridge between prospects and companies. Through an intuitive interface supported by a seamless, single software, recruiters are able to bound from job posting to resume review, interviews, hiring and eventually onboarding with ease.

Self-service functionality is an undeniable piece of today’s consumer experience, and the modern candidate expects — and needs — this level of ease, access and interaction from their potential employers. When HR tech eliminates the need for paper applications and streamlines communication between hiring managers and candidates, it yields an efficient and engaging experience for all parties involved.

Are you ready to polish and elevate your business’s recruitment strategy? Check out our HR:Evolution series to learn more about the past, present and future of HR tech, including Paycom’s comprehensive talent acquisition suite.


DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.