Imagine you are in the process of choosing your next smart-phone. You want to be environmentally conscious and change it as few times as possible, but you have to replace it at least when it gets too slow to run your favourite applications. They become more power-hungry by the day.
You start your quest for information about different models and you stumble on a side-by-side comparison of the features two phones sport. Mega-pixels, audio quality, gigabytes of storage, screen size, you want everything nice and clear and you get nervous if a feature is hard to compare.
You grumble if you have to take into account some aspects that really don't fall on any scale. Why can't the reviewer come out with a number for everything?
This approach to smart-phone shopping is great. You can use the same approach with people shopping, it seems only instinctive. Unfortunately trouble awaits ahead if you do.
If you put people's "features" side-by-side and pretend to compare them in the same way you do with screen resolutions, you are believing in the assumption that people can be standardized and should be. But human beings are not good at standing standardization. C.G. Jung called it nullification and it sounds even uglier.
Mother Nature never produces two identical humans. Even monozygotic twins — the ones that not even mum can tell apart — are different. Psychologists advice parents to allow them to choose their clothes as a way to set them free to express their uniqueness.
We humans love it when our individuality is accepted and appreciated. It makes us motivated and happy. Instead, we become sad, depressed, rebellious, defiant, angry or unmotivated when others try to squeeze us into a mould. It doesn't matter if the mould is the best one civilization has ever invented and it's for our own good. It's the squeezing we don't like.
If you learn to appreciate people's characteristics, they will reward you with improved motivation and better productivity. Diverse teams will show a problem solving power well beyond the sum of individual abilities.
CVs belong to an age in which standard people seemed a good solution. They make it possible to compare candidates' "features" side by side.
To embrace people's distinctiveness, you want to welcome a variety of ways candidates can use to express themselves.
To make this change possible, your company's culture needs to let go of the irrational obsession with standardization and control that suffocates uniqueness and diversity.
Isn't it faster to use CVs?
Many companies receive hundreds of job applications. They need a way to make sifting them easy and fast. They standardize, it seems the right way to approach the problem.
Bolts present themselves on the conveyor belt in a standardized way so that it's easier to pick them up. Most industrial plants wouldn't be able to operate without some degree of standardization. Why not standardize the hiring process as well?
You dream of a universal standard CV or even have candidates copy and paste their own CV to an application form you devised to make information easy to compare.
What to do when, like in this case, you can't catalogue humans the way you do with bolts?
Just don't publish your job openings. Have, instead, your human resources team be continuously on the hunt for talent.
Are you still using CVs in your hiring process?)