Last month, Aakash Neeraj Mittal, a student of ocean engineering and naval architecture at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, spent 70 hours on Photoshop to create a resume. It was modelled on Flipkart’s product page. He used the resume to apply for the role of a product manager at the e-commerce marketplace. And instead of product description, he listed out his qualities and called himself a “highly utilitarian product that comes with several features.” And instead of the price of the product, he listed the salary (Rs.27.6 lakhs) the company was offering.
But Mittal’s resume didn’t make the cut.
“Flipkart was looking for candidate with a CGP of 7.5. I am a 6-pointer. I thought if they got to see my out-of-box-thinking and my creative side, I might have a shot at the job. I knew that if I went the traditional route, they wouldn’t even have looked at my resume,” he said over the phone.
Even as companies push for innovative thinking, their out-of-box quotient is defined by certain boundaries.
“It (The approach taken by Mittal) is definitely an eye-catcher and it will prompt me to have a second look at it. But we consider such people only for certain types of roles like a graphic designer or a user experience designer. But for roles like finance and operations, these kind of resumes would be a disadvantage because it give a sense of lack of seriousness,” said Amit Sinha, HR head of Paytm, a mobile wallet and e-commerce company.
A Flipkart spokesperson didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Some HR professionals don’t think such efforts will make much headway.
“While it is a good way to seek attention, it is not going to score any additional brownie points. I would evaluate it the way I would evaluate any other,” said Sidhartha Shishoo, VP, HR, Genpact Ltd, an IT services and BPO firm.
Indeed, it is important to not get carried away.
“It looks innovative but it is important to not overreact to it and stay neutral. We should not jump to conclusions based on scanty evidence (of capability),” said K. Ramkumar, executive director, ICICI Bank.
HR professionals aren’t ready to deal with such resumes and candidates, said one expert.
“Most companies are not ready for these kind of people. There has been no freshness in thought in HR for the last 50 years. And these resumes are first evaluated by HR professionals, who are still traditional in the way they think” said Debabrat Mishra, director, Hay Group India, an HR consultancy.
A few companies though, have embraced such differences. Sumit Mitra, head, group HR and corporate services, at Godrej Industries Ltd said his company encourages students to express themselves in different ways in their resumes, and in the past they have seen cartoon decks and poems as resumes.
“As long as the content is factual and there is no misrepresentation, we encourage this as it tells a lot about the person and it shows intent and interest. When we are open to new packaging of products, why not resumes?” he asks.
As for Mittal, he says he does not regret the decision as he has already received a lot of offers from start-ups.
Some even want him to sign up as co-founder, he claims.