R.I.P Resume

Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with creating the worlds first resume in the early 1480s when he sought employment from his then prospective employer, Ludovico Sforza, the then ruler of Milan. The resume was penned by a professional writer (at that time) and it was a 10 point summary of his engineering talents. He was offered the job. Congrats Leonardo!

500 years later, are we close to the death of the Resume?

Let’s be truthful here. As a hiring manager, how many times have we looked at a perfectly curated resume that motivated us to quickly set up an interview with the candidate, and become disappointed even quicker? I have faced numerous disappointments myself.

The boundaries of sugarcoating resumes have been stretched well beyond the allowable limit. With each passing resume, I see truth stretched and the limits of what I think is legit stepped upon and in some case exceeded.

What has happened to some candidates these days? I understand that all of them want their dream jobs, a stunning compensation and a wonderful career. But at what cost? Is stretching the truth on their resume the only way out? Some of the resumes I reviewed have gone well beyond misstating their name, age, education, work experience, technical skills they possess, etc. When does this become unethical? Does one even understand that this is equal to impersonating someone? Let’s not forget the legit candidate who is trying for the same position with his or her truthful resume. They may end up left behind and in most cases stepped over.

I looked this up on http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/criminal-impersonation/

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with criminal impersonation:

(1) A person commits criminal impersonation if he knowingly assumes a false or fictitious identity or capacity, and in such identity or capacity he: (d) Does an act which if done by the person falsely impersonated, might subject such person to an action or special proceeding, civil or criminal, or to liability, charge, forfeiture, or penalty; or (e) Does any other act with intent to unlawfully gain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another.

So misstating facts on the resume (impersonating) and gaining a benefit (job & salary) to injure (the truthful resource not getting the job) or defraud another (financial, project delays, missed deadlines, to employer, etc), should be a punishable offense right?

Ok… don’t think I am a cruel person. I do not want to imprison everyone who has a resume with misstated facts. I was just treading on the lines of legality and ethics.

Let me not just blame the candidates. Blame lies on the employers as well. Are the overly ambitious job descriptions to be blamed for this? One of the recent job description that I reviewed was one for an Entry Level Business Analyst. And the job description had so many technical keywords mentioned that an entry level resource has no way to qualify for this role. Some experienced roles like the one I saw for a Senior Project Manager had listed responsibilities that almost tilted the project manager into a “tech handy man” who has to possess the skills to design, develop, test and deliver the project single-handedly. These overly zealous job descriptions and expectations are also the key factor in demotivating candidates, demoralizing them and making them feel less qualified. As a result, they are pushed to be someone else on the resume. Gone are the days when it was fine to join a company and learn a new skill or two on the job and then execute it. Employers are losing the patience to build the workforce of tomorrow, and are rather focusing on shorter lifecycle to rollout their products or services.

I understand that there are skill gaps in the market. The top universities are not preparing graduates for the real world jobs. Little bit of reality and a better understanding of the job market can help us bridge this gap. Employers can collaborate with local universities and help the universities tailor their program to what the market needs. Employers can also focus on providing on-the-job training. It is my strong belief that on-the-job training is a quicker and relevant method for skill up-gradation in the work force.

I am advocating for the greater good to prevent employers from walking away from great candidates with poorly written resumes and from gravitating towards poor candidates with greatly written resumes. I am also taking this opportunity to question the strength of the hiring process today. I hope everyone remembers Yahoo’s infamous X CEO Scott Thompson’s resume which showcased a degree in Computer Science that he never earned.

Well going back to my initial claim of the death of the resume, I want the readers of this post to ask the following questions;

1.) Do we need a resume to reach out to a candidate, if so do you believe all the facts on the resume?

2.) How long can this defunct piece of paper survive?

3.) Can we lose this resume, and move on to innovative candidate intake methods, questionnaires and screening tools?

Reflect on past experiences, if any. If you happen to have creative means of fine tuning the recruitment process, then implement them.

The Myth of Compensation & The Law of Supply and Demand

Do you think supply and demand govern employee compensation? Have you ever wondered why one would end up offering a higher salary to a new entry-level hire than what was already offered to an entry level employee last year or years before? (The scenario assumes that employment type, educational level, work location, etc are controlled factors).

Let me take you back to the financial crisis of 2007 – 2008 although it could be painful. In 2009, hiring was dreadfully slow and we were courting jobless rates of double digits. Hiring freeze, dwindling profit margins, tumbling stock prices and “Barista” grads were common. What salary would have been offered to a new graduate, say with a M.S. or M.B.A. at that time? How much were the tech titans and investment bankers paying these brilliant minds then? I am pretty sure they got a low pay!

Fast forward to 2012 – 2013 when markets were moving higher (after the small correction in 2011) and hiring was steady, we were courting 7% unemployment. What would have been the salary offered to a fresh grad then?

Today, markets are even higher, companies are reporting record profits and huge cash reserves, and the Federal Reserve is getting ready to raise rates for the first time in a long time. What’s the offer to a fresh grad now? Definitely so much higher than before I presume.

This makes me wonder about the macroeconomics, the microeconomics and “The Law of Supply and Demand”.

If supply and demand principles govern pay practices, what happens to the employee who was hired at a lower salary when supply (fresh grads) was high and demand (jobs) was low? Currently demand is higher and the employers are hiring at a higher starting pay. On the other hand, the employee hired 5 years ago has worked his way up but may receive less pay than the new hires. Shouldn’t the employer increase the salary of the existing employee along with the shift in supply and demand? Again, this makes me question if supply and demand are the contributing factors for employee compensation.

If the employers are able to make employees accept reduced compensation or forgo a raise during market downturns, then shouldn’t they also increase compensation when market is better? Is there a way for existing employees’ salary to grow along with market demands, and economic factors?

Looks like the only way to increase employee compensation is for employees to find a better offer from another employer and become their new hires with a fatter paycheck. Unfortunately, the employers are losing talent due to incompetent pay practices.

Should annual compensation be revised considering cost of living and other economic factors?

How does your employer maintain compensation? Has your compensation increased with positive changes in market conditions with your existing employer?