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Posts Tagged ‘recruiting’

If you can’t tell by the title, I am a little bit ticked! I’ve just gotten off the phone with a close friend who managed to get me all stirred up about the intersection of these three topics: diversity, lip service, and incompetent hiring. She works for a company that I won’t name (Texas, oilfield services, etc.) but the company was cited publicly for its lack of diversity so they panicked. The organization went on a hiring crusade and for the next several months, everyone hired was a person of color with little thought as to whether the individual was the most suitable candidate for the position! That’s where incompetent hiring enters the picture! The eventual outcomes should reflect more harshly on the hiring parties than the ones hired but it’s not often that companies look back that far to determine where things may have gone wrong. 

Diversity is extremely beneficial to an organization if approached thoughtfully. There should be little reason to recite that an organization which has leveraged diversity in terms of talent, perspectives, and problem-solving approach, not just headcount, will be more successful over the long-term. I just wanted to say it as a reminder. Yet here lies the rub, many companies have not approached diversity in the most thoughtful manner. For the company mentioned above, it was treated as a numbers game which has yet to yield positive results for the company nor for the individuals who struggle to succeed in positions for which they are simply not suited. Maybe that was the malevolent intent. However, I have a hard time conceiving of an organization which would chose to place profit in jeopardy in an attempt to abase any group of people.  So that leaves me with the belief that the organization simply did not put enough thought into this important aspect of its business. Let’s imagine that the likely scenario was that the CEO informed his/her top HR executive to “do something” about the lack of diversity. S/he then informed the recruiting team to “do something” about it. The recruiting team then set about furiously recruiting diverse candidates under fire and rather haphazardly rather than working diligently to identify the candidates most suited to the roles being filled. At this point, the one thing I’m certain of is that no one sat down to develop a plan for addressing the lack of diversity from a strategic point of view. Given that, there could not have been the slightest thought towards finding ways to truly leverage its value.

Companies have appeared to support diversity initiatives publicly while actually disregarding it in ways that matter.  That’s merely giving lip service to the issue. They thought they had to say or do something or risk appearing backward. After all, everybody else appeared to be on the diversity bandwagon. These organizations rolled out “trophy” programs with buttons and posters that had very little substance to them and minimal staying-power. Current employees saw through the programs and tolerated them as a company public relations requirement. Programs like this look good on the careers page of the website but not in the numbers of the annual report.

The annual report holds most of the numbers that seem to matter to organizations. Companies merely need to look around to know that the numbers in the annual report can be positively impacted through a more diverse workforce. Catalyst, the workplace research group, recently studied 353 Fortune 500 companies and found that those with the most women in senior management had a higher return on equities — by more than a third.  Also, a Glass Ceiling Commission report found a direct relationship between stock market performance and the diversity, in gender and race, of the workforce. When treated as a valued asset, diversity and the different perspectives that are inherent with it, allow organizations to more easily solve problems, make better decisions, and therefore get better results.

Organizations do not have to settle for surface-level diversity initiatives versus real results. Organizations that engage with all staff from the start and measure the right stuff (solutions and unique ideas, not just headcount) can leverage the diversity within their employee populations for better business outcomes. It just takes more effort than moving your lips and walking people through the door to get those outcomes.

Interested in really making a difference and not just sitting pretty? Visit Mora&Associates at http://morahr.com/diversityvalue.aspx.

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No, not personal names. That’s a completely different subject and is way touchier than what I want to cover today. I’m not feeling all that controversial today. The sun’s shining out the window and I’ve just finished reviewing 80 resumes for a position my firm is working to fill for a client company. That’s why the subject of names has come up. Shakespeare quoted, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  In his writing, it is asserted that a name is an artificial and meaningless convention. In a job search, I would not be so fast to assert this!

So, what is in a name? I received 200+ resumes for this one position referenced above. Not all of the candidates met the qualifications for this particular position. However, what stands out to me is that almost 20% was eliminated due to a name; a cute name, a sexy name, no name, or a clever but inappropriate name. Some might say this is a superficial justification. Is this elimination from the candidate pool based on “an artificial and meaningless convention”? It’s not, in this case (or I’m justifying it as not). This is a top position for a function within an organization. It requires strategic thought and good judgment.  Of the 80 job seekers’ resumes currently under review, all used an email address that most people would classify as professional and a straightforward or functional name for their resume file. Cute and not so cute names in an email address (snuggles777, coocoo4cocoa, jessiesgirl, nightrider99, 2kofun, etc) should be reserved for communicating with friends and other loved ones, not the person who may hold the key to your next career move.

Set up an email address just for the purpose of job hunting if your customary email address is less than super-professional (you can put super in front of almost anything to up the level, right?). Based on the number of email addresses that are available to a single account these days, you can’t run out unless you’re a spammer. In that case, maybe you shouldn’t get the job anyway (please spare my inbox). Given the tight competition for scarce jobs today, don’t guess as to whether your customary email address is or isn’t professional enough. Use your name or your name in combination with your location if you don’t want to use your name alone (“jonathandoe” or “jdoe-houtex”). Whatever you use, try to avoid being cute, sexy, or overly clever. I know you want to show your personality but just being you works best here. That’s who the recruiter wants to see, not Snuggles or Jessie’s Girl.

My next comment concerns the name you allocate to your resume file. More than a dozen email resumes for this one position arrived with the name “Resume[1].doc” or something similar. Why? It’s the first resume in the resume folder on your computer so you named it “resume[1]”. It makes sense in that setting. Let’s shift to you now sending this file to a recruiter in a company or an independent firm, someone like me.  Remember, it’s now the 149th for the open position and the 10,000th for the recruiter’s overall database. Assign it a name that will have significance to the recruiter. Would “jondoe_civil engr_PE” work better than “resume[1]”? The first example gives the submission meaning and actually makes it easy to consider, not only for this position, but for other positions calling for a civil engineer with PE certification. 

Final note on this, most recruiters including those who use applicant tracking systems (see my last post if you are not familiar with these) save resume files to a folder for later review or as backup after the system extracts information. When this occurs, only one file named “resume[1]” can be saved. Will it be yours? There is definitely something in a name. Don’t risk elimination because of it. Set your resume apart from the crowd with a name that tells the reviewer who you are immediately. Stay in the gene, uh, candidate pool.

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Darwinism, in the modern sense, is used to describe evolutionary concepts.  Most commonly, when used, it is weaned down to the single concept of natural selection. Of course, Charles Darwin covered way more territory than this but since we are going to discuss “the resume” this is fitting. The resume, after all, is a selection tool. You pull together a collection of detailed information about your career. You format it in a standard fashion. You locate a job of interest. Finally, you send it off to a company to be reviewed along with many others and you hope that from among that group, yours is selected for follow up of some kind.

Now, let’s go back to the concept of natural selection. Natural selection is defined (answers.com) as “the process in nature by which only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive and transmit their genetic characteristics in increasing numbers to succeeding generations while those less adapted tend to be eliminated.”  This applies well in screening resumes because so many candidates permit themselves to be eliminated by simply not adapting to the environment. Every job, which is the “environment”, is different. When you choose to not customize your resume submission to the job for which you are applying, you allow the law of natural selection to go to work in eliminating you from the gene, uh, applicant pool. Yes, it’s more work – more work than merely sending the same resume (and cover letter) for every job. But how’s that been working? By customizing your submission and showing the recruiter or the applicant tracking system (we’ll discuss this) that you are a perfect fit for the job, you allow the law to work in your favor. You get to survive and possibly transmit your genetic characteristics, also known as work efforts, to succeeding generations! The process I described at the end of the above paragraph actually should be applied in this order: You locate a job of interest. You pull together a collection of detailed information about your career based on that job. You format it in a standard fashion. Finally, you send it off to a company to be reviewed along with many others….

All job seekers need to understand applicant tracking systems (ATSs) and how they work.  ATSs are designed to accept your resume in electronic form, then, screen and sort them based specific inputs or keywords which usually come from the job description. MOST companies use these. As an independent recruiter, I use one. Therefore, if you did not customize your submission or, at least, review it for fit against the job description, it doesn’t stand a chance of getting in front of a recruiter or hiring manager. The ATS will eliminate you from consideration before any human can intervene. Put some work in your resume. The strategic use of keywords and position-specific terms found in the job description can get you past the ATS and possibly get you that follow up you’ve been seeking.

Take or leave this nugget of information but remember, Darwinism is always hard at work even it you aren’t. Survive.

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