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.

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