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The Infuriating Truth About Getting Hired (articulateventures.com)
104 points by excid3 1694 days ago | hide | past | web | 117 comments | favorite

I work for a government agency and I can confirm this. It's maddening. When ranking resumes, we are only allowed to consider whether or not they say they have the skill we want. We aren't allowed to consider how well written the resume, how compelling the described experience is, external source repositories, etc.

So someone who puts "used C sharp on projects" gets the same "yes" as someone who describes, in detail, their extensive C# projects at various organizations, large and small.

And, no, we don't even get "5%" for opinion.

The reason is, according to the HR contact who so directed me, almost every hire ends in at least one lawsuit from a candidate not selected, claiming unfair hiring practice.

Interesting, I'd be curious to know whether any of these lawsuits were successful and to what extent changing the hiring process reduced them?

I can imagine that regardless of your hiring procedure you may get people who feel sour about not being picked and will take some action.

As far as I was aware in most jurisdictions you can reject a candidate for basically any reason you like as long as it isn't related to race , gender or one of the other protected classes.

Rejecting a candidate because their resume is poorly written (suggesting poor communication skills or poor attention to detail) doesn't seem like it should be something which would be controversial and I'd certainly be curious what argument could be made to a court that it should be otherwise?

I have a feeling it's more of a CYA from the HR folks than something that is actually necessary. I don't know for sure.

edit: I worked at another government agency in this same state before, and the hiring procedures were not quite as strict (we could evaluate resumes more holistically), so I think it's probably just this HR department.

> Interesting, I'd be curious to know whether any of these lawsuits were successful and to what extent changing the hiring process reduced them?

The effects of this are very well known...

Instead of hiring the best person for the job, you end up hiring the person who meets the minimum qualifications (which are lowered greatly in the process). Then mediocrity, bureaucracy, and incompetence takes over the place. Further, a system of red-tape is created to hold it all together.

> we are only allowed to consider whether or not they say they have the skill we want.

C'mon, you need to think like a bureaucrat: Just add "clear written communication skills" or "Can write details about past projects associated with C#" or whatever level of specificity you need.

Yes, it's a dumbass game.

I once saw "communication skills" on a list of things that could not be put in a job ad, because it could be used to justify discrimination against people of other national origins. So you might need to be more specific.

If English communication is actually important for the job, then yes, people who can't adequately communicate in English can and should be discriminated against. And yes, people who can't adequately communicate in English tend to be born outside of English-speaking countries.

Requiring strong written English to carry boxes could be considered unfair. But for a job that involves written communication?

The problem identified by the document I saw was the vagueness of this description and also its history in discrimination. It was suggested that very specific terms be used such as "ability to write detailed and understandable reports" if that is a job requirement.

Government agencies are THE WORST for this sort of thing. It is usually because it's more important to prove a lack of corruption or bias, than to prove a particular hire was "the best" person for the job.

Government budgets are so awful for a similar reason. A rigid, bureaucratic process exists so that they can always document a lack of corruption. Of course the result is sometimes silly, like when an agency is short-staffed but buys Aeron chairs for everyone--because there was money left in the equipment budget, but they were not permitted to shift it to the contractor or staff budget.

We spend more money on training and prevention of Waste/Fraud/Abuse than we would actually lose due to the occasional person buying beer with his travel card, but as you said, it's more important to prove we're trying than it is to actually save money.

Just curious, but do those lawsuits revolve around the race/color of the candidate?

I live in Brazil.

Here this is extremely common, also when you fire people.

So, if you have insider info, you know that:

First, if people suspect you are black, homosexual or a women from your resume, they don't interview you in first place.

If you DO get to the interview, then it switches, they hire you even if there are better candidates.

This is not so strong, the real problem comes in the firing.

If a company has 20 engineers, and need to fire 3 to reduce costs, they will fire straight white males first, because if they sue for discrimination, the company can easily defend itself (what sane judge would believe that you got fired for being white, straight or male?).

If they REALLY need to fire a black/gay/woman/whatever then they do a mass firing (like, say they are closing the department), and hire back the employees they want.

And most important of all, they do everything they can to make employees don't know about this, because when they do, tensions quickly build up, with white straight males sabotaging or acting passive agressive toward everyone else as a sort of perceived self defense (since they don't want to be fired unfairly).

All of this also apply to disabled persons too, in Brazil your company is obliged to hire 3% of disabled persons if you have more than 2000 employees. Several callcenters operate with 1999 or they comply with the laws by firing abled persons and hiring disabled until they have 3% of disabled so they can hire able persons again (ie: if you have 1999 employees and zero disabled, start firing abled people and replacing them with disabled until you are sure that when reaching 2000 you have 3% of ables).

Again, this create some crazy tensions, with disabled employees getting sabotaged or attacked passively by other employees, that upfront all of them praise the company for being pro-diversity, but behind everyone back want to just keep their jobs.

I've never seen such a thing...I also wonder if litigation is high here..the tech community is small, and as the tech community the hr people changes jobs as we do to other tech companies...thus what I see is that people avoid to sue their former employers...

Brazil has more law schools than the rest of the world summed ( http://guiadoestudante.abril.com.br/vestibular-enem/brasil-t... ) it is no wonder that litigation here is very high.

I imagine that such a thing might actually incentivise the company to hire white males because they know they can fire them more easily.

also, is really hard to prove discrimination.

I don't know. We have a very diverse work force so it seems like proving discrimination would be a serious up-hill battle for a candidate. As a mentioned in another reply, I suspect this is more of a CYA from HR rather than a legitimate necessity.

It is so obvious that there is a problem- but everyone wants to protect themselves from lawsuits-- I don't foresee it getting fixed anytime soon-

Have a skills test at the interview?

We do, and it is very effective. The interview is really not a problem, it's just the resume selection that is frustrating. I can't imagine having to interview technical candidates without being able to administer a skills test.

I do not even bother with resumes anymore. I have found much more effective ways to get noticed. If, on your side of the coin, you also find resumes ineffective, I'm curious why you cling to the practice?

Our hiring procedures are set by HR. We have to review and rank resumes on a yes/no criteria (the same criteria that appears in the job advert). Then, we can choose how many people to interview, but they must be in sorted order based on resume ranking.

In the interview we have to ask the same questions of all candidates. So we can't go from their resume and say "tell me about this project X on your resume". Instead we have to ask generic questions, and if they don't refer to their resume projects, that's a problem.

We can do skill tests, as long as they are "objective" and all candidates get the same skill test.

So my approach is basically interview everyone who meets the bare minimum criteria, make sure they bring up relevant resume projects in the interview, and then hit them hard with skill tests, and sort from there. Seems to be an acceptable "work around" to the fairly rigid and heavy HR prescribed hiring process.

Who writes the job advertisement? That seems like a good place to put desirable experience like "independent projects in X".

Not everyone has the luxury of applying for a job and telling the folks at the company that you "do not even bother" with resumes.

I don't see it as a luxury. The fact is that resumes just don't work very well as a marketing tool for the amount of effort they take. There are better ways to go about it, in my opinion and experience. There is a very good reason why Apple doesn't give you the "resume" of their devices and I stay away from resumes for the same reason. Finding a job is just sales and marketing, nothing more.

All of these points sound like great filters- not for the company, but for me in determining that I probably don't want to work there. A place with thin margins, HR bureaucracy and a cover-your-ass attitude? No thanks. I do say this however as someone both privileged and experienced enough to really not need to scrape for a job too hard at this point in my life. YMMV.

> HR bureaucracy and a cover-your-ass attitude?

Most folks don't realize it, but the phrase above is redundant. Intrinsically, the function of HR is CYA for the company. By the time you have full-blown HR, CYA is present.

One example: Need to fire someone? Trained HR folks will help you navigate the minefield of legalities.

There's legal CYA and there's CYA ingrained in the everyday operation of the company. I think the CYA OP is talking about is the sort where employees (managers, devs, designers, what have you) deliberately act suboptimally to protect themselves.

Making a suboptimal recommendation knowing it will harm someone else more than it will harm you. Diffusing responsibility. Inflating estimates. etc etc.

> There's legal CYA and there's CYA ingrained in the everyday operation of the company.

Maybe other people have different experiences, but I've never met an HR person who did one and not the other.

HR is CYA by definition, but you can have a HR department without having the whole company behave like said HR department.

True, and you can also have an HR department that goes beyond CYA. Some companies treat Recruiting & HR functions as strategic parts of the business. I'm not talking about lip service, like "Chief People Officer" titles, and things of that nature, which are usually just a whole lot of signaling and little else. Rather, I mean companies wherein recruiting and developing people is part of the hiring manager's job responsibility, and he or she has skin in the game. To the extent that HR is a self-contained silo, completely removed from the hiring manager's organization, it's bound to lose touch and turn into a simple, CYA-esque meat grinder.

Additionally, good HR strategy includes implementing events, training programs, talent development strategies, etc., so that retention and promotion of existing employees is just as important as recruitment of new ones.

A reasonable KPI, in this case, is turnover (both by volume and by average employee timespan). The ability to find world-class talent by the bucketload is all but wasted if existing employees tend to bounce after 6 months to a year.

CYA attitude can show itself outside of the HR department. One of the most insidious ways CYA hurts a company is when departments or people are resistant to trying new ideas because they might fail--even if the potential upside would be a significant improvement.

This is part of the Innovator's Dilemma--people tend to keep doing what is working "well enough" because they can't be blamed for that, and opportunity cost tends to be invisible unless it's looked for. Meanwhile, a competitor with less to lose is more likely to take the risky bet. If they succeed, they eventully beat the former incumbent.

Edit to add: in the case of hiring, CYA can mean hiring someone who's no different from anyone else currently employed in the company--and therefore perhaps missing an opportunity to create positive change.

There was a classic management study which, in essence, consisted of asking VP's of a company if they would initiate a risky project that had a 50% chance of saving company 2 million and a 50% chance of completely wasting 1 million - where each individual VP found arguments to not back the particular project in their area, but the CEO (naturally) would like all of his VP's to take that risk, as the odds favor the company (but failure hurts the individual manager).

Once you're not so desperate that you need to take any job that you can get, you start seeing all sorts of indicators like this. I once walked out of an interview when I found that I would have to take a drug test. I don't take any illegal drugs, but that was an indicator of the distrustful kind of environment I was getting into.

Thanks but no thanks.

Sometimes this is needed unfortunately.

One of the companies my father owned, he one day went to see something at the police station, and saw open book of wanted criminals, and found half of his employees there, and all of them were in the same criminal group, while inside the company they behaved like if they did not knew each other until they met at the workplace...

But probably I would refuse to take a drug test too. But sometimes companies are between a rock and a hard place.

You find wanted criminals with drug testing?

In a functional working environment, if someone shows up incapacitated, you would show him the door there and then. But in the dysfunctional environment that we are in, if someone shows up incapacitated and kills someone, the company can point to the drug test, claim that they have taken due care when hiring and are off the hook. This needs to stop.

Had a boss that got drunk every single day at work. He didn't hide it too much. During sit down meetings in his office, I'd sometimes catch a glimpse of his garbage can which was brimming with empty Coors lite cans. In the evenings, he often offered me a beer and I occasionally accepted. Ironically, he was the most productive , brilliant engineer to cross my path. Management never showed him the door. Eventually, he checked himself into rehab and I think there was a happy ending.

"Had a boss that got drunk every single day at work. He didn't hide it too much."

Right, that's exactly the point, you don't need drug tests to find nonfunctional addicts.

I'm going to file your father's experience under "totally bizarre use case that belongs in a David Mamet film".

I have heard a similar story from an HR consultant, minus the whole "criminal" element. It far less likely at a public company but think of something like a call center or factory, a smallish business, ~30-100 employees, where the owner has hired managers running it. If someone devious gets in a position of hiring power they use favoritism and undisclosed relationships to build a fiefdom. It might not go as far as stealing money, but they could be creating extra jobs for their friends and fobbing the actual work off to underlings, basically just freeloading off the business. If the owner doesn't know the clique exists it could be hard to see the signs.

I'm pretty far OT here WRT drug testing, but anyway a good HR department should be more than a cover-your-ass paperwork machine.

Yes, the business was a small factory, I think it was about 25 employees.

My father distanced himself a bit from management at the time, since he is the tech guy (he invented all the machines that the factory manufactured), and management was happy to hire locals, so many employees were hired off the street (ie: random unemployed people that reached the door and asked to do blue collar job)

Sorry to be off topic but I couldn't stop thinking about Fight Club after reading your reply.

Think of the drug test as a responsibility test. If you aren't resposible enough to be clean, why should I hire you?

I assume you test for nicotine and alcohol use then, correct? If you aren't 'responsible' enough to quit smoking - since you know it's bad for your health - why should I hire you?

Drug tests are counterproductive, because not only do they not dissuade drug use (empirically), but they push drug users towards drugs like cocaine, which are detectable in drug tests for only two days, instead of drugs like marijuana, which are detectable for several weeks.

The only drug you can really test for effectively is marijuana, and I frankly couldn't care less whether an employee uses marijuana - medicinal or recreational - in his free time, just the same way I don't care whether he drinks alcohol or smokes cigarettes.

Finally, it's nobody's business what an employee of mine chooses to do after work so long as it doesn't impact his work performance. If it does, that's reason enough to fire him right then and there, without any need for a drug test.

Nicotine and alcohol are legal. An employee of, say, the federal government should not be partaking in illegal drugs. If a person with a security clearance is regularly doing cocaine, at least one person (his source) knows. He is now vulnerable to blackmail. This is why we have random drug tests--I've never been called for one, but I will not consume illegal drugs because I could well be called tomorrow.

I'm also impressed by your assertion that employees will think, "Shit, I can't smoke weed, guess I better start doing coke!" It's like the whole "gateway drugs" thing, except he skips straight to the hard stuff because the gateway isn't available to him.

some random tech company (which, let's face it, is where the majority of people reading this will be applying to) is not the federal government. there should be no legal burden on, say, amd to hire only people who do not use "illegal" drugs.

“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.” - Steve Jobs

In my personal experiences, I'd have to agree with Steve and I personally would rather hire someone who has taken LSD vs someone who hasn't. To me it doesn't show irresponsibility- it shows a sense of exploration and creativity.

Not sure if there's anything especially "creative" about swallowing a small piece of paper.

Exploration? perhaps, but boredom and peer pressure are more likely explanations.

Conversely: if you're so out of touch with the reality of the output of your employees that you need urine samples to tell who is doing a good job and who isn't, why should I work with you?

That's what I figure. If I can't tell its effecting their performance, then either they are doing fine or I'm out of touch as a manager.

If I sometimes smoke a joint on friday night when I am at home, does that make me a defacto irresponsible person?

If you're expecting me to work for free ~100 hours a week, why should I work for you?

"A place with thin margins, HR bureaucracy and a cover-your-ass attitude?"

As the author says, that is more or less what to expect when a company grows past a certain size.

It's human nature (not one of the high points of it), or better the nature of mature/large companies.

I'm sure there are exceptions (Google ? Facebook ?) but my personal experiences sort of confirm that.

I'm not saying that it's not possible to "thrive" in such organizations, since they offer plenty of pluses (stability, more time to adapt, resources, mobility, variety), it really depends on one's nature, and on what he is looking for.

I consider my current company a great place to work, with friendly and capable coworkers, good compensation, and lots of job flexibility and a variety of interesting technical opportunities.

However, as I've recently unhappily discovered, our current interview process often suggests just the opposite. As a passive candidate myself, I've actually terminated several interviews for far lesser offenses than what we are guilty of.

Things are improving quickly now that more of us are aware of what has been going on, but I'm now a bit more willing to tolerate other companies' hiring sins than I was before.

There are a few places that people deeply want to work at because of the type of work you will be able to do- getting into that bureaucracy is the only way to do it- (NASA, The United Nations, The World Bank) at these places you get work that unless you are a contractor (which is an entirely different maze). It may not be for you- but there are people that have studied and worked for years to "get in"- this advice is for them.

But the other rules still apply, and the best way into these entities is by taking the power of HR away and talking directly to people inside.

My experience (EBRD) was that it was possible to switch from temping (got that through a friend) to contracting to employee (I turned down the last). Friends at the World Bank used a variety of methods to join, but all benefited from talking to professionals inside along the way. These tips are important, but it's far better to have the HR person know that there is existing demand for the applicant.

Basically, a large company, or one trying really hard to emulate one (beware of these most).

There are so few exceptions to this it's not worth worrying about.

The advent of HR departments as gate keepers rather than employee facilitators is probably a significant factor in the ever growing incompetency in corporate America. You have people who have no domain knowledge about the job trying to select resumes out of a hat, essentially. Both the systems they have created and the abysmal results are inevitable.

Well, it's not about getting hired, it's about getting to an interview - which is a separate filter with very different criteria.

However, it may be everything that matters for writing a CV - as when you're in the interview, everybody (hopefully) will be looking at you and your real skill description, not the CV.

And this is precisely why one should be an independent contractor. Nobody expects or wants contractors to fit in -- they want to get their shit done in time or have a whipping boy in case things go south. And big cos ( your banks/funds etc.) are willing to pay well for that service. As a contractor in Canada, where healthcare costs are not a problem, there is really really no incentive for me to subsume myself to a bureaucracy not to mention that I am too accented and overly pigmented to ever look like the hiring manager's cousin.

Independent contractors can get pretty beat up in situations like this- there are really strict rules about the price increases a contractor can ask for from one year to the next- and often it is less than 5% and those contractors aren't able to complain because the alternative to to just not renew the contract- which is the right of the organization- being a contractor in many ways leaves you with less security (especially to do stuff like speak up when a regular employee is doing bad work) and less pay.

This depends - in a truly independent contracting situation - ie, the contractor has a corporation (usu. S-corp) and manages their own P.O. with the client company, there is incredible freedom and ability to negotiate - you are, however, effectively re-negotiating very often (sometimes daily if the PO is running low).

If you happen to be a contractor working for Volt, Adecco, Robert Half or some other staffing firm, then you are in a different league and are often in a worse position than as an established employee or a truly independent contractor... you might have some basic benefits and 401k, but this is body-shop territory and it's advisable to consider this situation as non-permanent.

Completely agree. As someone who navigated those CYA waters of HR for many years, I'm glad I switched over to being a contractor. My health care is taken care of, and I don't have to worry about all the BS the "employees" have to deal with like pumping up your yearly goals, and working overtime just to get a 1% higher pay increase at the end of the year.

I come, I go, I get paid. Simple, without any entanglements.

Why would you want to get hired by a company that hires this way?

You're a new grad w/o enough practical skills or real work experience to get hired by a smaller, more nimble company that has modern hiring practices. In this case applying to a mega-corp is often your only realistic choice.

This is true, I live somewhere with basically no startup scene to speak of. So getting hired for any programming position offering reasonable pay basically means working for BigCo.

Nope, because mega-corps only do internships or '3-5 years' experience.

Factually incorrect, if you are talking about software engineering positions.

Source: College career fairs. BigCos come and recruit people in hordes. Around 60-70% of people graduating from UT, Austin went to a BigCo (Google, MS, Amazon etc)

Yes, but not everyone gets into the college recruiting gravy train. You either didn't go at a target school, or you didn't make the cut. Then you graduate and you're basically hung out to dry unless you know someone. This applies to many areas besides software engineering.

I mostly remember college careers fairs as a place where big companies tried to get you to apply for their internships.

Microsoft and Google and such usually had their own separate events, and I'll grant they were more serious about hiring people, though they mostly seemed to hire people who'd already been their interns.

I've experienced the opposite but that might be because I'm looking at software development jobs. Most of the mega-corps and the medium-large companies that do software development actively recruit new grads while the small companies are only looking for experienced people.

Because the newbies will work for less. They will work longer hours (to learn the ropes.) They don't have families and health issues, so they are cheaper to employ as well. They are less aware of their rights and have less long term outlook, which would steer them away from these sorts of HR miasmas.

Thus they are just the filler needed by BigCo to compensate from the continuous braindrain. Once they have the skills and know the ropes, they'll either get promoted or leave for an employer of choice.

That may be the case, but it doesn't mean the above statement isn't just factually wrong.

Pretty much every big company has a graduate scheme.

Willingness to hire newbies is orthogonal to the size of the company except maybe for the very small and very fast companies (short: startups) who just cannot bear the costs of bringing new employees up to speed. Btw, my first semi-steady job was two bosses, two admins and me being the third employee, the DB guy, still a student.

It is entirely possible for a company to have a great working environment and an incompetent HR team.

It is, but only for a very short time. `Evaporative cooling' and `dead sea effect' will quickly cause the better employees to jump the ship and the weaker to remain solidly entrenched.

Usually, but I spent a significant amount of time in an organization where even many of the good employees thought there was nowhere better to jump to or that such a transition was not feasible. Given the difficulty I had in getting out of there myself, I can understand where the latter feelings came from.

How much of that was due to your local job market, and how much of it was due to psychological conditioning from the company culture leading everyone to believe that it was hard to get out?

Because you need a job. You need money. You need experience. You need to get off the couch. You can't be picky.

Too many engineers on this site live (work) in a bubble. The rest of the labor force doesn't have it quite as good.

I went through the process because I really wanted to work for an international organization with a lot of prestige (the U.N. the World Bank or the I.M.F.

You're really just making the case that organizations with these hiring processes are terrible both ethically and as a place to work. I'm sure the NSA has an annoying hiring process too.

Do you want to sell sugar water, err, todo list apps for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world?

Big organizations have the potential to be great places to work. How can you criticize the ethics of hiring at large organizations when we see daily accounts here about how terribly discriminatory startups can be with their "culture fit" requirements? I work for a large federally-funded organization. We are quite diverse, have good job security, we all get our own real offices, and we get to work on important problems that actually stand to make an impact in national policy. Sure, meals aren't free, but we also don't have Chet the Brogrammer Boss telling us to stay late on Friday to crush that javascript.

How would you know? Do we ever really know why we were hired or turned down?

Because I have to pay bills

Because you aren't a software dev in California or other extremely in-demand type; and you want a job.

Since almost all large companies are doing this, it means you'd have to ignore half of job offers, and the vast majority of people can't afford to be that picky, especially in the current job market.

Every big corp operates this way, would you want to not consider a company like google just because they have notoriously bad hiring people in their hr dept?

This article exists because this is quite prominent. Managers should be looking at resumes for high-skill jobs, not HR.

As someone who has an Hispanic heritage, point number 3 is pretty frustrating. I'd like to think that the accomplishments I've made in my life are more impacted by the results of the work I've done, but there's always this nagging feeling that I'm just there to pad the diversity stats.

I've talked to other minority students during my time in undergrad and grad school and it's pretty crazy how many of us are plagued by impostor syndrome. I'm talking about incredibly high performing individuals who are near the top of their field at a prestigious university that don't know if they are there because of their abilities or their skin color.

Given the fact that minorities are still under-represented in tech, I suggest you think of this differently: You've gotten to where you are wearing the additional burden of being a minority. You've clearly out-performed expectations.

It would be silly to say we should make sure that people with green eyes are not under-represented in tech but why is it okay to say the same thing regarding skin color?

I think the reality is that these days being a minority is not a "burden", it's an advantage, and an unfair one. It would be better if it was just a non-issue but I guess we're just not there yet.

Let me guess - you're a white male, aren't you?

Being a minority is a long cry from being an advantage. I agree with you that I'd prefer it to be a non issue, but we're definitely not there yet.

Oh, and I'd expect that overall, the distribution of eye color in the tech world would be overall roughly equivalent to to the normal population, yes. And if there were people running around, actively complaining how green eyes give you an unfair advantage while green-eyed people are under-represented, and yet other people telling us how green-eyed people are stupid, couldn't possibly do tech, are a threat to the American Way Of Life(tm), and should in general not be so uppity, then yes, we should look at that.

I wouldn't.

You might be able to make an argument for the tech workforce reflecting the demographics of people with CS/engineering degrees, but not of the population as a whole.

Leaving eye color aside it's a simple fact that members of some groups are much more likely to go to college than others. Black males, for example, are more likely to go to jail than college. Of those who do go to college relatively few study computer science. Are we supposed to be surprised that there are few black coders? Is my company racist because I don't hire non-existent black computer science graduates? Give me a break. There wasn't a single black person in my CS program in college but there were several East Asians and at least one Indian.

Who are these people who think that companies are racist against blacks and Mexicans but not Indians or Chinese? Ever work in tech? Ever notice how many Indians there are? That's some mighty selective racism.

> Let me guess - you're a white male, aren't you?

No, I am not.

> ...couldn't possibly do tech, are a threat to the American Way Of Life(tm), and should in general not be so uppity

So, the analogy then is that some people are saying these kinds of things about minorities. If I can speak frankly: Who says this kind of stuff or thinks that way besides idiots? If someone is still racist in this day and age then there is little hope of changing their thinking. Those kind of people should just be ignored.

This is why the resume is broken, and why I drew a line in the sand for myself shortly after graduating college in 2009 that I would never get a job using a resume again. I would only find jobs via my reputation, connections, and by pitching the work that I thought needed to be done, and why I was the person to do it. Now, I was working the Austin, Texas startup community, and built a group of 120 startups at a local accelerator, so it's safe to say that I wasn't setting my career up for jobs that would have an HR manager.

That said, I broke my rule the next year, sent in a resume and went through a grueling process to ultimately get hired at a small consulting firm. Breaking my rule was a terrible decision, but fortunately its affects were quick to take effect, and short-lasting.

It was an awful job for me, but the company had a round of layoffs 90 days later that I was caught in.

My foot hit the pavement that day, and I realized it was the best thing that had ever happened to me.

I'm currently at a fast-growing, profitable startup. I got the job by pitching work and writing my own job description. I joined the company as employee #12. Not once did anyone ever ask me for a formal resume. All they cared about were results.

I have a beautiful resume somewhere on my hard drive. But I have even better results that you can see in my actual work.

> Therefore if you are a minority, or from an under represented gender it will work to your advantage to signal that to the HR Officer, be subtle though.


Thanks for posting this before me.

>if you are a minority, or from an under represented gender it will work to your advantage

This is part of the bizarre myth of black privilege that's been part of the culture since Reagan's race baiting. It's really rarely to your advantage to be black (or even have a name that sounds black), unless the environment you're being hired for is lily-white and has recently had a discrimination-based legal scare.

edit: to be fair to the article - it is describing exactly the time when being black is advantageous in hiring. But to correct the article - at a lot of business, the only time that they hire black people is when their racial balance has been criticized. So overall, any indication that you are black is not going to work well at a company who would be criticized about their racial mix, unless that company's problem is lack of applicants - if it's in Colorado or something.

This is a good place to put the reminder; Write a unique resume for each job. Resumes need to be written to match the culture of the company you're applying to.

Try to understand the mindset of the people you expect to be looking at your resume and create something that will get you into the interview room. An example is that the "resume" for my current job was a casual email that didn't include any normal stuff that would be in a resume.

This is difficult to do sometimes. I just interviewed at a small company that does defense contracting. The person I spoke with by email was very military-sounding in his diction so I assumed the culture was a bit formal and well...stuffy. When I went in for the interview dressed in a suit, everyone was fairly casual, people had pony tails and tousled hair, and we spent a good portion of the interview discussing video games.

When I went in for the interview dressed in a suit, everyone was fairly casual

It's a bit of a double standard, but they might have been expecting you to be dressed in a suit anyway. Good luck with the job!

> It's a bit of a double standard, but they might have been expecting you to be dressed in a suit anyway.

I've encountered this. My current workplace has a notoriously laid back and straight-forward culture. Knowing this, I asked the interviewer who was inviting me to interview if I should dress up, or dress appropriately for the company culture. "I would recommend you dress up a little, and hope it's the last time you have to wear those clothes," was the response.

Showing that you are familiar with the culture into which you're walking is worth a lot in such situations.

To the HR Officer, your resume matters only matters if it meets their needs.

Furthermore - whatever reduces the risk of that HR officer losing their job, or that of the manager. You can't get fired for hiring a person with 10 years of experience as opposed to one with 2 years, even if the person with 2 years experience may be a much better employee.

To the extent this article might be true about some companies or organizations -- you don't want to work there.

I've never worked anywhere with priorities like this, not even in the Australian Public Service (which certainly has cretinous hiring practices, but not like this). To begin with, most HR departments only lightly filter resumes submitted against a position -- if you get tossed out of the mix by the person in recruiting it's probably for a dumb reason (e.g. your CV lacks a crucial buzzword) but again, not these reasons.

Related content for job seekers.

>Why your tech CV sucks. And here's how we can help. By Dominic Connor http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/10/your_cv/

>Think your CV is crap? Your interview skills are worse. Really, why do you even bother... By Dominic Connor http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/17/connor_on_interviews...

Looking forward to his follow up "You are useless. You should consider suicide."

I think you skipped a few. The logical next step is, "Think your CV is crap? And your interview skills are worse? No, they accurately represent your terrible job performance!"

"Error establishing a database connection"

I'm wondering if this is a meta statement (where database connection is interpreted as having a real life social connection to someone at the firm you wish to join)

Error establishing employment connection.

I got that at first too. Just refreshing it worked.

I suddenly have a lot more sympathy for HR. At least the ones that are trying to hire good people.

That's why I favor an HR Technocracy to an HR Bureaucracy.

if they're seeing your CV and then based on that they either move forward or not you're applying to the wrong company.

We shouldn't expect companies to hire based on your CV? What should it be based on then?

I think you meant to write "we shouldn't expect companies to decide to interview based on your CV? What should it be based on then?"

database error.

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