Sunday, April 29, 2012

To Read The Resume or Not To Read The Resume

Recently this little nugget found its way to my inbox:

Job recruitment website The Ladders conducted a formal survey of job recruiters using eye-tracking technology to figure out what matters most on your resume. Over the course of ten weeks, actual job recruiters' eye movements were measured as they looked through resumes and online profiles, creating visual heat maps. This allowed researchers to determine how long recruiters spent studying which aspects of resumes, and just as importantly, what content was largely ignored.
A key finding of the study: Recruiters spend nearly 80% of their time focusing on six different areas of a resume. These most-important aspects are:
• your name
• current title/company
• previous title/company
• current position start and end dates
• previous position start and end dates
• education
On average, recruiters spent six seconds sizing up these aspects to make the initial decision on whether to trash your resume or consider you for the position. The study also found that visual features such as pictures, graphs, and ads (on employment-related sites like LinkedIn) are distracting, eating up precious time and reducing the recruiter's decision-making ability.

Assuming I’ve had an adequate amount of caffeine, I can read six items such as these in six seconds. (Or maybe they meant six seconds per item, I can definitely do that…even without caffeine). However, I choose not to read resumes in this fashion. As a headhunter, which is sort of like a “job recruiter” only better, I have a real quick draw when it comes to shooting resumes. I don’t need to look at these six items or any six items to tell if I’m interested. I specialize in recruiting experienced management and executive level talent for transportation, logistics and supply chain management organizations. If you aren’t an experienced manager or executive in transportation, logistics or supply chain management, I don’t need to know your name, where you went to school or anything else. That may seem rude and insensitive, but that’s just the way it is. I look at your current title/company. 99% of the time, that tells me whether or not I want to read more. If it does not, then I look at your previous title and company. If the light does not come on for me at that point, then we’re done.

Thankfully, most of the resumes I receive are from experienced managers and executives who work in transportation, logistics or supply chain management. And after my quick glance to confirm that fact, I tend to spend a lot more than a few seconds reading a resume. The first thing I focus on is work history and the frequency of job changes. If there have been a lot of job changes, I want to know why. We frequently ask candidates to fill out a questionnaire that addresses issues which are generally not covered on the resume. Job changes and the reasons for those changes are a key part of that questionnaire.

The second thing I look at is “career progression”. Whether within the same organization or as the candidate has changed companies, the key question is: Are they moving up, moving down or just moving sideways? And progression is not just job titles. A VP in a small operation may be the equivalent of an Operations Manager in a much larger operation. Experienced headhunters who specialize in particular industries recognize and appreciate the differences between companies and how those differences translate into job titles.

The third thing I look for are responsibilities and accomplishments. I want to know the size and scope of your responsibilities and the more these are expressed in measurables the better. How much revenue, how many direct reports, what size budget, how many locations, etc etc ? Then more importantly, what did you accomplish, what were the results? Grew revenue, lowered costs, improved service, reduced accidents and increased profitability. Positive results will motivate me to interview you. But, be prepared…I will ask HOW you did it. Don’t make up stuff just to load your resume. Headhunters and hiring authorities will want to get “behind” the numbers. They better be real and they better be yours.

So work history, career progression and responsibilities/accomplishments are the big three for me in determining if I should invest time interviewing a candidate. If someone appears to be a dead-on match for an existing job opening, I will likely talk to them even if their resume is “weak” in one or more of these key areas. But regardless of matches with existing openings, if I get a candidate who has a stable work history, a solid record of career progression, has held positions with significant management and/or executive responsibilities and has achieved meaningful business results in those positions, we are going to have a conversation.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Living On The Edge...Part II

Last June I wrote about Congressman Anthony Weiner’s crash and burn. ( Now we have the sad tale of Coach Bobby Petrino. I went back and read “Living On The Edge” and thought about Petrino. Some things never change. Last year I wrote these words:

“The Edge” is where you hear the Sirens’ songs, you think all things are possible and you feel invincible. “The Edge” is where lies become truth, it's always someone else's fault, you deserve to be happy and there are no absolutes. “The Edge” is where you ultimately get permission to launch and the final invitation to fall.”

I think that pretty much sums it up for Petrino. When you’re hot, you’re hot. And Petrino was certainly a “hot” coach. The big man in Arkansas who had resurrected the Razorback football program. Win football games at Arkansas and you get the keys to the state. You may even earn some “get-of-jail-free” cards. It just depends on the crime.

So what was Petrino thinking? Some would say that he wasn’t thinking or he was thinking with the wrong head. (If I have to explain that to you, just stop reading now.) I believe that it just boils down to a 51 year old guy enjoying a relationship with a young (young enough to be his daughter) woman. It made him happy and he deserves to be happy. A happy coach is a better coach and a better coach wins more games. And when you win enough, you can have your cake and eat it too. People will understand and even if they don’t understand they will forgive you. What choice do they have? He’s Bobby Petrino. He’s special.

And then there is Petrino’s family. Oh yeah, those people. I don’t know what his marriage was like or how things were with his kids. Not my business. But, clearly he was willing to risk it all because this other relationship made him happy. And like we all know…he’s a winner….he deserves to be happy. People will understand. People will forgive. For that matter, they may never even know. He might be invisible as well as bulletproof. “All things are possible” out there on “The Edge”.

But just like Congressman Weiner discovered. A funny thing happens when you get caught with your pants down (literally or otherwise). A congressman or a winning football coach caught with his pants down is not just another guy caught with his pants down. Power and privilege are dangerous escorts. They not only take you farther out on “The Edge”, they take you farther up. And when you fall, the fall is indeed great. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put you back together again.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good News

It has been brought to my attention that most of my recent blog postings have tended toward negativity and sarcasm with a heavy dose of dark humor. That’s just my style. I tend to go through life with low expectations and skepticism that any good thing will not last very long. Of course, I have heard that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. I can only surmise that my love for Him must somehow be lacking. Thus, I am at once both a believer and a doubter, much like the old Danish philosopher/theologian Soren Kierkegaard who wrote, “If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I DO NOT believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I MUST believe.”

He also asked this question: “What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears?”

So I have learned not to hope long for too much, nor to enjoy a victory beyond tomorrow. That new wears off quicker than old and that “yes” is just as likely to mean “no” or “maybe” once you have read the fine print. Things are never as bad as you think they are…they are usually worse. And at the end of this movie, all of the actors are dead. But the most important thing I’ve learned is that God is God and I am not. I still don’t understand why bad things happen to innocent people and I can’t explain why the world is so screwed up other than it probably has something to do with gravity and a lot to do with human selfishness and plain old-fashioned sin.

But I do know why this is such a special time of the year. It is when we remember that over two thousand years ago God became one of us, was crucified by us, died for us and on the third day arose and is with us. This is Good News and the one great Truth that even doubters and skeptics can believe in.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Another Shot In The Dark

Anybody hear about a 17 year old kid being shot and killed in Sanford, Florida?
Did anybody NOT hear about it? I’ve really heard about enough and I think it’s ridiculous that the left-leaning media and all the “ain’t we got it awful” whiners are using Trayvon Martin’s death to push their gun control and social justice agendas.

However, I may fool some of you with my position on this specific event. Based on what I’ve heard thus far (and I’m sure it’s not the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but I’ll bet it’s pretty close), George Zimmerman was at fault. And, I don’t necessarily think it was a racist deal. My gut tells me that Zimmerman would have pursued the kid regardless of color. And, if a guy in plain clothes jumps out of an unmarked vehicle and starts chasing me, I might have reacted the same way Trayvon Martin reacted. There’s just no way to make Trayvon Martin look like the bad guy here. Zimmerman was told by the police, not to pursue, and he ignored the order. Sounds to me like an over-zealous, wanna-be cop just figuring that this tall person in a hoodie needed to be checked out. When Trayvon didn’t stop and raise his hands (and I don’t blame him for not stopping and raising his hands), it turned into a chase, a fight and a deadly shooting. All senseless and all on George Zimmerman. To all my fellow rednecks out there, I’m sorry but that’s how I see it. And, yes, Zimmerman should have been arrested.

Now for the collateral damage report. Once again the progressives will go after gun owners, their rights to carry guns, various “stand your ground” laws and the inherent racism that infects all us “gun people”. As usual, they will take a situation that could be used as a real, albeit tragic, teaching moment and turn into a political fuse. It’s so sad.

What we should be talking about is educating citizens (that would include appointed neighborhood watchers as well as the rest of us) about what we should and should not do when we see suspicious activity. Don’t try to get in my head and guilt me about what I may consider suspicious activity. Just make sure I respond appropriately when I think I see it. For most of us, it’s not about race. It’s about experience and observation. (For example, I am very much inclined to be suspicious of a tatted up white guy with meth mouth.) I don’t know if I would have been suspicious of Trayvon Martin or any tall guy in a hoodie, regardless of their race. It would depend on the situation. I doubt that I would have called the police even if I had been suspicious. Again, it would depend on the situation. I definitely know that I would not have chased him down and put us both in danger.

The progressives will argue that if Zimmerman had not been carrying a gun, he probably would not have pursued Martin and he sure as heck would not have shot him. But their argument is hollow. There are simply way too many instances where a citizen with a gun has saved himself or someone else from death or serious injury. And no one knows the degree to which the threat of an armed homeowner, keeps the bad guys from kicking down the door. But because we are missing the real point of the Trayvon Martin tragedy; over-zealous wanna-be cops and well-intentioned, sometimes well-armed citizens will continue to step over the line and do something really stupid and often deadly.