screening of resumes by HR clerks, machines

Subject: screening of resumes by HR clerks, machines
From: Mark I Halpern <Mark_Halpern -at- SMTPGATE -dot- TESSERACT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 13:16:31 PST


May I further enrich the broth by reminding you that these days
many resumes won't reach a hiring manager at all unless they survive a
screening by HR people who have only the sketchiest idea of what the
manager is really looking for, or even a screening by a computer
programmed to look for key words?

This can be as much a problem for the hiring manager as for the
candidate; when I was trying to hire people, I had a hard time getting
HR to send me raw, unscreened resumes; they insisted on "helping" me
by screening them, because my time was so valuable. I had to enter a
conspiracy with a woman in HR who sneaked me resumes as they came in,
and then I had to conspire with some candidates so that they and I
could both evade the HR helpers.

Given these facts, our discussions about minutiae like inclusion of
hobbies sound positively quaint; we might as well be wondering if we
should include a sprig of lavender with our resumes.

On another resume-related topic: I find it incredible that so many
people who can't write nevertheless get job after job, as your
messages indicate they do; why is it so hard for a hiring manager to
find out whether a candidate can write? If the discussion between
candidate and manager isn't sufficient to make it clear, and if the
writer has no samples to offer, then the manager can set the candidate
a little writing test to be taken then and there, on a topic of the
manager's choice.

Mark Halpern
Project Manager
Tesseract Corporation
San Francisco

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