Archive for the DFW Staffing Management Association Category

Why Do We Still Accept Resumes?

If this is your resume...

Diana Meisenhelter, a principal at talent acquisition consulting firm Riviera Advisors and president of the DFW Staffing Management Association, and I were sitting in a session at HR Southwest last month when a presenter made an off-handed endorsement of functional resumes. The next week, I received a functional resume from someone with tangential HR experience who was trying to look more like a seasoned HR pro and I forwarded it to Diana. That started a several week discussion between us about functional resumes and resumes in general, finally leading to Diana’s riff on functional resumes on Riviera’s blog.

Diana and I agree that functional resumes are bad things promoted by well-intentioned people: job counselors, professional resume writers, “my friend who used to sit near the HR guy,” etc. But the problem with functional resumes (they don’t tell recruiters or hiring managers what they want to know: what have you done and where have your done it) begs the question for HR: Why do we accept resumes at all?

...this is your employment application.

Diana and many other recruiting professionals tell me that in this age of electronic applications or position-interest forms, they still like to see a candidate’s (chronologicial) resume. Resumes, they say, give recruiters insight into the applicants’ personalities, organization skills, thought processes, priorities, etc. To which I say “BUNK!”

Many (most?) of the stand out resumes I’ve seen are the product of someone other than the job seeker. (Did you really think that accounting applicant knew just the right amount of white space to leave on the left margin of their resume? Or that the engineering executive was really such a talented wordsmith that he could reduce his expertise and experience to a few powerful succinct lines?) The same goes for the vast majority of the less-than-outstanding resumes out there. Most are patterned after someone else’s less-than-outstanding resume, leading to generation loss and resulting in Doug Four’s resume.

Doug Four in the movie Multiplicity.

Really, how many resumes have you seen that start out “Accomplished business professional with a proven ability to…”? Zzzzz. Wake me up when we get there. Do you believe that all those job seekers came up with that horrid line independently?

So, let’s say that two in ten resumes are truly reflective of the job seekers’ personal style, organization skills, and communication ability. What about the other 80% of the job seekers who may be fully qualified but who don’t have great resume building skills or took the advice of the wrong career coach or website? The ugly truth is that many of them end up in the “I’ll-look-at-these-resumes-later-if none-of-the-candidates-with-more-aesthetically-pleasing-resumes-pan-out” pile, including in many cases the best candidate for the position.

Job seekers keeping pumping out resumes because employers keep asking for them. Even with technology that allows job seekers to complete online applications, job-interest forms, or profiles that reflect their knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience, employers keep asking for and accepting resumes.

The message to job seekers is “Read my mind to figure out what I want your resume to look like and say. Oh, and if you fib a little, that’s okay – it’s a resume!”

Why do we make job seekers jump through this ridiculous hoop that should have died with the advent of web-based forms? What value does it bring to the selection process? Why not decide as a company what information you want and how you want it presented and then make sure your online career site collects and formats the information that way and, in the process, take the presentation out of the mix.

Let me clarify that resumes do have a place in today’s job market. As long as employers ask for resumes, job seekers will need them. Also, if a job seeker is reaching out directly or through their network to a hiring manager or executive, a great resume that tells the job seeker’s story in a meaningful but concise manner is important. It is a “getting to know you” document. Job seekers should also have a good resume available on Monster or the other job boards (while they last) or on the job seeker’s own website and blog (which is increasingly more important) so that recruiters’ sourcing efforts might identify them as potential candidates. When building their resumes, they should get the help of someone like Brad Smith, who has been there, done that and can advise them in their job search, drawing on years of real-world experience.

My point is that recruiters should be careful not to fall into the trap of favoring one candidate simply because they had a more appealing resume. Whether we’ll admit it or not, resumes appeal to recruiters’ aesthetic biases and often don’t help connect the right job seeker to the right job. It is a classic “we’ve always done it this way” fallacy.

Slidecast: The HR Pro’s Guide to Navigating Corporate Politics

To give it a little visual aspect, I created a slidecast of my recent podcast interview with Jeremy Eskenazi of Riviera Advisers. He is speaking at the joint meeting of the DFW Staffing Management Association and DallasHR on March 16th. You can register at the DFWSMA website.


The HR Pro’s Guide to Navigating Corporate Politics

On March 16th, Jeremy Eskenazi of Riviera Advisors will be presenting this topic to a joint meeting of the DFW Staffing Management Association and Dallas HR.

Jeremy’s presentation has been approved by HRCI for one strategic recertification credit! This event is so big that we’ve resurrected the Imperative Podcast to help promote it!

You can use the player below to listen to the podcast from the website (mp3 file) or, if you’re really cool, you can download the AAC version here to see graphics and access hyperlinks. This version plays in QuickTimes or iTunes.


You can register for this event at the DFW SMA’s website. Hope to see you there!

Bite Into This: Diversity Education That Won’t Make You Yawn

 Last Wednesday, I attended the DFW SMA’s Diversity Strategies panel discussion at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine. The group of five panelists not only represented a variety of perspectives, but brought a lot of value and insight to the table. Here’s a run down of the panel:


  • Melissa Wallace, Manager of Diversity Strategies for American Airlines
  • Elizabeth Otenaike, Diversity and Inclusion/Change Strategist for Lockheed Martin
  • Gracie Vega, Vice President HR for Gaylord Texan Resort 
  • Sherri Elliott, President of Gen InsYght and Author of Ties to Tattoos
  • Nancy Ruth, Program Manager for Cultural Awareness International

















Generally, diversity and inclusion are topics that can begin to sound redundant to employers and employees alike, but I found the contributions from these five professionals refreshing. During the discussion, they covered several topics including the scope of diversity, recruiting, and understanding diversity as a competitive advantage within an organization. As far as diversity goes, many of us have mastered “talking the talk”, but how many companies actually “walk the walk”?


Recruiting strategies can have both a positive and negative impact on an organization, and implementing methods that take diversity into account doesn’t necessarily translate into race and gender considerations, according to Sherri Elliott. When asked how an organization can recruit and attract a diverse set of employees, she emphasized that although there are many factors to consider in the process, age and generational differences must be thoroughly understood.


Understanding the nature and impact of these generational differences may be to an organization’s advantage, particularly in times of economic distress when keeping valuable employees involved is crucial. Today, for example, more “Gen Yers” place more value on contributing worth to a company as opposed to reaping monetary benefits. 


Another, perhaps more prevalent, diversity issue was touched on frequently throughout the discussion–differences in values, nationalities and backgrounds. From an HR standpoint, it is not enough anymore to ensure your workforce is diverse. In fact, this reality often creates unintended and completely avoidable problems that affect productivity and profitability within a company. 


For example, Nancy Ruth, the program manager for Cultural Awareness International, cited a particular cross cultural conference call she encountered that underlined the consequences that can arise from not familiarizing oneself with cultural differences. This particular discussion, like so many others, faltered because of a lack of awareness–something organizations can help prevent by implementing the right programs and asking the right questions.



Perhaps the main send home in this entire panel discussion was that organizations and all individuals involved in running them must understand the intrinsic value and competitive advantage diversity provides. Greater success lies not only in the recognition of a problem, but also in the assessment of solutions. 

As Nancy Ruth put it:


“We tend to give platitudes for being diverse, but leave that value of it on the table… find the value that the diverse workforce brings.”


In summary, simply ensuring you have a diverse workforce is not enough. Effective articulation of goals, self benchmarking and assessing and initiatives by all levels of management to ensure understanding among employees and employers is the cornerstone of today’s more productive and profitable organization. It’s not only an opportunity to strengthen and establish commitment and security. It’s a business case for diversity.



For a  more in depth look at this subject, check out Mike’s podcast interview about workplace diversity with Scott Airitam of Leadership Systems.