Ramblings, meanderings, rants and discoveries.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Talk about Timing..

I just finished filling out an application online for an editor's position, when I started going through my mailbox and looking at the news letters. that is when I ran across this little gem.

Who Lies More On Resumes?

That started me thinking back to when I had a say in the hiring process and worked as a headhunter. I hit many who claimed to have skill sets they did not. Some had no knowledge of the software packages and languages they claimed to, others and far more common, claimed to have levels of expertise they did not.

Perhaps that is where I have gone wrong all this time. Maybe it is not that I am over the magical number of 40, maybe it is not that I made too much for one end of my industry and not enough for the other, maybe it is because I refuse to lie on my resume and to headhunters about what I can and cannot do. And here I was a member of two of the industries that lie the most about it. Hospitality/Travel and IT.

I have spoken to people who have claimed to support packages that never existed. To people who claim to be SQL experts and cannot even tell me how to delete a group of records based on one criterion. I have worked with people who have no clue about emulation and connectivity packages that are considered the industry standard. Yet all of them on their resumes claimed to be experts.

But the other side of this equation, the ones that make the applicants feel secure in lying is the companies themselves. You see back in the stone age, when I was a headhunter for IT and Telecommunications, we talked to the head of the IT dept for our job specs. We spoke to the decision maker. He (rarely in those days were women in the head IT positions) understood that we perhaps did not know everything there was to know about the technology, especially if it was an emerging one.

One of my most memorable contacts with a headhunter was one who was convinced I knew C++. Now I have done some work in ANSI C way back and I continue to code some for a game in an ANSI C based language. Some things are common still, pointers, includes, objects, containers. BUT the OO aspect of the language makes programming much different. (I have done some OOP with application languages such as PAL, DBA, etc, but mainframes tend to like structured.) Well this headhunter was desperate (he must have been) My first statement was - I am not looking to move - and my second was - C++? nope. Yes, my resume has C on it - ANSI C.

He would not take no for an answer. He wanted to know how many objects I had created. How many containers, About pointers I had used. Obviously he was reading off a list of questions. Finally I got through to him that I was not what he was looking for. That to me a container a pointer and a string are all objects. His complete confusion at the terminology told me he did not know programming.

But I wonder how many people gave him answers and he presented them. And I wonder how many of them wasted the hiring professional, the IT manager and who knows who else's time before a person in the enterprise who knows C++ pointed out the skill set was not what they wanted. I learn pretty fast. I do have background in a lot of languages, life cycles, case tools, environments and applications. There are only a handful that I would claim to know well though, even though I have collected many pieces of paper over the years that says I can follow along in a training course.

I know database design, ETL, BI tools, reporting tools. I can make your data turn flips through hoops. I will not lie on a report, but I can usually make it show what you want. BUT I have to know the data and the industry. I will never claim to know understand or know the insurance industry. I worked in human resources, travel, publishing, music and in retail - with a smattering of wholesale. I know marketing, SLCs. testing and measurement standards. I know Unit and system testing and many other aspects of both IT and the industries in which I have worked. Some of those skills are cross industry and platform, some are not. But the two skills it seems I lack is bragging about knowing my job as if it is something extraordinary and lying on my resume. Anyone know where I can get certification in those skills?

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