Another day another twitter discussion about how resumes are unnecessary and anyone who is anyone has a reputation and no need of a paper representation of his or her work.

I don't think that is true.  I really, really don't think that is true.  



Not captured in that exchange was this tweet:


These tweets stayed in my head and informed my thinking when I wrote a post about all these assumptions and how they can work to make us less effective as recruiters.

Here is an excerpt from my musings:

If we unpack this exchange we can find at least several assumptions:  1) Anyone  with an up to date current resume is actively looking to make a move.  2) An active stance implies that someone is less skilled than someone heads down working.  3) People without name recognition in their field are less skilled than those with name recognition.

These are not uncommon assumptions.  I hear them periodically, often along with:   4) "I know everyone doing X, or at least everyone who is doing X and who is any good."  Here X is whatever specialized skill that particular person does or needs and it could be anything from ditch-digging to plumbers to native javascript developers to neurosurgeons - I think you get my drift.

We are so very networked, and we have so much information available it is easier than ever to make a statement like "I know everyone doing X."  We are not only supposed to be good at what we do, we are also supposed to be good at making sure other people know we are good.   This is part of managing our "professional reputation." It is so important some people make a living helping other people manage their professional reputations.  Seeing and being seen is part of professional life, especially on the web, but not just there.  Making a name for ourselves is a basic human drive, a reflexive desire.

However, as a recruiter, I've learned to set much of that frenzy aside.  Reputation is important, but I'll go out on a limb and say that competence might be even  more important.  Our current version of the internet and the web have turned most everything we do into performance art.  We measure how many clicks, and how much traffic and how much influence and how many people know our name.  We talk about the work we do at least as much as we do it.  But in the context of hiring, what does reputation really mean?  At a very basic level, reputation is what other people say about us. It is what springs to mind when we are referenced - a conditioned response. It can be cultivated, manipulated, gamed and bathed in snake-oil. It can also be sincere, accurate and representative of a body of work. It is also important to remember this:  Someone can be very good at what they do, and be relatively unknown.

The link to the whole thing is here. I think, even in this networked world, full of the myriad of media platforms we all have access to,that it is possible to be good at what you do and relatively unknown.  What do you think?

I also think this is pretty relevant to how we recruit, whether we are agency folks, or internal folks.  I also shared some opinions about how our assumptions shape our practice.  I'd love to hear your reactions.


Views: 242

Comment by PAUL FOREL on March 31, 2014 at 8:28pm


It seems most of those assertions [above] are overly broad.

On the other hand, perhaps each of those people making those assertions live by them and if that works for them, then who is to tell them otherwise?

Frankly, they mostly sound like bar talk, each search consultant tweeting to impress.

On the other hand, I've had a few occasions (maybe a handful in thirty years) where all I had to do was name my recruit and the clients were ready to hire.

IMO, as a rule, when coming across a tweet string as you describe above, no one is going to change anyone's mind in such an exchange.

The only way their strut can be one hundred percent true is if they are recruiting for K/F, Heidrick & Struggles, Spencer Stuart, et al.


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