At a recent HR gathering one of the folks in attendance shared the story of a resume he had recently been shown. The resume, received by yet another HR colleague, was a one page document written as such:
My name is John Doe. This is my resume.
My name: John Doe
My wife name: Mary Doe
My father name: Bill Doe
My mother name: Sally Doe
My birthday: March 1, 1955
My church: St. John’s
My jobs: ABC and XYZ
My reference: Alice Doe
This is not an exaggeration. This was how the resume was formatted and the content/spelling that was included.
This gentleman had a work history and background that is quite common in my area, and, let’s face it, most everywhere. He’s worked in general maintenance/ handyman/laborer roles for decades. You may note he had no hesitation in listing his birthday and at 59 years of age he’s got a few years of working ahead of him; he quite possibly anticipates working until the day arrives when he just stops drawing breathe.
After all the initial “oh my god, how can people submit a resume like that?’ chit chat around the table died down I pointed out that this was, in my estimation, more than likely the first resume this man had every put together. I’m quite sure that for all his working life he was able to find a job by walking into a company, completing a paper application, and landing a gig. I theorized that he was looking for work, admonished by the HR lady to send in his resume, and so he approached a family member or friend to help him put something together. And, quite obviously, the person who did this for him had never compiled a resume either. At some company where this guy wanted to work an ATS demanded to be fed or a hiring manager insisted upon seeing a piece of paper.
I get it.
I just wonder – and worry – about ensuring access to jobs for people who don’t spend their days updating their resume or wondering if their online personal brand is sufficiently optimized.
There are solutions out there that focus on connecting the “hourly” job seeker with employers: Snag a Job is a well known job board and Apploi has an app that provides job seekers with the ability to create and store a profile which can then be used to “apply” for various positions at any number of companies.
As I was intrigued with the whole scenario and to satisfy my curiosity I went poking around for some local positions that might be of interest to John Doe. After finding a Front End Loader opening (full or part time!) I set off to begin the online application process with the local staffing agency filling the position. I appreciated that the application did not require me to key-in a lot of information (I only had to input name and contact information) but then I was asked to attach my resume.
Perhaps something like that occurred to John Doe.
I think it’s important for folks in the HR and Recruiting space who like to discuss sexy things like mobile, social employee referrals, and the candidate experience to remember that we need to focus on all job seekers. It seems to me that many of the conversations, whitepapers and conference sessions around this topic always concern either the need to find candidates for high-demand tech positions or the experience for candidates at glamorous global companies. There are, indeed, large retail or service companies employing tens of thousands of hourly workers who do pay attention to the process across the spectrum of their workforce; read this post about Sears as an example.
And yes, drop-off rates are discussed and some organizations are tracking and attempting to improve the process to minimize frustrations for job seekers – which is great; for every John Doe who takes a pause, types up a resume, and goes back to continue the application process there are a high number of job seekers who move on to something else.
But I wonder… when John Doe the Front End Loader drops off does it cause the same level of consternation as it does when Joe the Java Developer does?