Monday, March 13, 2023

Looking at resumes for your project?

Working on your project staffing plan?
Looking at resumes for positions to fill?
That may be "old school"
How so?

Psycho drama
More and more, PMOs are realizing that there's a psychological divide among those suited to remote work and those suited for in-house work. For some, remote work is 'lonely' and for others it's inspiring. And for many others, the story is just the opposite; they need the community of office or in-the-field work.(*)

Resumes can't really capture all that stuff; it's no secret that resumes don't tell the whole story, and indeed may be misleading regarding a good fit to the position. And now, with a chat bot on every laptop, a written resume may be unoriginal, if not outright fake.

New graduates
Many 'new grads' have little beyond college to put on a resume, but there are indicators to look for:
  • Average grades, or better shows some prioritization for conventional classwork
  • Sports participation may indicate aggressiveness or competitive spirits
  • Incubator participation may indicate an entrepreneurial bent
  • Work in order to pay for school shows grit and determination (not the easy road, I can assure you from personal experience)
No resume at all?
Now, however, there is a trend to 'no resume at all', or at most a big discount applied to the value of a resume. How is the PMO supposed to work in such an environment?

Some of the answers are in this framework, which should filter out the AI fakes and avatars:
  • Personal interviews that tease out not only relevant experience (in effect, an oral resume), but also tease out ideas for innovation, attitudes towards teams and bureaucracy, and preferences for work environment.
  • Psychological profiles, starting with the venerable 1940's invention: Myers-Briggs (**), but now there are literally hundreds of profile apps to choose from. 
  • Work samples, prototypes, and answers to quizzes or puzzles.
    In the recruiting for the WWII Bletchley Park decryption team, applicants ---- whether lawyer, baker, mathematician, or candlestick maker --- were asked to solve a puzzle in a matter of a few minutes. If you were good a puzzles, you got the job, regardless of resume!
Resume - Psycho standoff
What do you do if you have a good resume candidate with a questionable psycho profile, and another candidate just the opposite: one who really fits the job profile, but for some weakness in their resume?

One PMO went about it this way in a risk management approach:
  • What's the cost of making a mistake and choosing wrong, as would be proven over time?
  • What's the cost of hiring both and letting the round pegs naturally find the round holes?
  • What's the expected value of each choice? 
  • Choose according to the best value obtainable for the organization, usually the highest expected value
How about the college degree?
Only about 1/3rd of adults in the U.S. have a college degree. Shortages of applicants has led many hiring officials to reevaluate the the college degree as an entry credential to a job offer. There is a trend in the direction of allowing work experience and track record speak to individual capabilities.

Of course, in the sciences, engineering, physics, mathematics, and statistics, etc., you could be self-taught, but most companies are not there yet, and don't have the requisite means for evaluation of self-taught in lieu of work experience. 

And, there may be licensing issues as well as certification required for accreditation or insurance purposes. But, some of that may be changing.

Office automation
And finally, maybe you hire an avatar and not a person at all. This choice may be getting there faster than you think.

(*) And those factors are not the only thing: there is the culture divide between remote and office; team dynamics which are quite different from one to the other; and significant differences in the vectors of career paths for the remoters vs the office types. 
(**) Did you know they are a mother-daughter team?

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