She says: “I don’t like to see a resume where someone has had more than, like, three jobs in fifteen years.”
I say: “Mmmm.”
I think: Seriously. No, wait. Seriously?
She says: “Yeah, we need to know if they’re, like, stable and not job hoppers.”
I say: “Riiiiiight.” And I have to wonder how many jobs my colleague has had in those fifteen years. My guess is more than three.
I’ve had a lot. About a dozen, give or take. Seventeen, to be exact. With titles like Carpet Installer, Prep Cook, Barista, Account Clerk, and Bouncer. I am officially a job hopper, or, as I would like to call it, a Job Rabbiter. Meaning? Essentially, that I change jobs about as often as rabbits…um…hop.
And how many of those 17 jobs are related to my current career? Exactly two. If you hold to the traditional idea of how a job is related.
But you shouldn’t. Seriously. Answer me this: at what point does a job become “related” to another job? Is this a six degrees of Kevin Bacon or a LinkedIn thing? (Maybe it has to do with cousins twice removed). How do we determine when the candidate’s duties at a previous job are relevant to the position he or she is applying for now? Oh, sure,
- Types 70 wpm
- Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite
are pretty easy to figure out. But what about the less tangible (and infinitely more important)
- Visionary-demonstrated ability to think ‘big picture’
- Empathy-Ability to interact and understand all levels of employees from different backgrounds
Can we limit these qualities to just the “related” jobs? Hell, how do we even begin to measure these qualities? A lot of people devote a lot of time, money, bloodsweatandtears to this very problem: the result is countless “approaches” to screening, interviewing, selecting, and measuring, all in an attempt to quantify the “top performers” before they actually are the top performers at notyourcompany.com. But it all starts with the resume. And, according to the conventional “logic” (LOL), more than x jobs in y years means you’re out. In fact, you’ll probably be out if those x jobs don’t also show a consistent upward trend. And if they’re not “related”? Puhleeze, sucka!
Now, someone is going to point out that many jobs require some kind of college degree and/or certification(s). What do I think about that, huh, smarty pants? Personally, I think we’ve been certificated to inanity. Maybe we’ll call it “certifinundated.” Let’s say you you require that your next programmer has to have a BS in Computer Science and certifications in Sun Certified Java Professional, Oracle Certified Associate or Oracle Certified Professional. Meanwhile, your perfect employee is a college dropout who writes code in his sleep and has created websites for his friends that blow away enterprise-level sites. But he’ll never apply because his day job is working as an HR assistant for an accounting firm, and that’s certainly not “relatable” experience. Not that HR is relatable to anything, for that matter…
I can understand the desire for certifications: it guarantees a certain level of mediocrity. It also effectively eliminates many potential top performers. It’s a risk equation: certifications = measurability, no certifications = total anarchy, social collapse, dogs and cats hugging, rabbits…you get the picture. But it’s simply not true. Never mind that the greatest inventors and innovators are often sans degrees or certifications—and they often come from outside the field in which they discover/innovate—how many fully-qualified, fully-certified, fully-promisestobethebestever employees do you know who lasted about 6.5 seconds and left in disgrace, or, even better, with pending legal actions trailing them like a pack of horny rabbits? The short of it is that schooling and certifications might guarantee a certain level of technical aptitude but it does bupkis for indicating what kind of person you’re hiring, or even that they know how to apply their technical aptitude.
Enter the interview! From the single question approach to seizure-inducing behavioral/psychological/justplainpsycho interview programmatics, we struggle to find the hiring sweet spot—the one consistent method of determining the best of the bestest. And here is where the irony gets really thick: the most productive questions are deemed to be those that showcase the candidate’s ability to positively respond to complex psycho-social situations and learn from them. In short, two major criterion form the basis for a top performer: a) social competence, and b) intelligence. Someone who possesses these two traits will excel at any job, regardless of the skills required.
Honestly, I don’t think the traditional Job Description has much longer to live, and five seconds ago I had a revolutionary idea about how to revolutionize it. But I’m tired and my brain is fuzzy, so I’ll let this article make my case.