This article accompanies The Changing Face of HR.
Recently, we had the opportunity to assist a billion-dollar-plus company in its search for a new HR leader for its North America operations. The opportunity was posted on several networking sites and what we received as responses made us fearful of the job-hunting skills of our profession.
After reading more than 100 resumes, we concluded that HR professionals must be near the bottom in their ability to write effective resumes and letters of introduction. What caused us to reach this conclusion? The following will give you some insight to our dismay.
* Many respondents did not seem to have read the posting as the skill set was not close to what was requested and then there were those whose experience and qualifications were way beyond what was being sought.
* There were candidates whose skills were evident but were not related to the industry where the opening existed.
* There were resumes from Ph.Ds who drifted in and out of consulting and seemed clueless about the requirements of the position but wanted to "sell" their expertise.
* There were resumes from individuals who changed jobs every two years -- not a good career strategy and resumes from consultants who thought now was the time to have an "in-house" assignment.
* Some attached poorly laid out resumes or failed to attach the resume at all. Others obviously failed to read over their own e-mail before sending.
But the resumes that really raised our concern for our profession were the ones that listed how they had implemented various programs, led major recruiting efforts, or improved corporate processes without any indication of the benefits or results.
What business leaders want to know is: What was the impact of what you did? How much did you reduce recruiting costs, reduce time-to-fill? How much did your training program reduce time-to-performance and improve productivity?
Programs for programs' sake have little value in the today's business world. Business leaders want to know how you contributed to revenue and bottom-line results.
HR professionals need to view their roles as facilitators and contributors to financial results of the company, and consequently they need to be able to express the value of their efforts and achievements in hard dollar terms.
Allan Kennel is a retired GE HR Executive that had major assignments in the U.S. Europe and Asia. Lately he has been engaged as a consultant for several companies in the U.S and Asia and does business as AHK Consulting Services.
Jim Williams is a consultant with a strong history in Learning and Development at IBM and GE. He authored the highly acclaimed book, Learning Paths (Pfeiffer and ASTD, 2004) showing how more people can reach higher levels of performance, faster.