Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.
Hidden Value – Second Draft
Grit, determination, persistence and character, developed while overcoming obstacles and persevering despite disadvantage, are the qualities we admire and credit for business success. These qualities appear time and again in the stories we tell of our most admired business legends – those who often start with little – and yet go on to build impressive businesses and wealth.
So why are these qualities largely ignored and stripped from our hiring processes?
For decades now, businesses and employment services have utilized automated resume-intake systems that strip resumes down to a uniform set of present-day “snapshot”, devoid of any recognition of the journey, or where it started. Ironically, these systems and processes were often adopted with the well intentioned goal of removing racial and gender bias from the hiring processes. Cover letters, photos and sometimes even candidate names are hidden to ensure what many employers believed was, and would appear to the public (and courts) to be a color and gender-blind, meritocratic selection process. This initial, supposedly meritocratic filter, serving as the first cut for what are then generally a relatively few actual job interview slots. Sadly, this process essentially eliminates any candidate’s opportunity to explain and portray their history of the qualities of character mentioned above.
Another unintended consequence of this dehumanizing process is that one of the few differentiating data points left to judge candidate qualifications is the reputation of the schools they attended. Yet in the real, competitive world of business, the employee whose parents could afford to hire tutors and pay tuition to a vaunted university is rarely a better employment choice than a determined individual who had to use the public library for Internet access or worked full-time to attend a less prestigious school. The qualities of self-motivation and perseverance when dealing with adversity and overcoming obstacles come not from a lifetime of privilege, but of struggle. When trying to compare two candidates standing at the top of a mountain, it’s important to know which one actually climbed the mountain and which one had to be carried.
Resume. is a non-profit organization dedicated to injecting the recognition of character back into the hiring process. We aren’t seeking diversity through charity, special treatment or unearned advantage, but rather through recognition and value of qualities, which history has shown to matter in business success around the world. It is bad for business and bad for our our country when these qualities are systemically filtered out of our nation’s hiring practices.
It’s also important to note that diversity itself has value for business. Creativity thrives where a variety of life experience and perspectives are brought together to provide products and services to equally diverse consumers. Both business and community benefit from the innovation, motivation and prosperity that a fully diverse workforce can bring.
We invite employers to join us in this quest of enlightened self-interest. We urge job seekers of all races, gender identities and economic backgrounds to add and share their story of perseverance and speak to their drive, character and values on Resume.Black, where they can be accessed and appreciated by employers who understand and appreciate this dynamic.
We urge all employment agencies and services to examine their current policies and processes and to remove unhealthy structures and ferret-out the flaws within their hiring systems that perpetuate systemic racial, gender or class discrimination while denying employers the ability to identify and hire the best employees. Together we can help businesses be more successful while more faithfully living up to our proclaimed national values and dreams.
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