Pin the blame on the . . . hiring manager?

Screen shot 2012 05 09 at 5.23.34 PM 300x263 Pin the blame on the . . . hiring manager?Yahoo Director Patti Hart announced her resignation from the Yahoo board of directors this week amid controversy surrounding her role in hiring CEO Scott Thompson. Thompson was under fire about the accuracy of his resume when it was recently discovered that he did not receive a degree in computer science as the document proclaimed.

Clearly, Yahoo had to take immediate action to satisfy public outcry, and Hart was forced to take the fall. But, who’s really to blame for the resume gaffe?

  • Scott Thompson! Many critics are blaming the “job seeker” for overlooking the mistake in his own resume; after all, job seekers are ultimately responsible for carefully and truthfully representing themselves in the job search.
  • Patti Hart! Still others argue that Hart is to blame for the misrepresentation; as part of the hiring committee, and as a “hiring manager,” she should have more carefully checked the information included in Thompson’s application.

Although we at believe that job seekers should NEVER misrepresent themselves on a resume (“Are you as good as you say you are on paper?”), we also know that hiring managers have a long way to go in implementing modern hiring practices that are able to quickly and efficiently hire the best candidates in a short timeframe.

There’s a great article on some simple ways to avoid hiring mistakes as a hiring manager (“Eight Hiring Mistakes Employers Make: From Application to Interview”) on – and it emphasizes the importance of doing your research on a candidate, as well as pre-interviewing every viable candidate before they come in for an interview:

Pre-screening applicants is a must for recruiting and hiring the best employees. You can discover whether the candidate has the knowledge and experience you need. You can screen for applicants who expect a salary that is out of your league. You can gain a sense about the person’s congruity with your culture.

One great way to pre-screen candidates using modern technology is to incorporate audio or video into the process. Many hiring managers find it helpful to list a few pre-screening questions along with their application requirements — and then request that job seekers answer these questions in their own words by dialing into a dedicated phone line to record their responses, or to record video responses from their computer. In this way, candidates can differentiate themselves from others, demonstrate their soft communication and technical skills, and speak for themselves rather than letting a resume do the talking for them. This helps to avoid any Scott Thompson-like confusion.

By empowering candidates to speak for themselves in the hiring process, hiring managers are quickly putting the burden of differentiation and discovery onto job seekers. It is no longer enough to post a resume to a job board and hope for an interview – there are simply too many job seekers out there who are just as qualified and even more driven to find a position. Job seekers need to start showing potential employers who they really are at the start of the hiring process.

So, who do we think is to blame for Yahoo’s “resume-gate?”

  • Scott Thompson, for letting his resume do the talking; and
  • Patti Hart for not enabling him to speak for himself as the company’s hiring manager.

In today’s day and age, both the job seeker and the hiring manager have a responsibility to do better. Don’t you agree?

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