26 January 2012

Not Gonna Happen

So resumes are now going the way of the dinosaur, leading to this natural question:
Picking employees that will fit in with a company is critical as government mandates and employment laws have made firing someone expensive and difficult. Also, it’s not cheap to hire people. Weber writes,
the costs of hiring a new employee, which now averages $3,479, according to human-resources consulting firm Bersin & Associates. Big companies, many of which cut their human-resources staffs during the recession, now spend about 7% of their external recruitment budgets on applicant-tracking systems, the firm says.
Even at small companies only 19% of hiring managers review all the resumes and 47% say they review but a few.

Of course one key piece of information included on a résumé is college degree. As firms use technology to screen applicants and select employees, how long will it be before having a degree doesn’t really matter?
As long it’s illegal to discriminate on grounds of race or directly measured aptitude, college degrees will always be necessary.  Thanks to the EEOC, it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, so employers—who are presumed racist until proven otherwise—need a plausible defense for not hiring a minority.  And this is where credentials come in.

Credentials provide the perfect cover for passing up on an unqualified minority because it provides objective evidence regarding one’s qualifications.  If an employer makes having a college degree (and a certain major/GPA) one of the many qualifications for a given job, he can screen out applicants more easily without having to worry as much about being called racist (or sexist, or homophobic, or whatever).


  1. The solution is to create a business as a special kind of group marriage. Then adding a new mariatl partner is exempt from the law and can be hired and fired at will and for very discriminating reasons. And now that the state does not recognize any moral basis to regulate marriage, there is no reason to prevent this.

    HR firms tend to inflate the cost of doing HR so that they can convince managers that HR is a really tough job that they can't get along without and they can't even understand it if they aren't trained HR professionals. The real cost of hiring someone is the overhead of the HR department and all the recruiting trips they take divided by the number of people they hire.

    Applicant tracking software? How about a spreadsheet? In a pinch, a big sheet of paper and some crayons.

    I think the real solution lies with something like a third party certification. Some third party tests the competency and issues a certificate based on the scores. The certificate then becomes the screening criteria istead of the degree. Examples: Bar exam for lawyers, board certifications for doctors, PMP for program managers, and all the A+ or C++ certs that programmers have.

  2. @Prof. Hale- I'd imagine that 3rd party certification would work pretty well since it would basically function as a streamlined test-only version of college. At least until it's ruled racist.