Don’t Be That Guy – One Page Resume Guy

“If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.” – Martin Blank, Grosse Pointe Blank.

“How I love to hate you.” – Erasure

“Who the hell do you actually ‘mentor’, anyway?” – Bob

As she told me the story of a disastrous recent potential job interview, I felt for her.  Smart, a great career track over the last decade, definitely ready to take the next step up the food chain for more responsibility, and I knew how excited she was when this opportunity first came up.

The interview process ended before it even really began though, and that’s both the best and worst part of it all.

It’s really for the best, because if how it started is indicative of how it would be throughout the course of actually having the job…then there’s no way in hell she wanted to work there.  But it still sucks, because the job seemed like a great opportunity and a perfect fit, at least on paper.

“Communism,” I reminded her, “looked really great on paper, too.”

As it turns out, paper was the whole problem…

It sounded like a great gig.  Management level position.  Growing company.  The ability to manage an existing team as well as grow it based on already existing gaps and needs.  A solid budget in place for all of the work that was waiting to get done by that team and those resources.

She did all of the right things – made the drive to the interview location the day before just to check traffic patterns and make sure she knew where the building was.  Dressed professionally.  Left earlier than necessary.  Got to the general area about 45 minutes early, leaving plenty of time for parking and any up-front application paperwork that needed to be done.  Three copies of her resume were resting comfortably in her portfolio, neatly printed out the night before and ready to be handed over to whomever needed one during the interview process – even though she was told she’d only be interviewing with one person, you never know, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

She walked in, checked in with the receptionist, filled out a few forms, and then waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then waited some more.

40 minutes after the interview time had come and gone (but hey, they’re busy, she knew that walking in, so maybe something chaotic happened, right?), she was finally brought back in for her discussion with the Director hiring for this position.

And that’s when things went really sideways.

She sat down, the conversation started…and she could quickly tell that he had no idea what her background was.  Politely, and with tact, she pulled out the copies of her resume that she brought with her…and with a casually dismissive wave of his hand, the interviewer said “Oh, yeah…I saw your resume…briefly…but I don’t read resumes that are more than one page long.  Anything more than a page is a waste.”

(insert heavy sigh here) …it’s That Guy.

She knew where this was going (note: “downhill.  fast.”), but was still interested in the job and let it play out.  But all of her expectations that had just been set were met in the following thirty minutes.

We’ve talked before about why one page resumes are ridiculous.  And yet there are still those walking among us that want them.  So, dear hiring managers, recruiters, and everyone else reading this…here is what happens when you ask for a one page resume from someone with a great deal of experience, and the expectations that you’re setting whether you mean to or not:

  • You probably have preparation issues.  This played out in spades with her interview.  He didn’t know her background, didn’t know the depth of the experience she had specifically where the company needed someone the most…and there’s no way that a single page could have conveyed that.
  • You probably are not detail oriented.  He said, no less than six times in that thirty minutes “I’m a summary kind of guy” or “I just need the high level”.  How can you possibly be an effective manager (let alone Director) if you don’t have a good understanding of, at a minimum, the strengths, weaknesses and capabilities of your direct reports?
  • Because of the first two bullets, you probably don’t know what’s going on.  Again, this was all too evident.  When asked what the person who left the position did day to day…he didn’t know.  When asked what the team’s biggest problems were at the moment that needed solving…he didn’t know.  When asked what her biggest immediate challenges would be if she took the position…he said he’d have to think about that and get back with her.  Really?  No seriously…really?!
  • You probably aren’t someone that a lot of people will want to work for.  Nobody likes a clueless boss.  Sure, it’s fun for a while because you can talk circles around them and they never get it…but eventually you need someone to understand what you’re doing day to day and back you up…and that’s not them.  Then you’re screwed and on your own.  Nobody wants to work for a manager that can’t provide air cover when needed.

Needless to say…it wasn’t an enjoyable half hour for her.  She walked out incredibly frustrated, annoyed, and was calling me to vent before she even got to her car.  The company’s now building a reputation that they probably don’t want, and as word spreads around about her experience they’re (not surprisingly) finding themselves in a rough spot as people are declining interviews.  All things considered, it was a negative experience all around.  From follow up discussions, she’s learned that she’s absolutely right about her assumptions based on feedback from people that have worked there and worked with that group.

It’s sad.  It sounded like such a great opportunity, and now she’s back to being jaded and cynical about the interviewing process and wondering how many more That Guys are out there waiting for her in interview rooms across the metro Detroit area.

So…Don’t Be That Guy.  Pay attention.  Be prepared.  Put as much effort into interviewing someone as you hope that they give into preparing to be interviewed.  Show the same respect for their time as you expect they will for yours.

That’s all for this time, folks…

Make sure you check out our other Don’t Be That Guy entries…