Why I lost faith in interviews and resumes

Paul Graham is a programmer, writer, and famous investor and this blog on Start Up Ideas was a terrific read. Here is a sample gem : “One of my tricks for generating startup ideas is to imagine the ways in which we’ll seem backward to future generations.”

“…..Ways in which we’ll seem backward to future generations” If you ever wanted to get into business on your own you could spend a whole summer mind-mapping ideas just from that phrase. Now how about we modify it to be more contemporary in the here and now ? Like how about “Ways in which this X practice will seem backward to people from that Y Country over there?

Example : In London, if you have an Oyster Card you can travel on any public train, tube, bus, tram within city limits. Idea is self obviously smart and logical. But if you went to Delhi you cannot use the Metro Card anywhere else in the city. Seems so backward once one has used an oyster. This situation gives flesh to a famous quote by Gibson : THE FUTURE IS ALREADY HERE. IT’S JUST NOT VERY EVENLY DISTRIBUTED.

Now take Resumes and Interviews. I am going to bet that we’ll seem backward to future generations about this, This inane, needlessly convoluted and very artificial process. A resume is a piece of paper, composed by the author, with information cherry picked by the author, given to a future employer who cannot ever verify ALL the data in it. It’s like someone asking you to buy a Car/TV/toy using only and only the brochure for information about the object. No peeking anywhere else for data!

This whole thing is in massive need of re-engineering or even outright elimination. An interview is a short, tightly controlled, unnaturally stressed process to find out if the interviewee can perform certain tasks over the next 2000 to 10000 to 20000 hours with the employer/interviewer. This is how the majority get selected into white collar desk jobs in most parts of the world. But I for one continue to lose faith due to poor correlation of success in interview and role, from my own experience interviewing 500+ people till date.

There HAS GOT to be a better way. If only I knew what it was. I don’t. So I continue to interview.

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