Monday, March 3, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #8

Resume Miranda Rights: Anything (no really, anything) you say can and will be used against you in a job search

For this week's blog post, as I'm still no further with the job hunt, I was thinking about writing a semi-reflectively post about a great InsideHigherEd article I read about treating students as customers. BUT, I just had a major question come up while working on my resume just now that warrants some thought: to what extend could an employer discriminate against me based on what I put on my resume? 

A little back story: All throughout my resume, it is evident that I have a lot of experience interacting with the deaf community*. From ASL classes to my thesis topic/an upcoming conference presentation (which studies the college experiences of students who are deaf), it's hard to miss that I have some relationship to the communityTherefore, there is a likelihood than an employer could very well assume that I'm deaf, and just maybe decide to discard me from the pile because of it.

This is controversial to even think, much less say, and I hate to believe this might be the case. Realistically speaking from my previous experience though, I know how much time and energy hiring takes, and I have also witnessed how employers make snap judgments when picking candidates to ensure a hassle-free interview process. Thus, depending on the subjective nature of the employer, including words or phrases in a resume that disclose certain identities might cause them to reconsider a candidate due to bias or prejudice. 

Such thoughts give way to a slippery slope known as the political game of social identity. Race, class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, you name it, these identities still suffer at the hand of those who are in positions of power and privilege. Those who are not interested in adjusting their work environment to accommodate individuals who are not like them. While we as practitioners fight the good social justice, fight, we cannot ignore that not all of peers in the field are willing to die on the hill for equity and equality for causes they don't believe in. I recognize such beliefs stemming from the socially constructed perspective of perceived threat and survival - that goes beyond simple explanation here.  

So, while I have no answers for how we overcome those people, I just continue to hope that institutional/organizational push for exposure to and appreciation for difference and diversity remains a priority.

I close really by arguing that words matter on the resume that go beyond grammar and syntax (which are important too!), and I wonder what is the right path to take in such a situation when we, plebeians of the student affairs world, are at the mercy of the gatekeepers known as the hiring manager or HR? I suppose that if this reality exists during my interview process, then I'm better off being turned down for jobs, instead of hiding pieces of me that are genuinely important. I embrace my identities, so my employer had better embrace them too.

Perhaps I'm over thinking all of this, but if such thoughts have crossed your mind, please share your story with me!

*My interest started when I moved to northeast 5 years ago, and I noticed people signing everywhere. My interest turned into a hobby and a hobby into a passion, and I have dedicated myself as an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing community ever since.

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