Social HR issues by antisocial me

Today morning my best friend decides to direct me to an article titled 2013: The Year of Social HR which talks about how someone like me will never get a job in – a) technology b) US c) the future.

Each one of these trends irk me because with social technology becoming the buzz word, I see strategies and tactics for talent management or organizational realignment without actually looking at people as real, intelligent individuals with minds of their own.

  1. Gamification –  So basically, after Farmville someone non Zynga decided that clearly if people are willing to show off their 2 hours worth effort on watering strawberries and saving sheep there must be something to it. This has led to proposing “Gamification” as a solution to every problem online. Recently, I joined an online course on one of these MOOC  websites and it had a rather long sign up information sheet. After completing it, I got a bearskin badge!  I finish a module I get a purple badge of honour which I could share on my page! I spent the latter part of my two years in the classroom weaning kids off star stickers and stamps for sitting straight or doing homework. Now I learn Deloitte is handing them out and what more you can share it on Linkedin and Twitter to show everyone your pretty, shiny red star and I hear it will build your personal brand.
  2. Death of the resume – I have never been a fan of the resume. I always found it rather restrictive and fairly insipid with a specific list of verbs (developed, designed, led, created, coordinated, recruited, enabled…). This when taken to the interview would then lead to “I can see you are very good at x, now tell me about your weaknesses” where the expected answer is never “I cook meth or I have anger management issues” but more like “My locus of control is completely centered in me so I feel responsible for everything” or even better “I am very dedicated to tasks at hand”. So yeah, this needed to be changed but what is it being replaced with – Twitter, top ten searches of your name on Google and your Klout score. If I were to be measured on these I would totally fail and that is even if I try.
    • Twitter – I have never been able to share my thoughts in 140 characters (as the average length of my blog posts would suggest) and also I think most of my Twitter followers (all of 65) are pity followers – you know the “I will follow you, you were in my college…” or more transactional “I will follow you if you follow me”.
    • Top ten searches of my name on Google does not even lead to me! When you are an Iyer and put your name in the Google search bar all results which show up are the ones of people living in California. This is not Google’s fault, by the time all the people named Archana and the Iyers living in Bay Area or Chicago are done and we reach Bangalore – I am on page 2.
    • Klout – Now this was a revelation. I had no idea what this even meant but now I hear anything less than a score of 35 (like in the board exam) is unacceptable. A Silicon Valley insider, tells me “Klout is only used by narcisstic silicon valley-ists” and I have no reason to doubt her. It connects all your networks (God forbid you want to keep things separate) and measures your ability to influence those around you.But here is the deal – on a scale of 100, Barack Obama is a 99 and Justin Bieber is 92.  This only makes me think Asad or Osama should be a full on 100 because they could influence Barack Obama himself! And no I am not on Klout, if I were I am sure I would be a 5 or something.

3. Personal Branding – After business school, I would be lying if I told you I haven’t sold myself as the most unique, engaging and smart choice any organization can make. I attended leadership seminars where I discovered to be unique you need to be in the top right quadrant of most matrices. Of course, asking the facilitator how does putting all 75 people attending the seminar on the top right quadrant make anyone unique is not a good idea.  Also, the questioning why you should be clubbed with a bar of soap or detergent can brand you confrontational. This article mentions how the balance between a higher IQ and a higher Klout score is shifting more towards the Klout score. So what you are saying is, you would hire Justin Bieber for almost any job. Okay then.

I am not against technology and I am not against social networking. But it cannot be assumed that it be made the core of my life. Being connected is generally said to be a choice. But is it really if it is meant to pervade every part of my life?

With changing times I understand workplaces change and yes talent recruitment needs to change too. But I see the focus shifting from asking questions like “what are your 5 strengths and weaknesses” to making a medium an end in itself.  What this will leave us with is fuller versions of virtual people living their empty lives in the real word.

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2 thoughts on “Social HR issues by antisocial me

  1. I agree.
    But a great individual once said, “You are not one but three: the one You think you are, the one Others think you are, and the one you really are”. The weights on each aspect might not be the same; but nevertheless, what you are trying to address in this post is the second aspect. I think it is fair to promote what and how society sees you as well. As long as the ends and means are justified. Your resume is basically trying to do that.


  2. What I believe is most people no longer reflect on what think they are or what they really are. It has become one big activity to project oneself in a particular way. It is fair to promote oneself as long as there is enough work to back it. Regarding resumes, well I guess I have seen too many weird, jargonized and exaggerated ones to just look at it for its function. I was just reviewing a few recently and saw that in the spirit of being so different, they kind of ended up being the same. 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. It really makes me think more while I write than just rant and leave.


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