Would You Hire Them Based on Their Resumes?

This post is based on Dr. Rick Lent’s Can Politicians Learn from Business Leaders? post about how politicians — who must be good business people to manage a winning campaign — turn into such political {insert epithet of choice} once they get into office and have to manage government.

His post got me to thinking about how some candidates would fare if their campaign sites were resumes and we really were hiring them for a specific job. I mean, we are hiring them in a very real sense. That’s what elections are, the US’s HR department deciding which of several candidates (literally) gets the job. We can also fire them via recalls, re-elections, impeachment, voting them out of office, … and the common people need some uncommonly horrific things to happen to them individually before any but the least of these to take place.

NextStage's Resume Rater tool helps companies and individuals know who they should hireI know, you’re shocked to learn that NextStage has a specific tool to determine if someone is job-worthy or not, The NextStage Resume Rater.

Here the websites of Michele Bachmann, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are analyzed as if they were resumes and we, the people, had to hire them for the job of US President.

Green Pile/Red Pile

The “Green Pile/Red Pile” is the first defense of most hirers and HR people. Basically, “Does the resume make it past a first glance?” If yes, it goes in the Green Pile, if no, it goes in the Red Pile.

Both Michele Bachmann’s and Barack Obama’s websites rate a 50/50 in an HR Green Pile/Red Pile analysis. NextStage’s Resume Rater indicates “This would be a good candidate for an entry level position (in all fairness, most resumes end up in this block regardless of experience or ability because people don’t know how to write a good resume).”

Sarah Palin’s Sarahpac.com site on 15 Jul 2011 is 25% Green, 75% Red, getting a simple “Pass on this one” evaluation from NextStage’s Resume Rater.

Ron Paul gets a 66.67% Green, 33.33% Red, netting Congressman Paul a “You should interview this one and have whoever will manage them conduct an interview early on as they may be a management problem.” Hmm…I wonder if the GOP feels that way about Congressman Paul.

Lastly, Mitt Romney’s website gets a 100% Red Pile “Stay away from this one” response.

Worker Qualities

Just as businesses have Ten Must Marketing Messages and candidates have Nine Political Marketing Messages, so job applicants have six messages (or “Worker Qualities”) they must communicate to land a job. These six messages are

  • They’re able to help
  • They work well with others
  • They don’t require lots of supervision
  • They’re reliable
  • They’re trustworthy
  • They’re competent

So, how did our five candidates fair?

While none of the candidates are demonstrating much of an ability to help an employer, only Ron Paul stands out as having desirable qualities otherwise. All have slightly above average ability (the blue line) to work well with others and Ron Paul scores 100% in this category. Only Ron Paul requires about the same supervision as the average job applicant, all others require more than average. None are particularly reliable except Ron Paul (who literally scores off the chart in this category). All are less trustworthy than the average job applicant save (again) Ron Paul (who is above average), and while Barack Obama is the most competent of the rest and none of them are as competent as the average job applicant, Ron Paul is at least twice as competent as any of the rest.

Confidence and BlueSky

Which candidate has the most confidence? Who's inflating their resume the most?

Michele Bachmann is the least confident job applicant, Ron Paul the most. According to NextStage’s Resume Rater

  • Michele Bachmann – This is not a very good score.
  • Barack Obama – This is not a very good score.
  • Sarah Palin – This is not a very good score.
  • Ron Paul – This is an excellent score.
  • Mitt Romney – no comment made.

Personality Type

What kinds of workers will these individuals be? Will their personalities fit in with their workmates? Here we see that each candidate is communicating to a slightly different audience (co-workers)

  • Michele Bachmann – V10 Rich Persona. Key features of their {C,B/e,M} include:
    • These people tend to talk (either with themselves or others) over a decision both during and after it is made
    • These people have a strong positive view of the world and tend to only accept and act upon information if it is positive or upbeat
    • These people are influenced by the promise of future reward and are persuaded by what they see
    • These people are highly goal oriented, are process oriented and will ignore any training or educational material based “on how things went wrong”
  • Barack Obama – K16 Rich Persona. Key features of their {C,B/e,M} include:
    • These people prefer to experience things firsthand
    • They tend to ignore negative-based information as either unreal or unsubstantiated
    • They are swayed by arguments or plans which reference general or on-going events (events that have stayed fairly stable over time)
    • They base decisions on immediate experience and tend to be positive in nature
  • Sarah Palin – V13 Rich Persona. Key features of their {C,B/e,M} include:
    • These people are moved by what they see
    • They readily act upon information which directs their attention to present problems and challenges
    • They largely ignore appeals to past or future events when forming opinions
    • They are happiest when they have something to do
  • Ron Paul – V8 Rich Persona. Key features of their {C,B/e,M} include:
    • These people need to have information introduced to them visually
    • They like to talk things over with an authority figure (real or imagined) who needs to point out the positive aspects of a decision in order to be taken seriously
    • They make final decisions based on goals and achieving outcomes
    • They tend to over or under commit and reframe their experience as a “learning opportunity” when they realize they’ve over committed themselves. When they’ve discovered that a task or project that they’ve under committed to is complete they tend to think of the time remaining as “found time”
  • Mitt Romney – V16 Rich Persona. Key features of their {C,B/e,M} include:
    • These people need to have information presented to them in pictures, charts or graphs
    • They finalize their decisions by using internal dialog
    • They need information framed in a positive manner before they can accept it
    • They have no sense of time or process

Work Categories

Where our candidates synchronize (to a degree) is the job or work categories they’re most suited for. Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney are best suited for :

  • Auditing
  • QC
  • Analytics
  • Forensics
  • Security

Barack Obama and Ron Paul are best suited for a slightly different lineup:

  • Auditing
  • QC
  • Accounting
  • Analytics
  • Forensics

Can Politicians Learn from Business Leaders?

It seems to me that political leaders have a lot to learn from business leaders. For example, here are three leadership practices where our political leaders appear to me to be failing: Creative problem solving, fact-based decision making, and compromise.

Some politicians have led successful businesses of their own. They must have learned these skills. Furthermore, running a successful campaign to be elected is a test of how successful they are at leading a complex “business” operation. This includes the ability to deliver a clear, distinctive message regarding their vision, but it also requires hiring and managing a leadership team and dozens of staff, hundreds of volunteers, complex communications, millions of dollars and a diverse array of stakeholders and donors.

Even if the campaign is successful and the candidate wins national (or local) office, it seems to me that something happens when he/she begins to do the people’s business. It is as if their knowledge of effective business leadership practices go out the window. Is it because they color all actions by how it will affect the next election? Perhaps this seems hardly surprising, but how would business leaders succeed if they didn’t focus on running the business and instead focused on some future board meeting or compensation package. (Oh, wait, some of them do manage like that, but their companies soon stumble, they get a “golden handshake,” and the search for a new CEO begins.)

As I write this, political leaders from both parties are meeting through the weekend to hammer out some compromise to resolve the debt ceiling crisis. I hope these meetings are well-designed and conducted to generate new approaches, using facts and recognizing opportunities for compromise in achieving the overall goal. But I wonder if different viewpoints on the crisis will be explored in a respectful, productive way that promotes wise decisions. Based on recent behavior, probably not. It is possible to have more respectful, effective meetings and the desire for wise decisions, rather than party decisions, must prevail.

Elsewhere on this blog Joseph provides the analyses of what politicians are trying to convey to us in their speechmaking. As he notes, these are marketing messages. Perhaps they would craft their messages to speak more to their demonstrated skills and specific practices of leadership if the voters wanted to hear more from them on this. (This is after all a job application of sorts). Perhaps we are just happy with the more feel-good statements of vision and ability/desire to lead us to a better place. Hmmm…