Thursday, May 06, 2010

Faisal Shahzad's Resume

We will learn a lot about this poor guy in the next weeks.
Boing Boing claims to have his resume (but also read Xeni Jardin's post and follow the links - I suspect this will be funny, no matter how good the next bomber who gets enlisted is).
For much of my work life I used to read resumes, and made decisions about who to interview and perhaps hire (and I know I was good at it), and Shahzad's is an interesting one to read. And here is how I read it.
His Objective is very vague: not necessarily bad, but this is SO vague as to suggest he would take any job whatever - this does not invite a prospective employer (well, perhaps other than someone looking for some job doing utterly routine work, but it should not even happen there).
The Career Highlights are again amusingly vague. Note for later that he accents great communication skills, always dangerous in a resume.
Now the specific Career Steps (Professional Experience).
My quick read of the Affilion work is that it is an overblown description of doing some minor spreadsheet work on their standard reporting methods. He might even simply be doing data entry. A couple of questions in an interview could sort this out nicely.
The Elizabeth Arden work sounds about the same and 'Financial Analyst' can mean quite a range of roles. The 'Operational Analyst' role description contains a big gotcha though.
Overall management and analysis of account receivable operational deductions. Responsible for reducing accounts receivable write-offs, analysis and resolution of client pricing disputes, implementing policy and procedures to eliminate reoccurring collection issues, negotiating client settlements, evaluation of collection policies at main distribution facility and daily reconciliation of general ledger accounts.
Which is it? Accounts receivable or account receivable? This is someone touting his communication skills and now he has me confused.
Seeing this I begin to think the job was calling clients up and asking them to pay. Again a couple of good interview questions would sort that out immediately.
The rest of his Elizabeth Arden experience as claimed does nothing to challenge these conjectures.
The work for Sound Financial could be simply small edits to a website, arranging taxis and sandwiches for visitors, and asking the odd question about the website. Again a couple of interview questions would expose whether there was more.
On to Education! University of Bridgeport. Never heard of it! A few interview questions would tell me whether the MBA means anything. Ditto the other degrees. But realize that 'Management Information Systems' can be utterly meaningless in terms of any real skills.
OK so now he lists skills. And really none of the 'skills' listed are anything more than his showing he had a course in which he used some piece of software.
Now I personally would never have bothered to interview this candidate at all. There is no hint of having done anything significant or creative. And this would be true if I were hiring for much lower-level skills than I actually hired for.
The most devastating thing to my mind was the comprehensive list:
Cognos, Hyperion, BRIO financial, Truecomp, Funnel, Artemis, Business Objects, JBA AS400 accounting and operations systems, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, FoxPro, Front Page, SwishMax, Showcase database query tools, email tools and Internet experience.
Let's toss in the kitchen sink too! None of these is a computer skill - almost all are simply obsolete or soon-to-be-so pieces of software.
My wild guess - this kid figured his weak background should have bought him a lot more in American society (i.e. other hiring agents read his resume as I do) and that led him into the hands of those who told him how bad the infidels were.
The neat thing is that his computer technical skills were perhaps even better than his bomb-building ones.


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