Just a Number in the System

Nowadays we seem to define ourselves by numbers. Especially women have a talent to rack their brains over the way they look, their size and weight. Men, on the other hand measure the circumferences of their

muscles or they compare the width of their beer bellies.
In school the coolest guy was the one, who was able to jump the highest, throw the widest and run the fastest.  – Later on in university you are under pressure to achieve high grates to keep up with your fellow students, as you don´t want to miss the possibility to show that you belong to the best.
All these things: size, weight, circumference of muscle mass, athletic achievements and grades are just a list of numbers, which do not make up a character or a personality.

Anyway this way of thinking does not end with graduating from university. Quite the opposite, as it is gains importance in our working lives. Before the recruiter gets to know you he just has your application with all the facts and numbers in it. So the individual interpretation of your resume is his only basis to judge on you.
The question is what impact numbers really have on hiring? Do the hiring managers just rely on them or are they willing to see behind the curtain?

The truth is that the selection process of the candidates got a new dimension with the increasing importance of the web. As companies already developed web-based reference systems which gather all the information that can be found about you in the web. Moreover networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn created a new rich information source for Human Recourses Management. Does this even put more pressure on us – as jobs applicants? Thus you have to have both a flawless application and a perfect image in the web. That is why you should always be aware of the information that you and others leave about you in this huge open book.
Have you ever `googled´ your own name? You might be surprised what you find out about yourself. And keep in mind what kind of first impression a recruiter could have by going through all this information and images about you.

Is this the first step to get away from the numbers, as social media enables recruiters to look beyond the resume or is it a dangerous step into a world where you might be judged for everything you ever did in your life?
This question should we all asked and answer for ourselves . But one thing is for sure it can be seen as a new trend to include the personality of an applicant in the hiring decisions process. This is reflected by the gaining importance of the so called `soft skills´ every company looks for in a potential hire.
It is no longer enough to be a functional expert. As a manager who is just able to deal with numbers certainly does not belong to best leaders. The Administrative and Financial Skills a just a fractional amount of the skills you need as a manager. Thus the soft skills, such as communication, listening skills, empathy and persuasion are far more important. If you know what you are doing as a manager and can´t properly communicate it to anyone else you will never be a good manager. The only way to really find out what is going on in an organization is to listen to the employees. Furthermore manager need to understand how people feel, why they fell that way and what they could do to make them feel differently.
This proves that we are not just a number in the system. As all this skills are expressed by your personality and can´t be seen by numbers.
Southwest Airlines is a good example for this new way of thinking. As Colleen Barett the President and Corporate Secretary said: “We say we hire for attitude and we train for skill… no matter how many letters of recommendation, if there was something about their attitude or behavior during the interview process that turned us off and that said he wouldn’t be a good fit.”

Let us try to tackle the same route as the Human Resources Department of `Southwest Airlines´ and be less influenced by numbers. – Due to the fact that beauty is not defined by weight, which is definitely proven by women like Marilyn Monroe.
Furthermore your intelligence is not defined by your grades in school or university. That is why you should disengage yourself from the pressure in our society, find your own identity and be happy with it.

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4 responses to “Just a Number in the System

  1. Hey Korinna, I really like how you always pick topics that really concern all of us and are therefore very interesting! You did a really good job with the structure of your blog, because you gave a general introduction of what you are getting at and then went into the specific details which you think are important for us to now. That you managed to connect your ideas to the text we read on Southwest Airlines was brilliant. If the topic fits, I would love to see some pictures or videos in your next post!

  2. Hey Korinna,
    I especially like how you introduced your blog with the comparison of the use of numbers among men and women. It is quite incredible when I think about the number of situations where we use numbers in our lives. (even in this sentence I used the word “number” twice ;D ). You have made your blog very nice to read. By the way when I googled my name, I found an author who is also called Johanna Straub and I found something about “Johanna Straub Naturkosmetik” and I found this quite funny.
    This is another post for which I do not have some improving suggestions to add, I like it! 😉

  3. Pingback: Future without qualification? « hit the nail on the top·

  4. Hey Korinna,
    After reading Melissa’s blog post, I was very curious to see what your post was about, since she quoted you.
    I like how you start your blog post in a very humorous way. The way you exaggerate our present society made me want to read more.
    I have already heard about recruiters searching information about you after reading your application. I find that very scary. It is incredible how much information we put VOLUNTARILY on our facebook accounts. I have read that facebook sells all the data they have. So it is very likely for your future boss to gather a lot of information about you before you’ve even started the job.
    However, I have to admit that when I google my name, it is only one website that I find and this is my father’s one. Since he is an artist and has a great internet presence, he mentioned me in his biography 😉
    I think the topic you have chosen has a great appeal to our generation. However, you could have linked some of the sources you have read, so that I could read further on that topic?!
    Moreover, it is great that you referred to the case study we have read about Southwest. It really seems like they are looking at the person and not at any extraordinary qualification, since they want to provide a high customer service. I think you are right that soft skills are becoming more and more important. Or at least I hope that it’s not all about good grades 😉

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