Sunday, January 21, 2018

HR and the unemployed within the global AEC

I’ve been reprimanded by some, for taking the Mickey out of Carillion’s people laid off due to the giant stumbling a bit and failing a bit and well, going down the tube a bit.

Ok, being unemployed is nothing to joke about.
But surely, HR people can be a fair game. Specially when they are employed.
When they are not, statement one about unemployed applies.

Since there is so little real news in the fields of the mighty BIM these days, while the unemployment market of the industry is ‘enjoying’ yet another of its unacknowledged heights, let’s put the focus on the HR sector of the AEC industry.

Fundamentally, I guess the AEC people-traders are not that different then the ones operating in other industries – which actually is a problem on its own, but I’ll park this issue for now.
I will also not delve into the various (sometimes frankly hilarious) role descriptions they have been operating under, since I started ‘working’ with them over 30 years ago.

Ok, let just mention some, for the fun of it:
Personnel, human resources’ custodians, head hunters, talent acquisitionists…

Before I get into the real fun bits, let me very clearly state TWO things:
1/ I know off, have dealt with and enjoyed the acquaintance, services and generally relationship of numerous (more than one, but say less than 20) exceptional people operating within this segment.
(You know who you are, I value you greatly)
2/ These people (not) mentioned above are so outnumbered by the others that "The exception proves the rule" truism could be taught at schools purely based on this example, so clear cut it is.

I also accept, that the internet made the numbers of applicants these guys must deal with almost impossible to handle, but I refuse to agree to have millions of unemployed treated as idiots because of this.
Maybe they should be forced to list at the bottom of their ads “We are just the gatekeepers to our paymasters. Whether or not you get selected has nothing to do with your training, experience or skills. It is just the luck of a draw – might as well buy a lotto ticket instead”.

These are my other bugbears:
·        The entire HR segment uniformly pretending to have a foolproof science for finding the perfect person for any role. (algorithms, people skills, whatevers)
·        Companies having their own websites that one must fill out with all the details that are in their CVs anyway.
·        Companies using job ads to advertise their own companies at the cost of explaining what the job is about (KEO jumps to mind here as one great offender, but most of the other multis are guilty too);
·        Inability of HR people to understand skill cross-overs, looking ‘out of the box’ for malleable candidates and catering for people not fitting the mold.
·        Abusing the words ‘innovative’, ‘free thinkers’, ‘inventive’, ‘pioneering’ while wanting people that will ‘fall straight into lines without challenging them’.

I also despise:
·        Offers to improve my CV (why not learn to read it, CVs as well as people instead?)
·        Offers to improve ones’ interviewing skills
·        Telling the candidate that there were others much better than him/her, but they will be keeping them on file; (if they do, they will hardly if ever look you up)
·        Repeatedly advertising the same position even after the position is closed.

Even more:
·        Telling people, they are unsuccessful.
·        Not telling people, they are unsuccessful.
·        Being nice to people when telling them they are unsuccessful.
·        Not being nice to people when telling them they are unsuccessful.

When it comes to searching for and placing BIM people into roles, things get even more fun.
Or maybe not fun, actually really scary!

I am yet to meet ONE truly BIM literate HR person, even after 30 years of work all around the world.
I have been interviewed (or decided not to be interviewed) by many totally unqualified on any/all intricacies of BIM.
I have patiently (or less so) set through and answered to checklists of tens (or many-tens) of software packages the ideal candidate was supposed to be versed in to the same group of BIM illiterates.

I often ‘feast’ on all of the BIM roles they invented (sure with a little bit of help of their just as BIM-ignorant clients)
Revit Architects
BIM Design Architect
Senior BIM Project Manager
Revit Drafters and CAD Modellers… (and many more)

Actually, this is now getting really painful.

My real intent with this blog was to show my support not (just) for the Carillion unemployed but for the unemployed of the Global AEC.

Footnote: I have been looking for a nice little illustration for this blog – but could not go pass this HR lady’s profile and all the letters behind her name …. (she MUST know her job)


  1. Think about it - human resource. Who wants to be called like that? A talented, educated, skilled, experienced and visionary thinker professional? R as replaceable. HR is an industrial term from a different age. Outdated. Irrelevant.

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