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Why we need to dump the CV in recruiting

06 Aug 17:00 by Mark Baker

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Twenty years ago, the CV was considered one of the quickest and most convenient ways to gather information on potential candidates. Even now, it allows hiring managers to easily differentiate between candidates based on their education background, work experience and out-of-work activities. But despite the digital evolution and organisations’ growing demand for skilled workers, recruiters still rely on this dated framework to judge potential candidates on whether they are the best person for the job.

A recent study by Cornerstone and IDC, which surveyed HR, business and IT managers across Europe, found that more than 50% of HR managers in the UK considered job skills to be a key recruitment criteria over other abilities like education background and culture fit. Yet, a CV, in its current format only ever represents a snapshot of the full candidate story without accurately measuring skills ability. We’ve been exploring this dilemma a lot recently, and now know that if recruiters want to consistently find the best talent for their organisations, the CV as we know it needs to be entirely redesigned – and here’s some ideas on how:

Prioritise skills, not education

With AI and machine learning creeping into every corner of the business world and robots threatening the jobs market, recruiters need to start looking out for employees with the skills to survive the future. But, traditional credentials on CVs such as degree qualifications and GCSE grades no longer have as big of an impact on deciding which is the best candidate for the job like they used to. Besides, recruiters can now easily look elsewhere to find out the information thanks to social media sites like LinkedIn.

Instead, CVs should focus on on-the-job training, focused courses and specific certifications sections, as these will be critical factors in determining a candidate’s skill proficiency. For example, for an IT role, a candidate who explains on their CV how they proactively partook in a course dedicated to computer programming in the past year sounds a lot more desirable and skilled than a candidate who only lists every GCSE and A levels they obtained.

Having a skills-focused CV in the initial round of recruiting can also then lead to better decisions about which candidates should be chosen for the next stage. For example, gamification stages like the ones within the Unilever Graduate Scheme recruiting process test candidates’ skills such as cognitive ability, emotional and contextual awareness, and focus. If these skills can be easily identified from a CV in the first instance, then the gamification stage can become more structured and bespoke to the job requirements.

Picking out the personality

Another key recruitment criteria for UK organisations as identified by the Cornerstone and IDC study is culture fit. More than one in three HR managers consider culture fit and personality an important trait in recruiting candidates, yet accurately gauging a candidate’s personality from their CV is almost impossible.

Anyone can say that they are creative, outgoing and dedicated but its only when you meet people in real life, that their personalities shine through. Jobs where strong personality traits are important such as within the creative, service or sales industry therefore, shouldn’t be judged by their CV at all.

Living in a digitalised world means that there are resources beyond the CV that can help to visualise these types of candidates better. Viewing short video introductions of candidate, for example will give you a sneak-peak of a candidate’s personality as well as an idea of how they communicate and express their creativity. This method not only shows a different perspective of the candidate, but it also narrows the mind of recruiters, making recruitment decisions easier and more streamlined.

The future of the CV

As digital tools and modern methods continue to arise and thrive in recruitment, the CV process will become less and less impactful in judging and choosing key talent. Until the CV as we know it now is eliminated from the recruiting process completely, and reimagined with modern methods, recruiters need to clearly set out their expectations and job requirements to candidates from the beginning. A candidate may not list out their skills or accurately express their personality on their CV unless they’re explicitly told to, so it’s up to recruiters and HR to tell them what they want. And if you’re in a position of influence within your HR and recruitment team, why not start suggesting some of these newer means of recruitment, to see how it changes your applicant quality? The future is in your hands.