Article by Rupert Sellers
Recruiters need better solution to screen talent than outdated text CV
A Curriculum Vitae, Latin for a “course of one’s life”, used to be a rare document and employers to whom it was sent would take their time to review every detail. This all worked pretty well when there wasn’t much movement in the jobs market. A few decades ago, jobs would become available to graduates and apprentices when employees after 30 or 40 years of service retired. A ‘job for life’ was quite normal.
Today, that approach to employment is unimaginable. Average job tenure is now 4.4 years, and most millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years. Thanks to the internet, employers post thousands of jobs every day via job boards, aggregators and social media, and in return they receive millions of CVs – unfortunately many of which are completely unsuitable.
With so many CVs to review, recruiters are spending less than 10 seconds on each one to decide whether or not to keep a candidate in the recruitment process. Inevitably, some hidden gems get rejected as words ‘on paper’ provide only limited insight on the candidate.
CV writer specialists are not the answer
Given the precious window of opportunity (the 10 second glance of a CV), it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of companies and ‘specialists’ offering advice on ‘how to write a CV’ – and some even charge for the service. Content in a CV has become so critical due to the sheer volume that recruiters and employers have to process, and every word written has to be considered a potential keyword a recruiter is looking for (often searched for via an applicant tracking system). But does a CV stuffed with keywords that mirror the job description mean it represents a good candidate?
Ironically, the most desirable candidates tend not to have the best CVs in terms of layout and details provided. The active job seeker who might not be remarkable is far more likely to have a CV with all the necessary content to advance to the next stage of the process.
Too much emphasis on CV for candidate selection
Organisations will of course conduct interviews for candidates that make the selection, and possibly use psychometric tests, but there is too much emphasis placed on the CV – and many good candidates could be wrongly eliminated without the chance to prove themselves in interviews and tests that would follow the CV assessment stage.
In the many years I have been a recruiter for the luxury hospitality sector I have seen some fantastic looking CVs that simply don’t match up to the person. I have also come across great candidates with underwhelming CVs. Work experience can be deceiving. If a candidate has worked for some top brands they tend to be much more attractive to an employer than a candidate who has experience with unknown company names. We assume that the brands speak for themselves and therefore associated candidates must be good. But I have come across many mediocre candidates with seemingly glowing CVs who have somehow managed to hide below the radar and progress in their career from one good brand to the next.
Looking beyond the CV with video
Recruiters have a big job to process high volumes of candidates but racing through CVs is not the solution, particularly when you are hiring for customer service positions. A quick glance at qualifications and work experience doesn’t tell you much about the person. How do you know what their ‘soft skills’ are like? Of course it is not practical to meet all your applicants in person, and conducting phone interviews could also be a lengthy process. But before you eliminate your ‘maybe’ candidates (those that you are not sure about, but you haven’t the time to include them), consider inviting your candidate selection to record a personalised pre-set video interview. You will gather much more insight and you are likely to make a better judgment on whether or not to keep a candidate in the early stage of your recruitment process.