It’s time to STOP relying on the CV

It’s time to STOP relying on the CV

Written by Alan Walker

Hi! I'm the Editor in Chief of #ChatTalent. That sounds grand, but really my job is just to make sure you get good content - be that blogs, webinars, live broadcasts, or anything else to do with talent. If that isn't the case, let me know.

In 1482, Da Vinci drafted his skills onto a document and submitted it to the Duke. Who, at the time, was searching for military engineers. 

Yep, you guessed it. That was the first-ever CV. Da Vinci was submitting his skillset to a prospective employer. And even though it looked somewhat different to today’s CV, the sentiment was the same. 

While I’m not here to dispute the usefulness of resumes as a tool in recruiting, given how much our profession has changed over the years, it does seem peculiar to me that we still rely so heavily upon them to make our hiring decisions.

Sure. When you imagine hiring the ideal candidate, you’re probably thinking of someone who has all of the needed skills to succeed and grow your business. You want someone who’s had the training, has the licenses and has done the same job before.

It makes sense. 

But, in reality, this approach dramatically limits your ability to find top talent as you are excluding all the candidates who have the potential to become your next star employee. 

When you hire based only on who someone is today, you miss hiring for who they could be tomorrow.

So it’s time for us all to look beyond the CV and identify emerging talent. But how do we do that? I have three ideas.

1. Evaluate the Soft Skills

When someone doesn’t have the skills, don’t immediately throw them into the ‘no pile’. Look for any talent and behaviours that could indicate if they can develop those skills. 

For a sales role, these soft skills could be relationship building, approachability and, of course, persistence. 

And you can evaluate many of these potential soft skills by going just one step beyond the CV, by implementing skill-based assessments at the start of your hiring process. 

This will dramatically reduce bias and speed up the overall process. And, it will also save your team’s time as you are only focusing on candidates with suitable current and potential skills.

Just remember, if a candidate says that they are experienced, then teaching a new sales process won’t be hard, but having to teach them how to be resilient or passionate will be.

2. Think ahead

We’ve established that a CV focuses on past achievements—a list of facts and job titles that a candidate has accomplished. And yet, we’ve all, most likely, asked potential employees during the interviews what their five-year career aspirations are or where they see themselves in five years. 

Because the type of candidate who we are all ultimately looking for is someone who believes in hard work, resilience, and is goal orientated. 

But to uncover a candidate’s mindset, we need to do more than a quick CV review.

A brief informal short phone call and asking a few specific questions like what motivates them, when they’ve felt demotivated, and how they’ve dealt with failure will help uncover any hidden candidates.

3. Don’t overlook the core values

We all know that our employees are the living, breathing, most authentic representation of our company’s core values. So the key when hiring new employees is to look at those whose values ultimately align with our own. 

Because when core values align, employees find purpose and meaning in their work, which increases both engagement and productivity.

So when we’re reviewing CVs, let’s start to look beyond them and acknowledge that there may be people who have different work backgrounds or come from different industries but are ideal when it comes to aligning with your core values. 

So before you throw another printed out pdf into the ‘no pile’, keep in mind that employees can build up knowledge and skills, but it’s hard to change one’s values.

The time has come for us all to tackle these common unconscious bias and stereotyping that occurs in our recruitment process and start looking beyond the CV, considering candidates precisely for who they are.

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