The CV – time to move on or still a vital tool for every recruiter?
Ever since the birth of the internet and we all became attached to our laptops, phones and tablets, there has been much talk in recruitment about the ‘paperless office’- and in turn, the death of the traditional CV. Every six months or so, another article crops up demanding the traditional CV undergoes an overhaul. And while it’s true that times have changed, CVs continue to play an important role in the recruitment process. For many however, they are no longer the only way for employers to compare, shortlist and select candidates. Instead, they should be seen as one of many valuable tools now available to recruiters – but perhaps not always the first step of the process.
The real debate for recruiters should be about how the CV can be used alongside various other tools to select a talent pool. Thanks in part to the digital age, we now have a plethora of interesting and innovative ways to put candidates through their paces, saving you (and them) valuable time. From Skype interviews to gamified online applications, to skills testing or psychometric testing, there is an increasing number of tools at our disposal. It’s also important to note that digital natives, millennials entering the workforce, are more likely to be open to innovative ways to recruit – and we need to be ready to adapt in order to find the best talent. But before we look at what else is available to use, firstly, we need to understand the role of the CV.
What use are CVs, really?
To understand their value, we must first appreciate their limitations. CVs are unsurpassed as a way of quickly reviewing a candidate’s core competencies – a simple way to speedily scan through work experience, employment history, skills and education. However, they reveal little about a candidate’s cultural fit or attitude. And no, these considerations cannot be addressed by an ‘interests section’ — interesting though it is that your future hire took a gap year in Australia.
For recruiters, keeping speculative CVs on file for when a job opportunity becomes available means you have a ready talent pool at a moment’s notice. Your own CV database is a priceless tool to dip into especially if you are not receiving enough of the right applications for a hard-to-fill role. Equally, gaining access to a large and current database like the nine million CVs on totaljobs, effectively reverses the recruiting process. Instead of candidates doing the work to apply for jobs, they can upload their CV to a central hub and let recruiters and head-hunters snap them up. For candidates it is potentially a huge time saver; for recruiters it helps them get a good sense of the talent pool they are working with and helps them really target the kind of candidates they are looking for.
What other recruitment tools can you use alongside CVs?
As the recruitment process has become more sophisticated, and technology has evolved, recruiters can now use a wealth of tools to select potential applicants.
Many recruiters choose to ask applicants to complete an online job application before they even look at their CV. This helps some employers refine the talent pool to their own requirements, without having to read through unsuitable CVs. This has its potential disadvantages however, as employers who send applicants to their own online application forms tend to experience a drop of in applications.
Another useful approach may be a Skype interview so that candidates can quickly connect with you and answer a few specific questions. There are some jobs, those which require good people skills or are customer facing, where meeting candidates early on in the recruitment process is essential. After all, why delay meeting a candidate when their aptitude for the job is dependent on them being personable? In these instances, the CV may become the second thing you look at, rather than the first.
For some industries or roles, particularly those based in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM), it’s becoming increasingly popular for applicants to take an online skills assessment exercise to test specific skills required for the role. However great a candidate’s employment history is, or no matter how impressive their qualifications, sometimes you just need to know that they possess specific abilities. This is where skills testing or assessment tools come into their own. But to know who to invite down to assessment days – often at the end of the application process -chances are that first you are going to want to look at a CV or have candidates complete an application form to reduce volume.
There is no perfect formula, and no perfect roadmap to recruiting – each job and each employer will have their own requirements, personal style and technological limitations. However, for most, it’s clear that the CV remains an important part of the recruitment process – just perhaps not always the first or even second step. Instead, it’s time to start thinking of the CV as a powerful tool, one of many ways to find, select and test candidates in order to hire the best person for the role.