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5 Things a CV Won't Tell You About A Candidate

Most recruitment processes will start with potential candidates sending through their applications or CVs, and as a recruiter, it’s part of your role to screen the responses and pinpoint the most suitable applicants.

However, you could be missing out on some great candidates if you’re focusing solely on a candidate’s CV and not delving deeper into their experience.

A CV merely documents a candidate’s experience, listing their core skills, meaning soft skills such as communication, confidence or a candidate’s work ethic is harder to assess within their application.

Below are five things a CV can’t tell you about candidates and how you can identify these requirements elsewhere in the recruitment process.

1. Work ethic
While CVs will document candidates’ career history and allow you to explore their overall experience in a certain industry, it’s harder to detect their work ethic.

Hardworking, dedicated and motivated candidates are a must for any job role but focusing entirely on a CV won’t give you this information.

Probing candidates about their work ethic in a pre-screen telephone interview could be a good way to combat this. Consider asking questions about the candidate’s prioritizes in a working environment, how they adapt to any changes or delve into their ability to complete tasks or projects within given deadlines.

Work trials could also be another great way for you to assess their work ethic, going beyond their CV and seeing how they perform in practice. Whether inviting them in for a few hours or half a day to get a real feel for the working environment.

2. Appearance
It’s becoming less common for candidates to use profile pictures as part of their application. Whether a candidate has a professional appearance in person is something you aren’t normally able to review until a face to face interview.

Video or Skype interviewing could allow you to see how a candidate presents themselves prior to inviting them in. Giving you an insight into how they dress to impress or put themselves forward in an interview.

Appearance isn’t limited to the way a candidate dresses or interacts, consider reviewing their social media appearance. Reviewing their LinkedIn profile and exploring any testimonials, endorsements or the posts they share or like in their network.

3. Presence
Whilst each position you’re recruiting for will require a different skill set there are some soft skills you should be detecting in each applicant.

Soft skills such as confidence, communication, and interpersonal skills are harder to embed within a CV and instead need a personal touch to spot.

A candidate’s personality will also play a big part as to whether they will fit with an existing team or manager. Contacting candidates via phone can help you decipher whether they would be a good match.

Avoid just asking questions about the role and the candidate’s experience and instead discuss the culture and ethos within that employer, recognizing the candidate’s reaction to that type of environment.

4. Reputation
The referencing stage of the recruitment process normally occurs after the interviews and pre-screening is completed, but then it could be too late.

Whilst most candidates won’t feel comfortable with you contacting their employer without a confirmed offer, you can assess their reputation through other means.

Probing with questions such as “how would you friends/colleagues describe you?” could make candidates reflect on their strengths from a different angle.

With the rise of social media, it is easier than ever to examine a candidate reputation. With LinkedIn, you can easily access testimonials from previous employers or endorsements from clients or colleagues that showcase their core strengths. Use your own network if the candidate has been referred to you to gain feedback.

Achievements are another way to identify a candidate’s reputation, while they may document some examples in their CV, a pre-qualifying telephone or video call could help you to dig deeper.

5. Are they easily managed?
Fit is a big part of the recruitment process and as a recruiter, your role is to determine whether a candidate would work well with a team or with management.

Management styles can vary, and a CV won’t be able to confirm which candidates will be able to adapt or if they are easy to manage in general.

Forming a strong relationship with your stakeholders or hiring managers is the best way for you to find out about that line manager’s management style, being able to match this with suitable candidates.

Interviewing candidates will give you an overview of their personality and how well they will react to instructions or specific guidelines, rules or procedures within the hiring company.

It’s essential to go beyond a CV and notice the potential of candidates. Picking up the phone and initiating a conversation will give you a clearer picture about who is the right candidate for the job.

Source: The Undercover