Have traditional CVs had their day?
Posted on 22nd January 2022
When I started my career in Human Resources, I never envisaged a time when I would ask if CVs have had their day. They have been around for many years; they form a sturdy part of the recruitment process, and they provide a great source of information for employers and recruiters.
This is a question that I am asked many time by my clients, so I thought I would share my thoughts.
I seem to be saying more and more that we are living and working in a different world these days and this is before the days of Covid.
With or without a global pandemic, there is no denying that we are now living in a generation where technology is so advanced that we can do almost anything online. When CVs were first introduced, the internet was non-existent. It was another twenty years before the official birthday of the world wide web so in its day, CVs were very advanced.
And I do believe that they still very much have their place. They still tell us a lot about the candidate and if I was to answer the question outright, I would have to say yes, CVs still do have a place in the recruitment world.
But there are now many other options. We have an opportunity to get to know candidates far better. The challenge with CVs is it is difficult to authenticate them whereas technology allows us to find out about the real person.
What other forms of applications are there?
That depends on how creative you would like to get and there are many options to choose from. Here are a few of my favourites:
🎮 The video bio
Ask an applicant to send in a video of themselves ensuring that you are clear in your expectations. Tell them exactly what you want to know, perhaps give them a set of questions to answer, otherwise you could end up with a lot of irrelevant information.
Many people respond well to visual content. You could ask a candidate to highlight their achievements in graph form. This is particularly interesting if this is the type of work they will be doing.
📽️ A PowerPoint presentation
These provide a great opportunity for the candidate to create a visual interpretation of their skills, achievements, and experience. It could also tell you a lot about their personality.
📗 Write a story
If you are bored of reading standard CVs, ask the candidates to share their work history in story form. Again, this is particularly relevant for creative roles, but it would make things a slightly different recruitment process for you.
Do not move away from CVs too quickly. As much as it may be tempting to try out something new, realistically, unless the role requires certain skills and these can be demonstrated in unique ways, there is nothing wrong with sticking with a standard CV template. It has real benefits. For example:
➡️ They reduce the chances of discrimination during the recruitment process - despite modern mindsets, a CV should not contain a photograph. It is human nature to be a little judgemental and as soon as you put a face to a name, you make a snap judgement. If you request a video or some visual presentation, you could run into trouble.
➡️ They are generally short and sweet - you do not have a lot of time when it comes to recruiting so asking a candidate to get to the point is always an advantage. A CV allows them to do this.
➡️ It is easy to skip to relevant information - whilst there should be a good personal statement attached to a CV, skills and experience should be listed in an easy-to-read format. An employer or recruiter can skip to that section to discover quickly if the candidate is suitable for the role. If so, they can go back and read the other information but if not, it can be discarded quickly.
When all is said and done, there are always pros and cons for trying new formats and it depends on your business, your culture and the type of skills and personalities you are looking for. I would not suggest asking a candidate to submit an extremely creative application if the role itself does not require any creativity whatsoever.
It is worth considering the impression you want to make when you write your recruitment strategy and decide from there but I would conclude that CVs are still, in my humble opinion, the number one choice for recruiters.
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