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Are We Witnessing The Death of the CV for Recruiting Top Talent?

Posted by: admin_k4lg0_pre

People Management

As the economy bites harder, and as the job market experiences the full effects right across the UK and Europe, the competition for vacant positions has inevitably increased dramatically.

This also means that your hiring managers have to trawl through many more CVs to find the finest talent in your industry!

With some studies claiming between 25-50 applications per vacancy in the UK, it’s not only applicants who have some serious work to do when it comes to finding the right job-fit. It’s a mammoth task for any organisation to identify the best, most promising talent, especially when there is such a wealth to choose from.

cv deathThe number of (often very similar) CVs that an average HR manager or hiring manager has to sift through to create a shortlist for any given position not only takes up a huge chunk of their time, but is a task which also begs the question as to how useful the CV is in predicting performance anyway?

Can we really find the right person in the current sea of talent using only the trusty curriculum vitae to light our way?

Let’s go back a few years, into the not too distant past…

Do you remember the days, when we used to employ people almost solely on the basis of their CVs?
  • Right school/education
  • Right experience (number of years)
  • Not too many job changes
  • Right references (can hardly get anything meaningful these days)

If qualifications fitted and the credentials were in order, we hardly had to see them before offering them the job!

Eventually, we also became interested in the question ‘Who is this person really?’ in terms of their personality, behaviours and drives, and then started matching these with the behavioural needs of the job. We interviewed them to ascertain their competences and, together with the suitability of their CV, the offer was made. It was rare to see someone getting an offer without the ‘right’ CV though. In the old days the order of priority was always: 1) CV 2) Personality and 3) Competencies.

The futile search for the perfect CV

We increasingly hear from our clients that they are unable to find people with ‘the right CV‘.

If they are lucky enough to find the holy grail of CV’s, the people behind them are usually expensive and regularly headhunted from job to job. This is because, ultimately most companies are looking for similar things in their top talent. As an example, one of our clients has to employ 800 IT people in the next 2 years and, despite thousands of replies, almost none meet the actual requirements of the job in terms of education/experience/background/references.

So what to do now?

The company certainly doesn’t come to a halt…

What they find is that they are simply forced to employ people on the basis of their natural talents, abilities and potential, and then train and develop them in the job. Instead of searching for the perfect credentials first time, our client focuses on identifying the right personality and then fills the training gaps later. Skills can be learned, but traits can’t, so why not “hire for personality” instead?

This method, nevertheless, then begs the question, “How do you know what their talents and potential are to enable them to be successful?

From checking credentials to identifying natural talent and potential

The emphasis for our client during a recruitment or talent acquisition drive has shifted from the CV to the person and their potential, in terms of needs and drives and learning ability too. Happily for our client these attributes can be reliably and efficiently ‘tested’ these days. This enables the employer to dramatically cut the risk of a bad hire and its grave consequences.

So, more and more we see that companies have to re-think their entire approach to recruitment and talent acquisition in the 21st century. Organisations are starting to use talent and leadership assessment systems to establish needs, drives and the ability to learn, while the role of an interview is to establish a ‘fit’ with the culture of the company. The CV is starting to take a back seat for companies who want to recruit for the long-term, and not just ‘stop gaps.

The complexity of facing candidates with education and experience from different countries and cultures also contributes to the above, as well as the fact that more and more young cannot afford to go to university. This clearly highlights the mammoth task of CV-based talent acquisition. Ironically, there’s no doubt that many companies already have real talent within their companies who might be languishing in jobs that don’t fit them. They might be working under management that don’t develop and encourage them. In these cases the CV hasn’t done a lot to help them.

Would you agree that the importance of the CV is in steep decline, if not already in its death throes?

(P.S. It’s not only me who has noticed this possible decline in the influence of the CV in hiring. Here’s a great article from David Amerland of Hewlett Packard, explaining why he thinks the CV is dying too!)