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Are CVs the best way to assess candidates?

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Most firms still use CVs as the main way of screening candidates, but almost the same number have considered cutting them out completely.

Research from behaviour-based assessments company Arctic Shores found that 61% of companies use CVs as their first means of assessing candidates, but 59% have considered removing CVs from the hiring process completely.

CEO Robert Newry argued that CVs are no longer fit for purpose.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: "CVs were designed 20 or 30 years ago as a way of giving us information about somebody that would be helpful in understanding whether they were a good fit for a job, in a pre digital age."


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He added that it's too easy to exaggerate information on a CV, and companies rely on them simply because it's the way it's always been done.

"Everybody knows that you can game a CV; you can embellish information, you can get somebody to help you make it look good, and if you have good connections and come from a privileged background, you can get internships and temporary work that sound impressive to other people. 

"We've now got a document we know, and our research found, that most people are suspicious of. We know that CVs are rubbish, but we've been brought up on them as a comfort blanket."

When faced with a large amount of similar CVs, Newry suggested that recruiters are prone to resorting to arbitrary reasons for picking one candidate over another.

Transferable skills, rather than experience, should be what candidates are assessed as companies look to plug skills gaps in their workforce.

He said: "We should focus on things more about personality, the strengths you bring, the way you look at the world and the way that you approach the workplace."

So if not CVs, then what should the alternative be?

Newry said that a shift to examining a candidate's behaviour should be the first step.

He said: "Let's start thinking about a work description - not a job description but a work description - that looks at people's behaviours. What are the things that you want to bring them to the job that's going to make them successful?"

Once that has been established, technology can then play its part.

He added: "The world of psychometric [testing] has moved on hugely. We should be looking at whether psychometric assessments can give us a data point about somebody's resilience, their learning agility, curiosity and determination that we can't see through an interview or we can't see through an application form.

"That will enhance and augment our ability to, when we do interview, make the right hiring decision. Ultimately, it has to be a human decision that's backed by data, rather than human decision backed by bias."