It’s an age old saying, apparently dating back to the mid-19th century. It’s as valuable a statement then, as it is now - and definitely one I believe should be applied to recruiting. How can one judge a person's true ability to perform a job simply by looking at a few pages of text?
As professional recruiters, we often hear from candidates, “why did you reject me, this role fits me perfectly." It’s sometimes very difficult to answer that question without sounding like a complete fool. If we’re honest the response would probably look something like this:
“it’s because your CV didn’t match the words or phrases in the job description”
Terrible isn’t it?
This goes back to one of my earlier posts – 'The End of the CV?' – I believe that in the modern world with all the tools, data and analytics available that there needs to be smarter and more accurate ways of determining a candidate's suitability for a role. If you've read my earlier blogs, you'll know there is.
Businesses are missing out on great talent
I know this for a fact. Throughout my recruiting career I’ve interviewed some fantastic candidates who I knew were ideal for my client. Not only could they perform the role but culturally they were a great match. I would then send the CV along with my synopsis to the client only for the CV to be rejected as it wasn’t a close enough match to the job description (or, there was an element of unconscious bias from something on the CV).
I hear some recruiters saying:
“well you weren’t close enough to your client,”
“you should have got the candidate to modify the CV.”
Two valid points. However, firstly, with those customers who use vendor management systems and portals one has very little flexibility. Now, as for modifying a CV – if there’s any element of unconscious bias on the candidate’s previous company, background or anything else, then changing the CV to contain a few key words isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference.
Whichever way you look at it; this method of recruiting is flawed. It forces internal and external recruiters to focus on matching CV’s rather than people.
Don’t get me wrong – of course there needs to be an element of qualification at the early stages of a process. If a role requires a certain professional qualification or a specific skill set, then of course that needs to be screened for. The question then arises with the remaining, say 100+ people, all with the right skill sets and/or qualifications - how do you identify a shortlist without either relying on the (flawed) CV or interviewing every single one?