How do you use résumés and CVs in recruitment?
How much should you rely on CVs and résumés? Are they any good at all?
I recently talked to a man from a recruitment agency who had stopped using them.
The recruitment basics
You need to get the criteria for recruitment absolutely right.
• What does the jobholder need to be able to do? (Skills)
• How should they be doing it? (Behaviors)
• Why should they be doing it that way? (Values)
Then you do your best to test each candidate against the criteria.
The whole recruitment process is about letting the candidate show you that he/she can do the job in the way you want and get the results you need. To carry out this process you use a combination of tools.
One of them is the CV or résumé.
How reliable is the CV or résumé?
If you have done any recruiting at all you will have interviewed some candidates with fabulous résumés only to be flabbergasted at how poorly they reflect the words on the paper.
Very probably you will also have interviewed people with mediocre résumés who turned out to be excellent candidates.
You are not recruiting people to write résumés (unless you work at a recruitment agency)
The correlation between the skill of writing a CV and ability to do a job seems to be minimal. I have often helped friends with their résumé and I think I have a virtually 100% track record of success. Here’s why:
- don’t know how to write a résumé
- send the same CV to everyone
- focus on what they have spent their time doing, not what they have achieved
- do not keep their résumés up to date
- do not write a CV for a specific job and make sure it shows how they meet the requirements.
- miss key skills or qualifications the employers ask for off their résumés even though they have them
So anyone who gets their résumé or CV right will look a lot better. Not only that, but if you have prepared your CV and focused objectively on what skills you need to be able to do the job you will have gathered examples to use on your résumé. This means you will probably perform much more effectively in an interview, simply because you are now better prepared.
An old client came to me asking for help with his résumé. He was an IT specialist. He presented me with four pages of dense text. I went through each of his previous positions. I discovered that one idea he had come up with and implemented had saved his employer £6m. On further investigation it transpired that this was not a one-off sum, it was an annual saving – already £18m.
Nowhere did that appear on his CV. Once we’d revamped it he had a list of seven massive benefits that he had delivered to his current employer. Now we could rest assured that his résumé would be at the top of any IT recruiter’s pile.
This candidate was left with a huge advantage over the other candidates, just because he thought to get someone to help him with this process. Other candidates could have been better but had résumés more like the one James started off with.
If you used the résumés as your guide you would easily be mislead.