Do you only consider hiring applicants who have the desired qualifications and minimal work experience or vice versa? In short, is the ‘traditional’ CV still relevant to you in today’s agile working environment?

You’ve probably seen images with phrases of affirmation such as ‘Hire talent over experience’ or ‘hire experience, skills can be taught’ on social media. Are these simply generic platitudes or nuggets of truth?  It’s all about the best times of your past.


Perhaps the idea of a CV needs to be changed?

Let’s think about it briefly: what is the idea behind a CV? From a holistic perspective, it’s a document that is essentially a testimony of jobs you performed in the past. Yes, this is important, but as it stands, it’s only information typed on a piece of paper.

An article published on The South African website comments, “The past gives an employer or recruiter a report on what has been achieved. But the core question should be: What will this candidate achieve for my company or client? What are his or her dreams, future plans, and untapped talent – is there a hunger to evolve and learn more? Who is the person behind the piece of paper?”

Many job postings also state that only a one-page (or sometimes two) CV will be accepted. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I believe it truly isn’t feasible to communicate in two pages what you’ve achieved in a meaningful way that also exudes who you are from a holistic perspective?

In a previous article, we chatted to Rory Theron, an expert in human resources. The proceeding summary of the discussion is based on initially asking a straightforward question, ‘How should a potential employee interview be conducted?’

“From the outset, forget about ‘the glove either fits, or it doesn’t’ mentality. In fact, start with a metaphorical blank canvas so that you can have a well-rounded idea of the big picture by the end of the interview; based on that outcome, you should have enough evidence to make an informed decision.

The point of the interview is to get to know the person behind the CV. Conducting an interview is an art; questions should be designed to directly, indirectly and subtly elicit responses that uncover whether the candidate has all the correct attributes to fulfil the job role successfully.”

It’s vital to understand that an interview process shouldn’t mirror a courtroom cross-examination. When you’re deciding whether or not to hire a new staff member, be cognisant that you’re investing in the person behind the paper, you can’t ask a litany of ‘Yes’/’No’ questions and direct, side-by-side comparisons of their answers against their CV. It won’t provide you with the essential insight into the candidate’s personality to decide whether or not they are a good fit for the job role and the company as a whole. This foolish ‘cold-call’ approach needs to be abandoned from your recruitment policies and procedures.

Two pertinent points can be gleaned from the discussion.

  • The traditional idea behind a CV is flawed.
  • A candidate’s personality should carry more gravitas in the hiring process.

So, what’s the solution?

Maybe businesses should practice what they preach. Take a look at a company’s corporate profile; you’ll find passionate mission and vision statements highlighting why they are ‘different’ from other businesses in the industry. Why not integrate those statements of uniqueness and individuality into hiring practice?

The reality is that we live in the age of digital disruption. Job candidates are more tech-savvy than ever. In just a few clicks, they can find out information about your business. In a sense, they’ve already interviewed you and still submitted a job application. You should take that as a compliment.

A shift in focus is required if you want to hire top talent. Perhaps we need to flip the hiring process 180-degrees and assess whether their personality fits with your business’s ethos and culture first. Perhaps,

  • Design tasks and strategic psychographic questions that need to be completed
  • Invite candidates who’ve passed that stage to a team-building event to gauge whether they can, in fact, be a part of the team. Candidates only move to the next stage if they can level up to the next stage before you even consider looking at a CV.

Hypothetically, why don’t you create a bespoke hiring funnel that emulates the stages of a sales funnel, collecting necessary information that can be interpreted and measured against your specific touchpoints with each member of the management team provides their objective insight

Then, a CV can be one of the determining factors that turn them from a lead into a marketing-qualified lead (a short-listed candidate). All candidates in this segment of the funnel have already proven they are a good fit for your business; now, let’s use the abovementioned interview process and data on the CV as the final metric to determine the conversion of an applicant into an employee.

The bottom line is that the person who exists behind the neatly-typed CV is a business’s investment. I don’t think CVs have become redundant, but they shouldn’t serve as the be-all end-all of whether or not a candidate’s application should be considered. A holistic recruitment focus needs to be developed if businesses want to hire top talent.