How disruptive is losing the CV – Many companies don’t use them anyway, so what difference does it make?


This week on the blog, I am delighted to have collaborated with the wonderful Lee Lam to discuss the relevance of CV’s in recruitment processes; are they actually needed anymore? With many companies choosing to welcome more modern recruitment practices, is it time to ditch the CV for good?

With so many companies already trying different approaches to recruiting their new team members, it would be easy to think that removing the CV from the process completely wouldn’t be seen as that disruptive – indeed, many of the conversations I’ve had with companies are around the fact that they already feel they are being disruptive because they have changed their approach to no longer rely on the CV – but that’s not quite the same as dropping it completely.

Employers are constantly looking for that future “star” employee, which has led to the recruitment market becoming increasingly competitive, from an organisation perspective, this is now proving to be a challenge especially when CV’s only give a one sided (and sometimes inaccurate) view to the skill sets offered by the candidate. The challenge for both business and HR professionals, is to actually let go of traditional tick box recruitment practices, surely it’s time to really put candidates through their paces and actually offer to that perfect candidate?

Many companies now use application forms; in particular online applications or those that can be submitted via your LinkedIn profile.  The ability to apply this quickly and easily may seem that they are streamlining the process, but in reality it is a smokescreen.  Though they have indeed made the process of submitting an application easier, it still has the same problem that submitting CVs have – it allows a large amount of people to believe that they all have an equal chance of being considered for the role, when in reality the number of applications is now so unmanageable that the recruiters have to take a variety of approaches to cut the number down (and as a rule, these never include reading every single application).  And if the information required on the application form is simply what would be on the CV, then you haven’t solved the problem – you’ve transferred it.

Herein lies the real disruption suggested by ditching CVs and why so many businesses resist getting rid of them completely – they help create the impression that the recruitment process being used is fair and open to all, streamlined to find the best candidate for the role.  This simply isn’t the case, and through no fault on anybody’s part.  The CV has an intrinsic role in the operational process used by businesses to recruit – it is the entry point that suggests a way of sorting out those who can do the job with those who would struggle.

Yet we already know that it doesn’t give us enough detail about the potential of a candidate – only what they have done before.  It cannot tell us if a young person is the next star of the future, because it doesn’t give them an opportunity to show that.  So instead of getting rid of the CV, we overlay other processes, such as application forms, video or telephone interviews, selection days and panel interviews to confirm that the person can do the job.  Oh, and then when we offer the job, we get a screening company to check the validity of the whole CV as well.  This all leads me to the thought – how much easier could we make the recruitment process if we got rid of CVs and looked at completely different, unique approaches, rather than try to overcome the problems with them?

Changing the format of the information provided by a CV is not disrupting the recruitment process – you’re not doing anything new, you are doing the same thing in a new way and this by definition means the problems with the original CV processes remain. Yes it can be scary to take a blank page to people management approaches, but that is what true disruptors do – they pretend the status quo doesn’t exist and finds a better way. Without holding on to the stagnant, inefficient and unfair CV processes, there are a variety of unique opportunities to get back to the core of what people management should be – managing individual, unique and talented people.

So will you and your organising be choosing to ditch the CV? May be your organisation is already adapting to a more modern style of recruitment? If this is the case, Lee and I would love to know what your practices are, so please feel free to share them in the comments below.

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