Reading between the lines!

Well maybe they do fit the criteria; they just don’t know how to write a CV.

A recruiter will spend approx. 6-12 seconds scanning the CV before putting in the no, maybe or yes pile.

We recently ran a recruitment campaign for an operations manager after the client had tried to recruit themselves. They received 204 applications. We viewed our applicants and theirs to ensure no one was missed. We only shortlisted 23 and only three came in to meet us. The majority of CVs we received didn’t tell me anything about the company or the role and responsibilities of the applicant, or they waffled. For example one CV stated the candidate ‘looked after the trucks’. Was this three or 300 trucks? Another said ‘substantial when planning own workload’. What does this actually mean? It’s the finer detail candidates miss.

But it might not be their fault!

I spoke to one of the operations managers who had submitted the briefest CV and asked him to elaborate on each point he has made. He told me he had been advised to keep it brief and simple and he could discuss more points at the interview. I explained to him the CV has to give enough information to get him the interview!

Tips for recruiters

• Make sure your advert and job specification is clear on what you are looking for
• Spend a little more time reading through the CV
• Try to think about the wording from the candidates’ point of view. They may try to make “filing” sound more technical
• Have your essential criteria at hand when sifting through CV’s, it’s easy to forget exactly what you are looking for
• Review the shortlisted pile the following day to ensure you have selected the right calibre and skill set

It’s worth remembering that candidates have changed the way they now look for work. Advertisements tell them to post their CV and the recruiters will find them. This means your job has to stand out and sound interesting from the start. A little bit like the candidates’ CVs!

Laura Hartley
Laura Hartley Recruitment