Reviewing CV's: do's & don'ts - Juggle Jobs

Reviewing CV’s: do’s & don’ts

Despite best efforts, CV’s continue to be the de facto way to review someone’s skills and experience in the first instance. Even the biggest success story in the industry (Linkedin) is essentially an enormous database of CV’s, so even though we at Juggle and others will continue to look at different ways to assess people, we’ve assumed that most companies prefer a CV in the first instance and there are some genuinely good reasons for why the CV has stuck around:

  • It’s an opportunity for someone to present themselves in an attractive light, demonstrate attention to detail, and concise communication – all essential skills for a business environment
  • It tells us where that person has chosen to work which helps us to formulate questions about why they have made certain decisions
  • It lets us know (on paper at least) about what they’re proud of – which opens the door to finding out how they have achieved their goals

Below is a guide of what to do and not do when reviewing CV’s:

Do

Review CV’s straight away. 

The best processes move quickly. They’re thorough but they’re fast. You can only really get that momentum from the get-go. Again counterintuitively this will save you time, a little like fundraising – you’ve got to be in all or nothing mode when hiring otherwise it’s a drag on your time and you won’t get anywhere.

Be strict on the basics 

(Spelling, grammar, CV length, sentence structure). All of these factors can be relaxed depending on the situation – it isn’t the way to assess a Software Engineer for example or someone who has English as their foreign language. Use your judgement of course but anything outward facing and requiring writing, particularly stakeholder / client facing – be strict on this.

Have your Linkedin open 

to check the dates match the person you’re looking at. You’ll also see mutual connections (don’t tap them up immediately for references as that’s highly unethical when the person is confidentially looking for a position) but you have the names for later down the process. 

Message to clarify 

If something is unclear or if you’re on the fence with someone. The amount of times that person successfully gets (and performs) in the role is unbelievable. The number of candidates who would be the candidate who is discarded because it feels too much like work and everyone interviewed needs to be a 100% yes on paper is too many to count. 

Don’t

Don’t do it at the end of the day 

when eyes are tired and patience is thin. CV’s are often on a checklist which is why they fall to the end of the day, but you’re not optimising for great hiring if you run through a crucial (albeit dull) step when you’re tired.

Skip to where someone has worked 

before reading their professional profile. Our brains go for the path of least resistance and if we see someone’s been employed at Google, we can automatically assume Google’s recruitment process is solid and put that person in the “yes” pile. Reading their opening paragraph however will tell you more. How someone expresses themselves in that first paragraph is the most revealing of all. If you skip experiences and use that as your go-to technique, you’ll reinforce bias and simply end up hiring the same people over and over again. 

Make assumptions based on academics 

It might have worked for you in the past but unless you’re comfortable with hiring a homogenous team and all the (performance) trappings that go with that, you need to broaden your mind. Having a number of brainiacs on the team is important, yes, but the human skills are also super important as are creative ones. Academics are just one marker of a specific type of “smart”.

Ignore people

It’s so easy to send a holder and update messages using platforms now, meaning there’s no excuse to run a sloppy process. If you can’t run a process then use a platform that has a curated aspect or an agency rather than a job board or open marketplace where you have to do the heavy lifting.