Replacing the CV is like Reinventing the Wheel

Almost every time I see the word CV mentioned online, it seems to be in the context of either a broad-ranging criticism through to an all-out assassination.

Is the CV perfect? Definitely not. However, we should consider not only what the viable alternatives are, but whether we have really optimised the value that a CV can bring.

The articles I have read tend to focus on a few main objections:

The CV doesn’t tell a full story

No it doesn’t. But was a CV ever intended to be the full story? Curriculum Vitae can loosely be translated (from Latin) as “Course of my Life”. Like any journey with multiple stopovers on the way to a final destination, the CV lays out the stopping points. If a recruiter finds them to be interesting, then they can invite them to give more details about the journey – that’s the interview.

A CV doesn’t take into account someone’s personality

I disagree. The format and length of a CV certainly is an indication of someone’s underlying capacity for organisation, creativity and ability to be concise. Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive measure of someone’s personality, but shouldn’t be discarded altogether. More dangerous, is the idea that personality over skills and experience must be the best way forward. The concept that you can analyse personality and match people to jobs on that basis alone might have some merits in certain cases, but ignoring skills and experience at the outset is illogical. However, the reason given for assessing personality first is often the following.

People lie on their CV

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but people also lie in person, to your face. However, in my view, you shouldn’t begin the hiring process from the negative angle of trying to weed out the dishonest few. If you put yourself in the shoes of someone who really needs a job and has experienced the isolation and hopelessness of the modern day job search, is it surprising that a few people “enhanced” their experience to get a foot in the door? Instead of framing the CV as a carrier of untruths, perhaps we can look at the typical Job Description to find the reason for much of this “exaggeration”. Instead of a couple of bullet points on duties and responsibilities, followed by a “degree holder” and an “organized and efficient individual” as the main “requirements”, perhaps companies can move towards outlining the actual objectives that someone being hired into the role would be expected to achieve. Indeed, there is no reason not to outline what the benchmarks for success in the role would be. That is of course unless the company doesn’t yet know, in which case, back to the standard job description then!

 

So the good old CV (Curriculum Vitae) seems to steadily offend more and more people as time goes by. Perhaps this could also be a case of bad workers blaming their tools and instead of pointing their finger at the CV as the root of all evil, critics may want to examine ways in which they can work more smartly to benefit from the information a CV can offer.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.

Author: Richard Hanson

Richard Hanson is CEO and Co-Founder of Jobable, Asia's data-driven career platform, based in Hong Kong. Recognised by Asiamoney Magazine as one of the top headhunters in the Asia-ex Japan region, Richard is a well-known figure within the HR Technology space in Asia, making regular appearances at industry round tables and entrepreneurship events.

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