Is the CV dead and buried? Blog Career Advice Resources Is the CV dead and buried?

Is the CV dead and buried?

Doris Benitez
Reading time: 5 min

Polina Montano is Co-Founder and COO at JOB TODAY, the UK’s leading mobile recruitment platform. JOB TODAY helps employers in the service industries find great staff quickly.

The CV is becoming an endangered species and some day may even become extinct, and not before time, say some employers. Employers don’t give a monkey’s if you’ve conquered Kilimanjaro or care for orphaned bats in your spare time. What they want to know is will you fit the culture? Can you do the job? Do you have good soft skills? CVs have become such an X-Factor beauty contest that they’ve almost made themselves irrelevant.

The tradition of CV-based recruitment is being dismantled by all kinds of employers, who are now not interested in CV stock favourites like degree or A levels. Accounting firm giant Ernst and Young scrapped their requirements for a 2.1 degree, opening up opportunities for a more diverse pool of talent, because their in-house recruitment centre was good enough to recruit the people who would succeed. The “CV blind” approach to recruitment is taken by many firms, big and small, like law stalwarts Macfarlanes and Clifford Chance.

CVs have always had their problems. Even when they are beautifully written and present a compelling view of the applicant (and are squeaky-clean true), unconscious bias will always be a problem. You’re not human if you’re not swayed by details that mean a lot to you subconsciously but don’t support bias-free recruitment. So, they’re a Man U supporter but you support City? Ten to one you might feel something subconsciously about that. And it can be soul destroying to sift through dozens of CVs for one job, only to find that there’s no-one suitable. Or perhaps there are some real gems in that pile of CVs, people who can take your business places, but you’ve not identified them because they just haven’t presented themselves well.

And good CVs are just that – good CVs. They’re probably well-written and well put together. But this only tests that the applicant is good at CV writing. Perhaps they’ll be appalling in-role.

Employers feel that CVs are much less relevant than they used to be, and that they can’t provide the insight needed to make a sound recruitment decision. Rich Edwards, co-founder of Repairly, an on-demand technology repair service, says, “Anybody can produce a well-polished CV, but we hire for culture fit and people skills. That’s really hard to grasp from a CV. It’s the sort of thing that you can only get by really talking to somebody. A CV is useless for that.”

Even well-written CVs can’t indicate the level of an applicant’s emotional and social intelligence or the soft skills which are vital for success in almost every job. Soft skills include interpersonal skills, communication skills, flexibility, courtesy, teamwork and a good attitude, strong indicators of a good recruit. Effective communication is especially desired by employers and was ranked first in a recent study by learning provider Kaplan.

But it’s teamwork that’s very important to Rich Edwards. He says, “At Repairly, we spend a lot of time together in a close-knit team. It’s important that we all share a core set of values and follow a clear vision. We hire for culture because we’re a young, small company and we make our hiring decisions based primarily on the fit within that culture.”

CVs had more relevance in the days before the internet and before the more recent digital revolution. But this digital revolution has itself revolutionised recruitment, and CVs can’t compete. New technologies are constantly being developed, and mobile recruiting platforms like Job Today are creating opportunities for superfast, accurate recruitment with no need for any kind of resume or CV, especially in the hospitality and service industries where speedy recruitment is key.

So, how easy is it to make a hiring decision when you don’t have a CV? Some employers sift applicants through online psychometric testing which can also test for personality, motivation and attitudes. Others check through online talent databases. But both of these are candidate-driven and it’s still difficult to get an idea about those oh-so-important soft skills. Rich Edwards feels that mindset is the key. He says, “We see there being optimal mindsets for a role. For example, for operations, we’re looking for someone with a strong process driven mind. We look for that when we interview.”

So CVs are dying. Online platforms are fast becoming the quickest way to shortlist quality staff and if an employer knows what they want in terms of mindset for the role, they can make a sound recruitment decision quickly and effectively.

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