In any recruitment process, the CVs and covering letters that you receive from candidates for a role form the foundation of your shortlist, and provide the first insight into your potential new employee or employees.

What to look for in a CV

When hiring for a permanent role it is important to consider the following:

  • Do they have a fluid CV?
  • Has their career progressed up a level after each role they have held?
  • If there has been a sign of stagnation in the CV history? This may not be a good sign for a progressive role unless there is a valid reason.

CVs need to be reviewed in line with the objective of the role. For example, if you are looking to recruit a progressive role, with the expectation that the candidate will develop quickly, you should focus on their career journey so far.

If you are looking to bring in someone for their unique skill set it is likely to be a sideways move for the candidate, so look at:

  • The experience they have demonstrated  
  • If they utilised the skills you are looking for
  • The length of time they have been in their current role

When recruiting temp roles, some businesses are put off by CVs that show multiple roles including shorter-term contracts. However, this is not a negative for a temp role. Moves from one contract to another with no gaps suggest that they have completed the role successfully and are good enough to move straight into another role.

It is important to remember that the CV is a first introduction to a candidate and these should be explored further at the interview stage

How to quickly identify a good CV

When first assessing a CV, use the below checklist to identify whether the CV you are reviewing is a likely match for your role.

  1. A clear and presentable format < Do they have key skills that can be applied in the role?
  2. Key achievements throughout their career < Do they have a unique skill set that you would like to bring in?
  3. Previous experience of similar markets worked in < Have they worked with a similar client base?
  4. Transferable skills < Have they used similar products, systems, and processes?
  5. Time spent in previous roles < Have they impacted change in other organisations?
  6. Professional training courses and qualifications < How qualified are they for the position?
  7. Performance against target results < Were they successful in their previous roles?


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