Do We Need the CV?

Do We Need the CV?

In the face of all the technological disruption, the CV still holds – mostly because no one method has come along to fully replace it

How does a recruiter get to know whether a candidate is suitable enough to call for an interview or an eligibility test? Simple, you say – through the candidate’s CV. Apparently, the answer would seem to be obvious. But that is no longer the case. Over the past few years, a debate has been raging on whether the resume – that ubiquitous one- or two-page document – is still relevant in the new age.   

It is true that recruiters still depend heavily on CVs. They remain in currency because you need at least one primary dump where you have all the applicant details. This may then be sorted, analysed, and filtered in any way the recruiter prefers – human or automated. But as that first information repository, the CV is still the easiest element to handle.

Why dislike the CV?

Employers today wish to place a strong focus on employee engagement at workplaces. That is where the personality of an employee comes to play. To understand whether a candidate would really fit in, employers want to see a snapshot of an actual human person. This is where they sense a lack in a traditional CV.

  • They feel a resume cannot capture the person behind it.
  • Some complain that a CV fails to showcase an individual’s aspirational self.
  • A strong criticism is that a resume is just dead history – all past achievements by a person distilled in a couple of pages. That work has already been done, and do not guarantee if the individual is still motivated or capable.
  • Another school of thought downplays CVs as a collection of data; perhaps fit for a quick glance but not really a decision-maker. Overall, they consider it to be a “primitive artifact in some regards.”

Looking elsewhere

But what could be the alternatives that recruiters are looking at beyond the CV? That depends on what selection criteria the employer wants to apply to filter out the right candidate. Those who would like to get an insight on the personality of the applicant want to look at social media accounts, personal blogs, and online portfolios to gather an overall idea of just what sort of a person they are going to deal with. Research by CareerBuilder reveals that 70% of IT recruiters already use social media for initial screening, and 30% of them employ a dedicated social recruiter. According to unverified LinkedIn claims, every 10 seconds someone is getting hired through their site.

For a more direct approach, recruiters may prefer an intro video from the candidate. It is almost like coming face-to-face with the person, yet without the hassles of a physical meeting. However, there are certain sensitive issues to be considered in this context. A video may open up the possibilities of discrimination and bias. The human mind is complicated. Even before getting to know about the qualifications and other accomplishments, a passive audio-visual introduction might set-off unconscious bias – either for or against. More so because it is a one-way information traffic.

Technology to the fore

  • Some organisations have turned to screening algorithms to find out whether a candidate possesses the exact skillset required. Such algorithms are usually based on the recruiter’s existing talent framework, against which the suitability of a candidate is evaluated. It is still an emerging technology and not well refined to factor in all possible drawbacks.
  • More frontier technologies being used for candidate-scouting include artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology. AI is currently being used within the recruitment and hiring process to improve scoring and selection of resumes. AI also helps to screen resumes submitted in the past for available opportunities, ensuring complete coverage of all eligible candidates. Blockchain enables candidates to manage the visibility of all their social media profiles and background check information, thus providing secure, reliable, and validated data. But this is still far from perfection.
  • The ATS (applicant tracking system), is the most popular hiring technology right now. It is a software that enables the electronic handling of recruitment and hiring needs. Usually, these automatically filter applications based on pre-set criteria such as keywords, skills, past experience, institutions attended, etc. An ATS can be implemented or accessed online at enterprise- or small-business levels, depending on the needs of the organization. Free and open-source versions – that could be customised – are also available.

But let us pause here for a moment and think for a moment. Algorithms, AI, Blockchain or ATS – all depend on a primary information dump that could be used as the source for input data on which they can perform the analysis. This primary source is some kind of form or document – either online or in hardcopy that can be scanned – in which all candidate details are laid down. And that brings us back to the CV yet again!

Not dead yet

With changing times, the resume has dramatically evolved. Now it is something radically different from the list of employment and education history we used two decades ago. However, it remains a vital component of the job hunting and recruitment processes. Hiring managers and recruiters still rely on the CV. it is alive and kicking.

  • Employment portal Monster’s recent “Future of Work” report says that recruiters in the United States ranked resume search as the most effective tool for finding candidates. The report also revealed that employers, considered the resume to be second only to an in-person interview in determining whether a candidate was a good fit.
  • Also, for traditional careers where historical track records of a candidate is the prime selection criteria – like academics, publishing, STEM, banking, finance, law, or medicine – there is no replacement for the vintage resume with neatly listed academic and professional details.
  • For certain careers where design sense and graphics acumen are key skills, the look and feel of a resume is the first shortlisting factor.
  • However, in this era of databases and ATS technology, often a software application is the first to sort CVs before they reach a human recruiter. Hence, it is prudent to ensure that any resume be accessible and easy-to-interpret by both technology as well as the human eye. This is where keywords matter.

In the face of all the technological disruption, the CV still holds – mostly because no one method has come along to fully replace it. And it looks like that is not going to change soon.

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