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Hiring best practices: How important are CVs in 2024?

May 29, 2024

Hiring the right person isn’t easy. That’s why businesses are constantly looking to refresh, restructure, and re-evaluate their recruitment processes. However, one thing that seems to have stayed strong for decades is the use of the CV in hiring. It’s time to question the importance of CVs and ask, once and for all, if they are still relevant for recruitment in 2024.

What is a CV?

A CV — short for ‘curriculum vitae’, Latin for ‘course of life’ — AKA résumé, is a short document summarising the academic and professional experience of a candidate. Its purpose is to show the suitability of an applicant for a particular role.

How are CVs used?

Usually, candidates will send through a CV (and sometimes a cover letter) for hiring managers to sift through. They would form the basis for the initial screening, as well as inform interviewers. In other words, CVs are used as gatekeepers to decide whether an applicant is successful or not.

What are the benefits of using CVs?

CVs have been used for a very long time — all the way to the Renaissance era, in fact. In 1482, Leonardo da Vinci produced a document outlining his skills and experience, sending it to the Duke of Milan in search of work. This is often referred to as the first ever CV. Even though he did not end up being hired, if it was good enough for Leonardo da Vinci, there must be some advantages to using CVs.

1. Overview of candidate

While CVs usually don’t go too deep into a person’s history, they are a useful way to gain an overview of the candidate’s experience and qualifications. They act as an extended ‘business card’ that can help recruiters keep some important information in front of them during the hiring process.

2. Screening tool

Most unfortunately, today, hiring managers have to employ some criteria for elimination even before ever chatting with a single candidate — it’s simply impossible for them to talk to dozens, sometimes hundreds, of candidates. When you sift through application forms, CVs can help get rid of those who have completely missed the mark, whether it’s because they applied for the wrong job or don’t have the basic qualifications required for the role.

3. Ubiquity of CVs

Regardless of their usefulness, right now, CVs are the most common way to get your foot in the door. This means whether you like it or not, you’re going to receive applications in the form of a CV. This is what candidates and employers alike are used to, which means you’re going to use CVs in one way or another.

What are the disadvantages of using CVs?

While CVs are used prevalently in recruitment processes, they aren’t perfect tools — far from it. When questioning the importance of using CVs in hiring, we need to consider these weaknesses of this document:

1. Type of information

The main issue with CVs is that the information they present to hiring managers isn’t necessarily useful in predicting job and culture fit. Research reviewing 81 studies has shown that there is no correlation between work experience and job performance: “Even when people had completed tasks, held roles, or worked in functions or industries relevant to their current ones, it did not translate into better performance. The conclusion: experience doesn’t predict a new hire’s success.”

When it comes to school or university studies, there are many factors that influence where a candidate might have gone to study, what degree they graduated with, and even their scores, that aren’t linked with their cognitive abilities, which is what the academic history part of a CV claims to be related to.

In other words, CVs might present information in a concise manner — the information itself, however, isn’t useful for making a correct hiring decision.

2. Quality and accuracy

Even if the type of information the CV demonstrates was useful, it is often inaccurate and sometimes even completely bogus. In fact, 78% of applicants were found to misrepresent themselves in their résumés. Some of the common lies include professing a mastery of skills they don’t actually possess, having a degree from a prestigious university even though they did not complete the course (or attended a different university), or using the title of Director even when they acted as junior managers.

It’s no wonder that people stretch reality on their CVs — it’s not a document that is reviewed or properly referenced, and it’s pretty simple to never be caught in a lie. This makes it a lot less useful when it comes to making hiring decisions. 

3. Bias

Another significant issue employers are facing when it comes to using CVs is the element of bias. While CVs were found to not represent candidates accurately or show information that is truly predictive of performance, what the résumé does do is inject a level of unfairness into the hiring process.

You’re viewing a candidate’s name, which can induce bias based on race, nationality, or gender. But even when using an anonymised CV reader, other factors can consciously or subconsciously impact your decision in a biased way — for example, the use of language and design. The university they went to, or the location where they live, could impact class-based bias. Not to mention the years they attended university could indicate their age, which could add another element of bias to your decision.

Will modern recruitment include CVs?

It’s becoming increasingly clear that CVs can do more harm than good when it comes to hiring. In certain roles — especially those that require specific qualifications by definitions (such as doctors or solicitors), or ones with an incredibly high volume of applicants — using the CV as an initial screening tool could be the best and only appropriate way to use the document.

However, businesses today are aware of the many problems CVs present and are looking for alternative methods to assess candidates, which explains the rise in use of scientifically-backed data points such as assessments72% of hiring professionals are using skills assessments to evaluate candidates’ potential, with a third saying they prioritise potential over experience. The results can only be described as exceptional.

For example, a study of over 2,000 skills-based hires into senior roles showed that the number of women hired increased by 68% compared to the global average — proving that removing the CV and utilising other methods of elimination can combat unconscious bias.

With Thrive Hire, clients can reach an incredible pool of candidates who have already been evaluated using our market-leading personality, cognitive, and skills assessments. Instead of relying on a biased and unhelpful CV, recruiters using the Thrive platform can reach thousands of candidates who are actively looking for a job, with their Thrive score indicating their potential fit with your organisation. We believe that the future of recruitment lies with real, tangible data produced through scientifically-robust assessments, rather than a piece of paper with questionable information — and we’re leading the charge in doing so.

Ready to say goodbye to the CV and screen candidates using scientifically-backed information? Book a demo with Thrive today.

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