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How To Review CVs Like a Pro

Executive Recruitment At Its Best

How To Review CVs Like a Pro


One of the most critical sales documents for a prospective employee is their CV followed by an excellent LinkedIn profile.

With a CV being a crucial part of the recruitment puzzle what should you look out for as your review CVs that land on your desk pre-your decision to invest more time and interview the person in question?

The interview is naturally where decisions are made, and yet in today’s frantic world, you can’t interview the individual behind every CV you receive.

We have looked at thousands of CVs and now know what the essential facts are to pay attention to. We share them with you here in this week’s post.

Formatting Typo’s and Basic Grammar

Let’s start with something fundamental which is a massive signal about your potential employee’s motivation for the role and attention to detail.

To clarify; I am not a crazy grammar geek. However, if a prospective employee is sending a CV for review and is keen for the role they will have checked their spelling and had someone else run an eye over it… surely?

If a CV, you are reviewing has typos and lack of attention to detail you must wonder where else does this pattern play out in the candidates work life. Fact: If they make errors in such an important document, where else is this likely to happen?

Though we aren’t all William Wordsworth, it’s essential to look out for clarity of communication. Does the candidate get their point across in short sentences or bullet points? Rambling paragraphs that don’t get to the point aren’t a good sign.

Necessary Qualifications And The Applicant Tracking Process

The applicant tracking process is industry jargon for how roles are posted, tracked and onboarded; all relevant when it comes to identifying relevant CVs for your position.

I know this is logical and yet can still be missed, especially if you have an open application process where CVs aren’t filtered for you first.

This is the beauty of using someone like ourselves at Candidate Wizard who can take care of this for you, our own ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) is unique in the field enabling you to post roles, track and then onboard professionally.

For instance, if a qualification or skills is a deal breaker then it must be a no, which leads me onto how to create your yes, no and maybe piles.

Yes, No and Maybe Folders

It’s easy when you are reviewing multiple documents to forget whom you have looked at and rejected and who is a maybe or ‘must’ see.

Back in the day, you had piled on the desk. Now with so many cover letters and CVs coming via email create folders on your hard drive and place them there.

Important: Though it is time-consuming consider sending rejection emails to those individuals that aren’t successful. This is critical when it comes to your employer brand that we mentioned in a previous post.

Fact: People talk especially when it comes to saying something negative. It only takes John or Jane to chat to their friend at the pub and say, “I sent my CV to ACME construction and never even got an acknowledgement”, and your reputation is under scrutiny, when a quick email that politely says thanks, but no thanks is all that is required.

What Results Have They Delivered

Though their personal statement might shout out that they are; “results driven and focused”, have they listed their achievements on their CV?

If they got terrific A-level results and a great degree, then how is this now translating into tangible results for their past employers?

This isn’t only related to salespeople. Every employee is recruited into an organisation to provide value.

E.g. “I set up a new CRM system for the sales team to use”. Look out for statements such as this listed on their CV.

Look Out for Consistency Versus Inconsistency

Inconsistent dates, sudden career changes, random and unrelated qualifications or skills, or lots of movement from company to company in a short period of time is an area of concern. Especially if you are looking for a team member, who is consistent and reliable.

Some of these points might be explained away at an interview. Therefore, if everything else on the CV looks right, it could be worth exploring more and still invite the candidate to interview.

CV scanning and assessment is vital if you want to move the conversation forward to an interview. Using these 5 strategies will help you do just that.


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