When faced with comprehending hundreds of CVs, it can appear a daunting and overwhelming task. But it does not have to be, reading a CV doesn't have to take any more than 2 minutes if you can master these tips and tricks.
Tip One: Start from the bottom
To paint the perfect picture of a candidate, it is important that you start right from the bottom. Ideally, this is where the education section is situated.
Not only does starting here give you an insight into their academic achievements, but it also tells you how old they are - allowing you to contextualise their work experience within a time frame.
Additionally, if the candidate furthered their education, their true interests become evident in their subject choices. Almost immediately, the person comes to life off the page, and their fit comes into view.
Tip Two: Pay attention to tenure
A good CV will make length of tenure noticeably clear because it's one of the most concrete and inarguable examples of success in that given role.
Take note of how long a candidate was in their positions - and if they were there for multiple years, was there any internal promotion? Ideally someone is able to boast a solid stint in each of their roles, but this isn't always the case.
If time periods appear short, we need to once again situate this within the time frame we have built. For instance, if a candidate spends a year in a role, and follows that with a two-year run in another, could we boil this down to them being young? Ambitious?
On the other hand, if tenure does not seem to be lasting more than 3-6 months, this could indicate that an individual struggles to fit into a team, or to pick up the responsibilities of the role.
Tip Three: Don’t be afraid of gaps
When taking note of tenure, it is best to also take note of any gaps at the same time. Gaps are nothing to be concerned about and can often be explained with a simple phone call.
Sometimes candidates feel as though noting these gaps is a hindrance to them, when in actuality it can often add more to their character profile. Perhaps they took a year to travel, or to focus on their mental wellbeing: both instances shed light on the person’s disposition. In any case, gaps are worth noting and/ or investigating, they should never be ignored.
Tip Four: Don't be afraid to GOOGLE
An effective way to decipher the calibre of a candidate is to take note of who they have been working for. And in that same vein, if you do not recognise a company name, do not hesitate to google it so you're able to gauge the types of industries your candidate has been working in.
Staying in the dark about these details is unhelpful and can leave you missing out on a really good candidate.
Tip Five: Take note of overlaps
Another element of a CV that can be easy to miss is overlaps in work experience history. An overlap can often indicate that a candidate is highly driven and has a strong work ethic because they've chosen to take on multiple responsibilities.
This is another detail that's easy to miss but can sometimes be the difference between a good candidate, and an incredible one.
Tip Six: Read the synopsis
The short summary, usually at the beginning of a CV, can sometimes read as google regurgita - but when this isn't the case it can be incredibly helpful.
If you are reading from the bottom as advised, the summary should read as a conclusion, putting the finishing touches on the picture being painted. Ideally, it draws on how their experience has shaped their character, and what they offer to a new role. If you are in a rush, this is perhaps the section you should forego, however it is worth reading if you have time.
Though reading CVs can easily become habitual, it is important to stay vigilant on these key elements so that great candidates are not being overlooked.