How do HR professionals and recruiters view and vet CV’s?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 - Article, CV Tips, CV Writing, Job Application, recruiters, recruitment, tutorial


HR, Recruiters and CV’s

United States Postal Inspection Service
Creative Commons License photo credit: cliff1066

Many people ask, how do HR professionals and recruiters review and vet/select CV‘s?

The first person in most recruitment offices who touches your CV will not be the recruiter in charge of recruiting for that job. In most offices, it will be either their assistant, normally called a researcher, or an officer junior. They will have been given a clear and precise brief to reject anyone who does not meet the basic skills requirements. So that is what they search for, to create a pile of CV’s for the recruiter to review. This process will reduce the pile of applications by around 2/3rdsĀ in most cases.

The recruiter in charge of the job will judge you on the appearance of your CV. If it lacks signs of originality and creative thinking – such as the use of a CV template – you may not get the interview even when you are the best candidate for the job. A basic check here is to hold your CV at arms length, so you can’t read the words – too much white, or too much black are both bad.

Most recruiters still at this point have piles of CVs to evaluate and have limited time for the assessment. They normally scan through the stack of CV’s and throw out anything that is not interesting enough. Only the short list gets a second look. The whole process is based on the content, format, lay-out and originality. It is thus worth the effort to be original.

The four stages of selection can be summarized in the following way:

  • First glance: if the office does not use a CV Scanning system, then a researcher will fulfil the same basic purpose. The researcher will glance at the first page of each CV and if it fulfils the basic skills requirements it will be kept. They won’t look at the second page unless the basic skill requirements are met on page one – a scanning system will scan the whole CV, but only include information form page2 for the database system. The longest CV’s normally end up in the bin unless a full history of the candidate is required. The CV must be three or less pages, and ideally two pages. CV’s without an introduction or quick summary of the candidate and the skills or relevant qualifications also get placed in the rubbish bin. Long descriptive paragraphs and sentences earmark the CV for the bin – ideally, keep sentences at 10words or below. Poor formatting and grammar mistakes are also frowned upon. After the first glance there are usually only a third of the CVs left
  • Second glance: now the recruiter will take their first look at each remaining CV to establish whether the applicant’s skills, qualifications, career history and motivation match the job requirements. The recruiter must be able to identify this from the first page of the CV
  • The in-depth look: the remaining CV’s are visually scanned and then matched with all the job description criteria. The CV’s are not thrown out any longer – these candidates could fulfil other jobs vacancies – but the best possible candidates are picked
  • Final examination: only at this stage that the recruiter examines the content from the rest of the CV in more detail. They are looking for those skills, signs of innovative thinking, leadership, trustworthiness, and specific achievements that make the candidate right for the specific job.

As the candidate, you must ensure that your CV survives the elimination stages and still stands out enough to get the interview. Relevance and engagement within the first page is the assured route to the final pile, the rest of the content and lay-out determines whether you get a telephone call let alone the interview. To ensure your CV reaches the final pile, make use of free CV review services.

Good Luck!

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