The (many many) problems with CVs, and why soft-skills assessments are your recruiting wishes come true.

Well, it’s here. The COVID axe we knew was hanging has fallen. More people are looking for work, and that means volume management has become the issue of the day for recruiters. We’re talking piles – literal stacks – of printed resumés sitting in front of you for just one job. 

“The temptation, naturally, is to speed through that first cull. And you’re not the only one: the average hiring manager gives each CV no more than a measly six to ten seconds.” Financial Review 

That speed? It’s a problem. One recent study suggests that a bad hire increases stress on colleagues by 46% and increases workloads for the rest of the team by 43%, with 32% lost productivity. Getting those hires right – it’s important. 

And if you’re hiring for frontline service roles like retail and quick-service restaurants? Oh, man. What you really need are soft skills – communication, problem-solving, customer service, leadership, active listening, teamwork and organisation. So even if you did manage to wade through the pile, you’re still no closer to getting a good long-list – CVs after all, tell you very little about competency or soft skills.

Ok, so cool, but what’s the alternative? Well, we might be a bit biased, but we (and a lot of clever people) suggest turning your process on its head – soft skills assessments first, CVs later. 

Here’s why. 

Hire the best employee, not the best CV writer

Great CVs are well written, error-free, nicely formatted and printed on nice paper. Great. That means fantastic CVs tell you the candidates have good writing and formatting skills. It tells you nothing about their empathy, work ethic, self-management or any number of other skills you need in frontline staff. So, you’re likely to end up hiring someone who’s good at writing CVs, instead of someone right for the role. 

Deliver better candidate experience 

This isn’t anything you don’t know: candidates are also your customers. The experience they have with you when they’re applying for a role impacts on their brand perception. And sending in a CV, then probably getting a form reply (if anything), is hardly anyone’s idea of an awesome brand interaction. Why? Because putting together a CV is essentially meaningless. Unless you are recruiting for a CV writer, you’re asking candidates to perform a task that doesn’t have any bearing on the role they’re going for. That’s some super-bad customer experience right there. 

Significantly reduce the time to hire

By front-ending a soft-skills assessment, you’ll screen out candidates who know they aren’t right for the job, right at the top of the funnel. This means you only have to consider those who will bring the competencies required for the role. For retail that’s a game-changer, especially when you’re scrambling to staff your store in high-demand periods like the lead-up to Christmas. For example, when Uber used Weirdly to recruit, they dropped 110 hours in just the screening process alone (self-five).

"(CVs) don't pinpoint the right qualities... and their dates criteria obscure many talented individuals from even hitting the radar." Source: Harvard Business Review

Get more to go on 

You know it. After a while, CVs start to all look the same, especially when recruiting in high volume – you’re seeing sometimes thousands of CVs from people who bring very similar skills and experience, so what do you do? You scan for proxies of what success looks like – job titles, universities, past employers, and probably? A bunch of attributes that aren’t relevant at all, with your unconscious bias kicking in.

“(CVs) don’t pinpoint the right qualities… and their dated criteria obscure many talented individuals from even hitting the radar." – Harvard Business Review 

Soft-skills assessments help reduce any potential for bias and let you build a long-list based on criteria that could be a predictor for success.

CV freedom

So, basically: free yourselves from the CV. Instead, let some software build you a longlist based on the skills you actually need in a new team member. And it’s not just us plumping for it – actual sciencey studies say the same thing. And in the meantime, you also get from ad to hire way, way faster and end up with people who are right for the role (plus you’re improving that all-important candidate experience along the way.) Smarties at the Harvard Business Review agree: 

“Our research suggests… many service companies, including retailers, call centers, and security firms, can reduce costs and make better hires by using short, web-based psychometric tests as the first screening step."