While it is generally accepted that around one in four CVs have been exaggerated or include inaccurate information, the submission of a CV still remains a very important step in the recruitment process.

The CV provides an important snapshot of a candidate’s educational and work history and as such, it provides a good starting point for screening prospective candidates.

What should HR professionals look for when trying to identify the right CV for the job? The first impression is very important. Has care been taken in the presentation and submission? Has the candidate completed a spell check? Does the individual pay attention to detail?

A CV should provide a good understanding of the individual which assists with a cultural match.  There are usually important indicators about the type of personality the candidate has.  Does the candidate participate in sport, cultural or community project activities? Is the individual a team player? Has the individual demonstrated leadership? Is the candidate a well-rounded individual?  Is the candidate a high achiever?

There should not be any unaccounted periods, nor any glaring omissions. Gaps, particularly with respect to unemployment periods and reasons for leaving a previous employer, should serve as a red flag. Job-hopping is another reason for concern, as this usually indicates an employment trend.

HR professionals need to be mindful of over-screening. They often try to find the perfect match. This is like looking for a needle in the haystack. Job specifications are often drafted based on a wish list of the line manager and it is not always possible to find all the skills and experience in one candidate.  Job Specs are also sometimes written based on the current incumbent’s skill set which would have been developed over the period of time spent with the company, so a new person would still need to gain that experience to be the perfect match. It is important to focus on the skill, qualifications, experience on the CV rather than search for that unique skill required which might not be a prerequisite for success.

It is also important to note that when a candidate writes their CV it is not written with a specific job in mind. Because the candidate is not privy to what the recruiter is looking for, the candidate is unable to tick all the boxes. An 80% match is a very good match. It is important too, to recognize, that candidate may have left out some of his or her work experience, deeming the ability to perform certain tasks as standard for a particular position.

The covering letter is an important element of the CV, as this is the part that the candidate can customize for the particular job they are applying for. The covering letter so demonstrate to the HR Professional why the candidate is applying, why they are right for the role, why they should be called in for the interview.

HR Professionals need to use their experience and gut when selecting CV to interview!