Clients are generally anxious to form an early view of a candidate based on their reading of the CV. Sometimes they read the CV before they review my comprehensive appraisal of the candidate. The problem with CVs is that, at best, they are only ever part of the story. At worst, the CV can misrepresent part or much of a person’s work experience.
At best, a CV can be quite an accurate and complete account of a person’s work experience. Even when what it says is accurate it can never say what the employer thought of the person’s performance or how they performed as a team member. Beyond the CV the recruiter must come to an understanding of the character of the person and how this person would fit with the culture of the client’s organisation.
Beyond the CV the recruiter and the client must assess the extent to which a candidate’s success in a previous role can also be achieved in the new role with this client. For sales roles there is always the issue as to whether there is a pipeline of activity which could help a new appointee or whether there would be a long gestation period whilst a pipeline was established.
Even with CVs which are regarded as reasonably accurate, candidates can be inclined to overuse certain keywords, knowing that some keywords will show the candidate in a more favourable light.
At worst, the CV might fundamentally misrepresent a candidate’s work experience and achievements. Over the years many examples have come to light. The most common misrepresentations are overstating a person’s achievements. Some also leave out some earlier roles so as to give a picture of stability of employment, rather than the fact of too many jobs over the years.
Candidates can misrepresent roles in various ways. One candidate presented a colour photocopy of a page of past business cards. This turned out to be an impressive Photoshop effort involving the lifting of company logos and the invention of impressive titles, titles the like of which had never been used by the respective firms. Another candidate, when I checked with his ‘current’ employer, revealed that the candidate had not worked there for over a year.
A CV with significant errors or omissions tells more about the candidate than what the CV actually says. My reference checking with past employers and with previous work colleagues enables me to quality assure a CV so that no misrepresented candidate ever gets near being offered for interview by the client.
There is so much more that a recruiter must know about a prospective candidate, beyond the CV. This is where a recruiter’s experience is of the utmost importance. Few companies have anywhere near the time to do the necessary background checks of a candidate yet this is what the recruiter is dedicated to doing.
Perhaps clients should scrutinise their recruiters more, knowing how key their role is in achieving excellent hiring successes! If you would like to know more about this topic or you would like to suggest a topic for me to write about then please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org