When I received yet another CV yesterday saying that the candidate could “work well in a team and also autonomously” I wondered, what is the bloody point of this? Why do we still insist on receiving a daunting stack of CV’s for every job we recruit when they have by and large melted down into a characterless, amorphous pile of generic clichés?
I was having a chat with Seth O’Meara at JobX Solutions this week and he reminded me of the simple solution of adding an “Apply with LinkedIn” button to a website instead of always making people fill in complicated registration forms and uploading CVs at the end of wordy job ads. It’s so obvious in its’ simplicity that you’ll probably see it on our website very soon. It’s also an ideal solution for applying from mobile computing devices that don’t have your CV stored on them.
We are told, as recruiters, to pursue the holy grail of the “passive jobseeker” to fill our clients’ vacancies with the best talent, following the logic that the top talent in the market won’t be actively looking for a job because they don’t need to. So why would we then expect the passive talent that we work so hard to connect with, engage, and attract, to spend their evening updating a clunky old Word document and tweaking the usual array of tired old statements and achievements when all your client is going to do is look at their most recent work experience anyway?
The “Apply with LinkedIn” app made an appearance a couple of years ago now but I’ve seen very few examples of its use here in New Zealand. But with one click, a curious potential jobseeker can make a subtle approach, with a “CV” that is already kept regularly up to date anyway. Seems like genius to me, so why do we persist with old-fashioned techniques? I spoke to an internal recruiter yesterday who is recruiting graphic designers for her company. Every time an ad is posted online it heralds a deluge of CV’s all saying pretty much the same thing. So some kind of CV screening process has to be constructed, followed by lengthy phone screening, massively time-consuming formal interviewing, and then the final test, a project given to the final clutch of job hopefuls, to showcase their actual graphic design skills. The last time this was done they weren’t happy with any of the work produced, so the process is starting all over again.
Why not just set some form of contest at the outset, and make everyone interested in the job prove their design skills before the CV is even sent?
It occurred to me late last year that a placement I had just made had been done entirely without a CV. It wasn’t the end result of a clever, highly engineered process whereby new systems were set up to enable the referral of candidates without CVs. It was just the outcome of a passive jobseeker making contact, asking me to keep a casual eye out for opportunities, me eventually finding a suitable one, talking to the prospective client about him, looking over the LinkedIn profile together on the phone, setting up an interview, and finally moving to offer.
It was so natural I only realised I didn’t have a CV when I went to look up his home address to send the employment agreement to.
But still I have other clients who will love the sound of a candidate, but sit on their hands, sometimes for days, for a CV to be updated and produced, before then agreeing to set up an interview. I just don’t see the point anymore.
Most of us are developing such an online persona nowadays that employers and recruiters are increasingly skimming over CVs before going straight to social media to learn the real truth of a candidate’s background and personality. You can now apply for jobs directly through Twitter and our very own Kirsti Grant from Social Sauce is doing some recruitment work for a forward-thinking Accounting firm where applications can only be made via Twitter.
The jury’s still out on the effectiveness of this, and Kirsti has promised to let us know how it goes (update in the comments here if you like Kirsti?!) But I admire the chutzpah to give it a go. As recruiters we seem to demand CVs because we almost need to prove to clients that we are working hard to produce documentation to validate our placement fee.
Tear up your CVs. Get real. It’s time to move on.