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Looking past the CV – 3 Tips to candidate selection

Board InterviewMore often than not, a traditional “2 page” CV and polished LinkedIn profile will be the cornerstones of any jobseekers arsenal; but as a hirer relying on either (or both) to choose the perfect candidate to enhance their team could result in a waste of time and ultimately money.


Why? Because although a perfectly written CV provides a list of skills hirers have identified as being necessary; it doesn’t and can’t tell you ABOUT the candidate – whether they are the kind of person that will adopt the company culture, be a “good fit” for the team or successfully handle challenges as they arise – personality is key. Here are three top tips when considering the next hire and how best to use them.


The Application – In what can seem like a deluge of CVs pay close attention to how potential hires handle this first interaction. Do they send an engaging, personalised cover letter and follow up with a personal phone call or email a few days later? Or do they just email a “standard” response without any thought? If candidates are not taking the time to stand out from the crowd now; what will happen further down the line. Why not ask them in your advertisement to include a special code, or phrase, in their cover letter; what better way of testing someone’s “attention to detail”?


The Interview – Of course you will need to ask the “standard questions” (remember to ask all candidates the same questions; or else how can you accurately compare answers); but that just highlights what applicants say they can do; what about performing in the job itself? If you’re hiring someone to present to future customers, why not have them give you a sales presentation. If they are being hired to answer phones, give them a mock phone call to react to. Think about what they will be doing in their job and assess them on it – you’ll be amazed at the results.


The Reference – We all ask for them; but do we use them correctly? Yes we may confirm dates of employment, but do we use this source of information to its full potential? Rather than sending a “standard request form”, why not pick up the phone and talk to the referee personally. Ask about how they interacted with others, the work ethic, their performance – think about the kind of things that matter to you and your company culture and use that for a guide to questions.


To find the best talent; it’s time to look past the CV; you need to learn about them as individuals; while having the right skill set may seem essential, the truth is, skills can be acquired, but personalities and values can’t.


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