Should we be judging candidates based solely on a piece of paper?

The question has been asked; ‘do you think recruiters will ever become obsolete?’ several times during 2019, so I thought I’d explain one of the reasons why the answer to this question has been a resounding ‘no!’ every time…

It’s also one of our biggest pet hates within the recruitment process still in 2019: ‘why do the majority of businesses judge a human being almost solely on a piece of paper (CV)?’

Seems crazy when you think about it, right? Yet, to some extent or another, you’re probably doing it yourself!

Now… we are not saying for one second ignore the CV! In fact, one of the key factors why good recruiters will never become obsolete is due to the fact that it’s hard to search out & identify suitable candidates and it’s even harder to seduce them to a businesses’ hiring table.

But… A CV shouldn’t be the sole reason that a candidate isn’t moved forward in the process or not!

Robertson Sumner operate in two key markets; the IT sales space as well as the technical sector and in both areas it’s important to look beyond a CV. Here’s why we believe this:

IT sales

–      Sales is a personality based role! A CV can be useful to identify a candidates experience & performance against targets but it’s very tricky to assess a personality via a piece of paper.

–      Sales is a meritocratic industry. A 22-year-old can perform at a higher level earning more than a 40-year-old if they’re more talented & better in the role. Yet we still judge candidates on ‘years of experience’?!


–      Technical roles, in a similar way to sales positions, are meritocratic in nature as the role is outcome focussed with the hardest work & best ideas winning on a daily basis. Therefore, again, why look at experience when the individual will be judged on what they produce – you wouldn’t hire ‘John in Reading’ with 30 year’s experience over Mark Zuckerberg with 1 years experience, would you?

General reasons

–      Company culture is becoming more important with each employer having their own very unique environment, which makes it even more vital that these businesses identify candidates who fit into this culture. This makes it even more challenging to recognise the correct candidate and certainly goes far beyond a CV.

If you can’t assess what you need to via a CV, what else do you need to be looking at?

–      Video! If you’re not using video in your current hiring process, you’re behind the market – it’s no longer a fancy ‘nice to have’. Video mitigates the risk of wasting your time interviewing candidates with the right experience but who don’t fit your company culture. It could also surprise you & end up allowing you to progress candidates you traditionally could have ruled out based just on their CV.

–      Psychometric testing will allow you to identify how a candidate who you’ve only met a couple of times matches up to some of your best performers who you know epitomise your company values! The trick with psychometric testing is make sure you use a psychometric test which is focussed on the sector your recruiting for (i.e. Salesmatch for sales candidates) and match up the findings with tests you’ve had your team complete. If you’re comparing the results with what you perceive to be a good result, it’s just the same in many ways as judging someone on only their CV – it’s just a different ‘piece of paper’.

–      Social presence is becoming more & more important, not solely for sales candidates either. For sales people it’s important to have a good look into their LinkedIn profile; are they engaging with potential customers and sharing regular content? For technical candidates there are several social platforms which allow techies to show off their latest ideas, GitHub for example is well worth a look when you’re looking to add a developer to your team!

The above ideas are only a few ideas that the Robertson Sumner team would use in order to look passed the CV. But, however you do it in 2019… DON’T JUST LOOK AT A CV!

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