Reviewing CVs – who to choose?

Awesome job specification, check. Enticing advert, check. Successful search strategy, check. Now, how to review CVs? Who do you choose? This is something that many people dread, especially if you have a large volume of CVs to wade through. But don’t panic, in this blog we hope to provide you with a few useful tips to consider when reading through CVs and making your selection.

Where to start?
Firstly, you need to decide the key elements for the role you are recruiting for. This will also be apparent before interviewing candidates, but more of that next week! Make a list of what is key and in order of importance. What can you be flexible on and what is an absolute must have? If documentation and written communication is not essential for the role, then it’s probably best to spend a bit more time reading through the CV. Good candidates don’t always know how to best format their CV or what to include. This is always very subjective, besides, has anyone ever seen the perfect CV? If they will be communicating heavily through written methods and compiling documentation, then the first thing to do is see how they have formatted their CV. Can you see them creating documentation for customers and other stakeholders? If their CV is awful, probably not.

Don’t just look for keywords within the body of text. Read between the lines a little, think about the organisation the candidate has worked in. For example, what scale might their projects be? Who might they be liaising with throughout the business? Don’t make assumptions based purely on what is or isn’t detailed on their CV.

It’s also important to give the candidate the benefit of doubt in certain cases. For example, it can be hard to determine the tone they’ve written their CV in which makes it impossible to determine someone’s personality from reading a couple of pages of A4. Don’t judge a CV by its cover – give both you and the candidate the chance to see if you get on in person before discounting them straight away.

Closing points
You should, hopefully, have an idea of what you are looking for in the candidates’ CVs. The best thing to do is set some time aside to review them all in one go. However long you need, 15 minutes, 30 minutes perhaps, stick to this time and make sure nobody interrupts, except to bring you coffee.

As you read through them, write a little comment at the top of each one with your thoughts and rank them so you have your favourites at the top and least favourites at the bottom. You can then highlight the top candidates more easily and take them forward to interview.