How To Pick The Best Candidate Based On Their CV

by Sirius People

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You’ve just posted a captivating job ad and the applications are rolling in. 

It’s exciting to see that so many candidates are excited to work with your company — except now you need to sift through the mountain of CVs that are now in your inbox.

So, where do you start?

Unless you have an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or are working with a recruitment partner, CV screening is the most time-consuming part of the hiring process. And it’s mostly just sifting through the noise.

In fact, 75 to 88 per cent of applications are not qualified for every job ad posted, according to ERE Media.

So, how do you find those qualified candidates that will make a great cultural addition to your team?

We’ve narrowed down four key ways you can pick the best candidate based on their CV — and how you can save yourself time, the next time you’re hiring for the same or similar role:


How To Pick The Best Candidate Based On Their CV


What are the bare necessities?

Of course, the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities are harder to narrow down than you might think.

Before you even start looking through your pile of CVs, create a list of skills, traits, values, and behaviours that are absolutely necessary for a candidate to be successful in this role. Try to keep this list short and sweet. (We’ll explain why in the next point.)

The best way to do this is to take your job description and Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to look at what is vital for a person to be able to do the job.

Keep in mind that work experience and education aren’t always absolutely necessary for a candidate to be able to do a job.

For instance, the minimum qualifications for a receptionist might include excellent written and oral communication skills, strong organisational skills and a friendly personality.


Once you’ve made a list, check it twice

Now, we’re going to find out what’s nice… to have.

Split your list into the minimum or preferred qualifications.

A good way to do this is that a candidate would not be able to do the job without each minimum qualification; whereas a candidate would be able to do the job without any of the preferred qualifications.

This allows you to collect qualified candidates from your minimum qualifications list, and compile a list of people you’d like to interview using both lists.

While qualified (not preferred) candidates may not be the best fit for the role you’re currently trying to fill, they’re still interested in working for your company, may be open to a slightly different role, and may be better suited to another role later down the road.

By building this candidate database, it makes it easier for you to hire later down the line, as you’ll have already vetted candidates’ CVs. 

If we continue with the above example, some preferred skills of a receptionist might include previous industry experience (i.e. Real Estate, Legal, etc.), MS Office Suite knowledge, and is proactive.


What’s in a name?

Despite what Shakespeare says — a lot.

Before we jump into the last step to effectively and efficiently screen a CV, we need to address two proper nouns that may be holding you back from picking the best candidate based on their resume: a person’s name.

In 2017, researchers at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto had sent out almost 13,000 fake CVs to over 3,000 job advertisements.

They found that people with Chinese, Indian or Pakistani-sounding names were 28 per cent less likely to be asked for an interview than fictitious candidates with White-sounding names, even when the resumes were the same.

It was even worse for candidates who had an Asian-sounding name and foreign qualifications. Employers were 35 to 60 per cent less likely to invite the candidate to interview, based on the company size.

This isn’t exclusively a Canadian issue — similar studies have been done in Europe with similar or worse results.

While employers may not consciously decide whether they’d like to consider that candidate for an interview based on the person’s name, it’s important to be cognisant of preconceived biases in the hiring process.

A person’s name doesn’t indicate whether or not they have work rights in Australia, so let’s not rule them out as a candidate until you know for sure.

Especially since there are a number of benefits for your business and overall team culture in considering candidates from diverse backgrounds, including:


  • Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to have higher financial returns than their respective national industry average;
  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15x more likely to have higher financial returns than their respective national industry average;
  • Staff is 19x more likely to be very satisfied with their job, compared to employees in non-inclusive teams;
  • Inclusive teams have 4x the retention rate; and
  • Cognitively diverse teams solve problems up to 3x faster.


To learn more about how to build a more diverse and inclusive team, check out our blog post here.


Create a scorecard

Now that you know what are the bare necessities, what are the nice-to-haves, and what preconceived biases to look out for, it’s time for the final step — creating a CV screening scorecard.

Screen each CV against the ‘bare necessities’ each candidate will need to be able to do the role.

Then, to determine who the strongest candidates are, use your scorecard to rank each candidate based on the minimum and preferred job qualifications desired for the role.

This will allow you to easily shortlist the strongest candidates.

Not only is this handy for the CV selection process, but you can also keep these scorecards as part of your candidate database to save you time and resources next time you’re hiring for the same or similar role.

It’s also a useful interview tool, as you’ll be able to ask questions to confirm the knowledge and work experience they claimed to have on their CV.


But what about the mountain of CVs?

While it’s great to have the autonomy to know how to pick the best candidates based on their CV, it doesn’t solve the issue of having a mountain of unqualified CVs in your inbox that you need to sort through.

You may also be sorting through a mountain of CVs because you’re working with internal and external recruitment teams who are competing to have their candidate interviewed and placed. (In which case, this article is for you.)

Depending on your company’s budget and growth plans, you may be able to invest in an ATS to match keywords to recently sent and older, stored CVs. However, you may miss out on qualified candidates who may have used different keywords than the ones you used.

Until technology catches up, the quickest and most effective way to cut down on the mountain of CVs is outsourcing to a specialised recruitment professional, who can use active candidates in their own talent network and through the job ad responses, along with passive candidates to find the best candidates for the role.

Be sure to check out our blog post on 11 Things You Need To Ask Before Engaging A Recruiter, and create your minimum and preferred qualifications lists to ensure you’re on the same page.


Hiring Manager

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