5 Details You Won't Get From a Candidate's CV

18 April 2019

man holding up a magnifying glass Photo by Csar Abner Martnez Aguilar on Unsplash

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We constantly waffle on about what to look for in a candidate’s CV like keywords, certain experience and spelling mistakes – to name a few.

But what about the things that aren’t on the CV?

When it comes to finding the ideal candidate, a lot of businesses will tirelessly work their way through piles of CVs looking to see if they tick all the right boxes.

Sure, this approach is quick and often effective.

However, if you forget about the ‘other details’, there’s always a slight chance you could miss out on a star employee in the making.

To help give you a better understanding of this, I’ve put together some key things to consider when hiring, which go beyond just a candidate’s core skills and experience.

Their work ethic

Experience is very important for businesses – but it’s not always the be all and end all.

Think of it this way, you could have over 10 years of experience as a salesperson, but how can you guarantee that they’ll put the same level of effort in as someone who is inexperienced?

Work ethic is a mindset and one which can’t necessarily be taught.

To establish whether a candidate has it or not, you need to ask them relating questions in a pre-screen telephone interview.

For example:

  • What do you see as a priority while working?
  • How have you gone above and beyond for a customer or client before?
  • Can you name a time when you’ve had to work to a tight deadline? And how did you successfully handle this situation?

You can find more advice on how to conduct a successful telephone interview in our previous blog here.

If you fancy taking things a step further, there’s no harm in asking a candidate to come in for a paid work trial.

This way, you can almost ‘try before you buy’ and see whether they’re the right fit for your business.

Their appearance

Don’t get me wrong, there are odd occasions where candidates feel a need to include an image of themselves on their CV.

Although, for the most part, it isn’t always easy to picture what a candidate looks like beforehand by simply looking at their CV.

When I talk about appearance, I’m referring to the way that they hold themselves – i.e. do they dress professionally? Do they have a friendly way about them which will go down well with customers?

A lot of businesses and customers make snap judgements on the ‘look’ and appearance of a company’s representation, so it’s vital that you have the right people to ensure your company makes the right impression.

To get around this, take the time to look at a few candidates’ social media profiles or invite them to do a pre-screening interview via Skype.

At least you’ll then be able to see how they come across in a visual sense.

Their body language and presence

According to research, 93% of human communication is non-verbal.

With this in mind, how can you tell whether a candidate is going to look uninterested and uninviting to customers or clients?

Getting someone with the right presence and energy can really add a buzz to your team.

Once again, carrying out a pre-screening interview via Skype can give you an instant idea of how they carry themselves.

You should forget about asking questions regarding their experience and instead focus on their thoughts on what makes a good work culture.

Ideally, a candidate will get excited by the thought of socialising and love the idea of working closely with others. An upbeat tone, hand gestures and sitting up straight are top indicators that the candidate has a great presence.

Their reputation

As the old proverb goes; “your reputation precedes you”.

Probing previous employers and colleagues is something you do once you’ve offered the job to a candidate, which is extremely frustrating for any business owner.

My top tip here is to look at their LinkedIn profile and see if they have any recommendations or get in touch with the person who referred them (if applicable).

Just looking on a candidate’s Facebook page or Twitter feed will also give you a taste of how they interact with their colleagues, friends and family.

The more information you find here, the easier it’ll be to make a decision.

Their willingness to be managed

Naturally, this point isn’t applicable if you’re looking to fill a managerial post. However, for the rest, this is an essential quality which isn’t highlighted on CVs.

Unfortunately, the only way around this point is to ask the candidate in an interview.

During which, you should make sure that all personnel involved in the managerial side of the candidate are present.

You’ll then be able to get the opinion of all stakeholders and managers, ensuring everyone is happy with the appointment.

Behaviours which might show that a candidate doesn’t respond well to instructions include:

  • Coming across as very independent
  • Being abrupt and too formal
  • Not smiling
  • Showing a clear lack of interest in the interviewers’ lives

Ideally, you need someone who is willing to learn and wants to listen to you in the interview.

If they give you the impression that they think they know everything already, you’re going to come across some serious problems further down the line.

Final thoughts

Overall, all of these elements are worth considering.

Don’t be afraid to take a few extra minutes to do your research or add an extra pre-screening interview stage to your recruitment process.

While it might be more time-consuming, wouldn’t you like to be extra careful and make the right decision from the start, rather than rush the process and hire the wrong person?

I’ll leave that up to you!