By Perminus Wainaina
Do you find yourself back to the drawing board after recommending a candidate for a specific role only for them to turn out to be very different from the person they portrayed on their CV?
It can be quite frustrating and sometimes embarrassing and may give the impression that you are not doing thorough research.
As an HR or hiring manager, part of your role is to screen through CVs and pinpoint the most suitable candidates. However, this doesn’t always work as it should. You could be missing on some great candidates if your focus is just on their CVs.
A CV merely documents a candidate’s experience, listing their core skills. This means that soft skills such as communication, confidence or a candidate’s work ethic are harder to assess within their application.
Here are five things a CV can’t tell you about a candidate and how you can identify these requirements elsewhere through the recruitment process.
1. Work ethic
It is hard to detect an individual’s work ethic solely from their CV, as it will not give you this information.
To tackle this, you can probe candidates about their work ethic. Ask questions such as what the candidate prioritizes in the work environment and how they adapt to change. Also, delve deeper into their ability to complete tasks or projects within set deadlines.
In doing this, your goal is to understand a candidate’s reliability, determination, and drive, and in the end, how they are going to behave when in the role.
During the interview process, gauge what a candidate brings to the table through behavioral interview questions.
It is important to invest your time in learning more about your candidates during the interview stages, so as to ensure that it is a good hire. Despite CVs being effective in showing work-based skills and experience, other areas are also required for your potential new employee to succeed in the workplace.
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It is difficult to know someone’s personality just from looking through their CV. It is, however, a key element that you should pay attention to.
During the interview process, attempt to develop a better understanding of how a candidate would react to instructions and handle being managed. You can do this by probing them with work experience questions or real-life examples from previous roles.
e.g, ‘Tell me about a situation that you are the most comfortable in.’
And then potentially use the alternative: ‘talk me through a time that you stepped outside of your comfort zone’
This, for example, would give you an idea of their ideal working environment and also about aspects like resilience or leadership.
Pay close attention to how they are presenting themselves and get to detect certain soft skills such as confidence, communication, and interpersonal skills.
While some candidates may document their achievements on their CVs, this is not enough in knowing their reputation.
You can gather more about an individual’s character by contacting their former employers. Also, during the interview, ask the candidate questions such as, “how would your friends/colleagues describe you?” so as to make them reflect on their strengths from a different angle.
Social media has also made it very for anyone to examine a candidate’s repute. LinkedIn, for example, can access testimonials from previous employers or endorsements from clients that showcase their core strengths.
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4. Ability to work as part of a team
Many times, a candidate’s CV will state that they can work effectively as part of a team; but can they really do that?
When looking for a new hire, it is important to consider whether the candidate will fit into your organization. It is equally important to ensure that they will get on with your current team and work well with them.
In keeping this in mind, it is also important to note that a diverse team performs better with different people who contribute different ideas and abilities.
Therefore, during the interview process, probe for examples of when they have worked in a group, and try to understand how approachable they are.
e.g. ‘Tell me about a time that you contributed an idea to the team and managed this project with them’
In the end,
It is essential to go beyond a CV and notice the potential of candidates. Through the interview process, striking a conversation will give you a clearer picture of who the right candidate for the job is.
Perminus Wainaina is the C.E.O and Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading HR & Recruitment consultancy firm based in Westlands. Through personalized career coaching he assists mid-level and senior professionals get solutions to complex and challenging career issues that they are facing. Click here for more on career coaching.