How to spot talent on a CV: Simple tips for effective hiring


Date: 1 June 2020

 A group of candidates sit and wait to be interviewed

As a small business, each new hire is an important decision that will greatly affect your company dynamic. When recruiting for a role, many CVs may pass your desk. To ensure you are making the right choice, it's helpful to recognise the key signifiers that will help you recruit the best talent quickly and efficiently. Here are some top tips to sift through those CVs and spot the top talent.

Know what you're looking for

Before you even look at the first CV, you need to understand exactly what you are looking for. What are the key skills your ideal hire should have? Is organisation or attention to detail your key requirement for this role? Or is it the ability to budget effectively? Once you've fixed your requirements in your mind, it will be easier to see which CVs match up to your needs.

Review the job description again and keep a handy list nearby of the role's key requirements and desirable requirements. As you look at each CV, you can cross-reference and decide which applicants have suitable skill sets, and which fall short. Knowing this will save you time in the long run and make for a smoother sifting process.

Be open to interesting career trajectories and backgrounds

Sometimes the ideal candidate won't conform to what you expect. Be open to CVs that are slightly more eclectic or interesting than others. Maybe a candidate is coming from a different industry, or their last role was in a slightly different field. The ability for a small business to be forward-thinking and identify what skills may be missing in their current team is key in helping them grow.

Your company may benefit from having someone with a different outlook, or skills gained in another industry. Don't immediately write these CVs off. Instead, assess how these backgrounds could fill gaps in your team, and how new skill sets could complement those of your current employees.

Often, there's a tendency to 'hire in your own image'. Try pushing past any preconceptions which might limit you and you could uncover new talent. Diversity of experience and perspective is an asset to any business.

Have they taken an interest in your business?

Understandably, many job seekers will be applying for various roles at the same time. It's important to identify if they are genuinely invested in your business. Has the CV been tailored specifically to your company and role? Maybe they have referenced specific skills you outlined in your job description. This can often be a sign that they are truly interested in your offering making them more likely to commit to the role and stay for longer. This indication could make them rise above the rest.

Assess their attitude and potential

Whilst skills are important, remember that they can be taught and improved upon. But a good attitude is often harder to instil if it's not there from the start. When looking at CVs, consider the applicant's potential for development in your company and their attitude. Have they shown in previous roles that they have persevered with difficult tasks, been motivated and self-starting?

Often, hires in a small business will need to hit the ground running, be positive and proactive. Try and assess these attitudes alongside their skill set to ensure you hire someone engaged, passionate and willing to develop and grow with your company for the long-term.

Consider if they fit into your company culture

A CV is only a brief snapshot, but a good CV should give you a flavour of the candidate's personality. What does their CV say about them? What is your first impression? This will give you a sense of what they may be like, what is important to them, what they've achieved and what skills they have.

You know your company best, ask yourself if this aligns with your company values, and whether they'd fit in with your company culture. As you build your business, each employee helps to shape it. You will be the best judge of which direction you want your business to go in and which values you want reflected in your employees. Use this knowledge to help guide your decision and decide which CVs speak to you most.

Take your time when reviewing CVs

This decision shouldn't be rushed. Investment at this stage can reap rewards further down the line. So take your time when reviewing CVs and put a clear process in place.

Choose another person to help with the shortlisting process, perhaps the line manager or another person key to the role you're hiring for. Discuss the process before you begin sifting to make sure your visions for the role are aligned. You can both make your individual shortlists from the CVs and see how they compare. When you discuss and debate why a certain CV made it to your shortlist, it will help test your decisions. Your final list will be robust and you will have strong reasons for taking each person to the next stage.

Hiring is a crucial decision; a bad hire can end up costing a company money and lowering team morale. So be measured, take your time, and know what you are looking for to help you make the perfect hire.

Copyright 2020. Featured post made possible by PurpleCV.

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