According to the ONS, three million UK households (14.5%) are “workless”. This figure is three times greater than the usual unemployment rate that is typically reported in the media and by economists and the government. It should perhaps come as little surprise that every job post you advertise results in so many applicants.
Having a mountain of CVs to read through is an arduous task for any manager, and when so many applicants fail to impress with their application, you can be forgiven for thinking it’s anything other than a chore. But choosing great candidates to invite for an interview isn’t that difficult. Besides identifying those with your core requirements, there are 5 things every hiring manager can use to filter out the best applicants from the pile.
Every good candidate has a unique selling point which makes their CV stand out from the rest of the competition.
Whilst as a hiring manager you’ll be looking for the mandatory skills, qualifications and experience in every CV, it’s also important to hone in on unique achievements.
Consider what each candidate can bring to the table that nobody else has on their CV. Examples of the candidate’s success – for example, problem solving, customer excellence, a strong sales record, contracts negotiated, promotions achieved – are green flags for wanting to know more.
Competition in the job market is tough – but using a spell checker is not. When you’ve got plenty of applicants, even the slightest spelling mistake can be a reason for rejection.
If an applicant really cares about the role, they will make the effort to get their CV right. After all, if they can’t take care to carry out a simple spell check, how much confidence do you have that they’ll take any care if you award them a position?
It is inexcusable with today’s technology that so many people make mistakes with their layout, grammar, spelling, font, and much more. The mere fact that they are qualified for the role isn’t enough if they’re not able to demonstrate accuracy.
Generic is bad
Candidates know that if they really want to grab the hiring manager’s attention, they should stay clear of writing a generic CV and sending it out to many different employers. This simply screams lack of care and lack of interest in your company.
The best CVs are custom written to the role and the company. A worthwhile candidate will have read the job advert forensically and made sure that they address every point. Contrast this with generic CVs which make it difficult to find the details you need to see.
A simple, professional layout
A curriculum vitae should follow an acceptable format – typically including contact info, a personal statement, work history, experience, skills, interests and references as a minimum. This should be presented professionally, ideally using a high quality template. There are plenty of high quality templates on the web today – CV Template Master, for example, offers a whole range of formats completely free, without so much as an email address required.
It can be tempting for candidates to use an overly fancy template but unless they’re applying for a creative role, most HR managers see this as unacceptable. There’s nothing wrong with a little flair – some neat icons, a stylish header font and perhaps the odd splash of colour. However, in all other respects, the layout should be as simple as possible.
CVs that look like a school craft project should find their way to your bin. The candidate is simply indulging themselves, rather than considering your needs and precious time as a hiring manager.
Look for a professional font style and size that’s easy to read and sits well on the page. Information should be concise and presented using bullet points where possible. Lengthy sentences or paragraphs indicate poor communication skills and the inability to summarise information concisely.
Candidates who have been settled into a job for a few months or even years can easily switch off and forget all about their CV. It’s not uncommon for hiring managers to receive outdated CVs with updates in the covering letter. This is simply lazy – it shows once again that the candidate didn’t care enough to provide the correct information in the required format.
The best candidates constantly adjust and update their CV when anything significant happens, such as a promotion or completion of training. Other updates include acquiring more responsibility, learning a new skill, or achieving something awesome. All of this should be presented in the context of the job specification with a focus on the required qualifications, skills and experience.
Conclusively, in a saturated job market you can be choosy about which candidates you invite in for an interview. Look for the candidates who really want to work for you – evidenced by the time and care they have taken in preparing their CV before applying.