How to review a CV
Find out how to review a CV and spot any red flags to ensure your recruitment process is as efficient as can be
When hiring, it is important to ensure that the recruitment process is quick and efficient. Being handed a huge pile of CVs can be daunting to anyone, but knowing which red flags to look out for can really give you an advantage. So what are the key things to look out for when reviewing a CV and how can you spot them?
Large, unexplained gaps in a candidate's career history are definitely worth noting. It could be that the candidate hasn't included a particular job, left their previous position with nothing queued up, or simply had a period of unemployment. None of these are necessarily an issue, but a better candidate will address gaps in their CV rather than leave the hiring manager to ask questions.
Very careful attention should also be paid when reviewing a CV that omits accurate start and finish dates. This is not to say that there is necessarily anything wrong with these candidates, but a well-prepared candidate should know to avoid unexplained gaps.
Attention to detail
Usually a CV is the means through which a candidate makes their first impression. It is therefore a pretty good indicator of their attention to detail and the effort they are likely to apply to a role. If the CV you're reviewing is full of glaring grammatical and formatting errors, it isn't unfair to suggest that the candidate could be a little careless, or that they aren't committed enough to the application to proofread or run a second pair of eyes over it.
If you are looking to recruit for a longer term role such as a manager's position, any CVs with frequent moves from one job to another, or ‘job hopping', should raise concern. Be sure not to confuse entirely valid short term roles with a lack of commitment to full time positions; but several jobs over a small period of time with little to no progression could indicate a lack of commitment, and possibly demonstrate the candidate's inability to gel with co-workers or achieve what is expected. When reviewing a CV, bear in mind though that job hopping is more common in certain industries, and think about what's normally the case in the industry you're hiring for.
If a jobseeker is sending the same CV and cover letter for multiple positions, they are probably more interested in finding any job than landing their ideal job. As you are looking to hire the right person for your vacancy, be sure to make note of those CVs and cover letters that have obviously been shaped with your role and organisation in mind. Failure to follow any particular instructions on applications should also be taken into account; if there are no good reasons for this, it could imply corner-cutting or an inability to follow simple direction.
Lack of professionalism
If the CV you have reviewed from a prospective candidate has impressed in all areas, and you decide to contact them to bring things forward, an inappropriate email address may be off-putting. Many people have been using the same trusty email address they have done for years, but a serious candidate will have a dedicated professional email account. Similarly, if you call the given telephone number and reach any kind of novelty answering machine message, you should take this into consideration when reviewing a CV. No recruiter wants to end up hiring someone who doesn't take the role seriously, and this professionalism should be suggested from the first steps.
Or explore our advice section for employers for more information.