Recruiting Process Pitfalls: How Recruiters View CV’s

The job recruiting process can be a confusing one. You are competing against several other businesses to find applicants, sometimes even hundreds of them. How do you find the best candidates for the job? If you are a job hunter,  you are on the other side of the table, but you are still in need of the same information: how do job recruiters make decisions on job candidates? How do they look at CV’s? Through the big picture telescope or through a tiny lens? 

Understanding this process is the first step toward change for both job seekers and recruiters. If you understand the process behind recruitment, you will be able to find better ways to locate the best candidates and avoid having to rehire the next year. Their goal is the same: to find a fit between employee and company that will both complement and help the company toward their goals and aid the individual in finding the best job.

Where Do Recruiters Start?

Most recruiters tend to start with the CV or resume.

The CV is the introductory glimpse at a candidate’s background. It tells you whether there are enough matches in common factors that bear looking into. It is the first thing recruiters see when information comes through the system on new applicants.

Standards for CV’s

The standard in the UK for length of a CV is that it should not be longer than two sides of paper. They may be longer in some cases, when you are including essential work experience or academic accolades. But you should focus primarily on the skills that directly correlate to the job for which you are applying.

Three Recruiting Process Pitfalls to Avoid

When you are reviewing CVs for consideration, here are some important points to keep in mind to keep you on the right track toward that winning candidate choice:

1. CV Pitfalls: CV pitfalls can include the way you are reading a resume (whether you start from the top or bottom, for example), what you focus on the most, and the degree of research that you do to verify the information. This is especially important when it comes to recruiting IT hires, as their role in a company is critical to maintaining the successful day-by-day technological side of a company. It’s a unique paradox as well because you are also using technology to acquire information about the candidates. Recruiters reading CV’s must look and read between the lines, be well-versed in the technology being used to extract the information, and be vigilant in order to reveal the most important attributes of clients to see if it’s a good match for the company for which you are hiring.

Another CV pitfall from the research by The Ladders  in a report about pitfalls of job recruiters is that they tend to focus on the applicant’s name, previous experience, and educational experience more than any other part in a highly-polished resume. In less organized ones, they tended to scan their eyes over other parts of the page more and possibly ended up being confused about which information was needed. For this reason, the old saying, “less is more,” is probably appropriate here. It is better for CV’s to  have less information that is highly-organized and relevant, rather then lots of information that is difficult to figure out. The Ladder also reported that some recruiters are becoming so lost in the information that they are opting to go to online webinars or other options in lieu of the CV for hiring purposes.

2. The Whiteboard Interview Pitfall: Some HR recruiters for top UK companies decided to use whiteboard interviewing instead of CV recruiting. However, while this method allowed them much more ‘direct’ contact with the possible job candidates, at best it only showed a brief sample of what the potential job candidates could do. This was especially true of coding job applicants. Because there were so many the recruiter needed to see in a limited time, they were forced to just give them a random, fast question to solve, which provided minimal results, at best.  Hacker Rank publication recommends using CodePair for coding applicants to solve this problem. This tool allows coders to work on problems separately and on their own time, then return to the whiteboard to share ideas with recruiters and demonstrate, on a larger scale, what they are capable of.

3. The Tech Sourcer Pitfall:  When the focus of job recruiting only originates with the tech end, the result is often highly-skilled tech recruiters who have a bird’s eye view of the company and its needs, but very little of the day-to-day mechanisms that make the business really work. As a result of this, they tend to be rather short-sighted with what the end result should be regarding recruitment of the best staff.  One possible solution is to automate much of this process, so that recruiters end up focusing only on the most important tasks of matching skills with candidates and prescreening for interviews, rather than trying to second-guess the minute details of a job when they don’t really  understand it themselves.


Understanding is the key to improving any system. HR recruiters look to the CV to find information that tells them who would make the best match for a job. These recruiters know the company in a general sense, but have little information on the specifics of a particular job or the day-to-day workings of a company.

By having machines operate in a higher plane than people regarding the intricate details of the job recruitment process and automate them to do the minute “down and dirty” work, the higher-level thinking jobs can be left to the people who make the hiring decisions. Recruiters are then left in charge of the more human decisions that involve getting to know the personality, unique abilities, and dynamics of a person, which allows them to filter out the ones who are clearly not the best person for the position, no matter how technical it may be.

People are not machines. But they work on machines. The challenge is for recruiters to recognize this difference and to dig deeper into the context of the what the person is about and what unique attributes they can bring to the company, in order to maximize their talents in both technology and people skills.

By automating much of this process at the front end, there is a better likelihood of a match between jobs and candidates whether you are viewing the situation from a bird’s eye view or a tiny microscope. Recruiters should keep these tips in mind when looking for candidates to fill positions, while job seekers should be aware of them from the other end, by attempting to see it from the viewpoint of the recruiter, in order to increase their chances at landing the job they covet.

If you are a job recruiter looking to hire key people for your tech positions, or a job seeker looking for information to give you the edge on that perfect job, we are your one-stop source for job recruiting, training, and management.

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