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Going Beyond The CV

Organizational success is largely dependent on the quality of recruited candidates. Hiring candidates based on their Curriculum Vitae (CV) alone is not enough to ascertain if they are the best for your organization.

To select the perfect candidate, recruiters must employ techniques that will look beyond a candidates’ CV because the truth is, some candidates can exaggerate their skills and experience in their CV and a good CV alone should not be used as the sole indicator of how well a individual will fit into your organization. A recruiter must use other parameters to further assess whether a candidate’s personality, background, and core values align with that of the company.

The following are tips you can utilize when evaluating a candidate.


A cover letter can tell you if an individual’s potential would be of value to your organization or not. The cover letter gives you a more detailed explanation of the candidate’s skills and how they will be applicable to your organization. Pay close attention to the skills and work ethic represented in the cover letter and look for that point where it aligns with your organization’s objective. Also look at the energy level that the candidate uses to communicate, although this might not be clearly visible but by carefully reading through you can tell if the candidate is passionate about your organization.


Social media can be a goldmine for information when conducting background checks on potential recruits. A candidate’s online profile can tell you a lot about the type of person they are; their interests, passions and other personal information. It reveals the true nature of a candidate and provides information that are not on the CV. Facebook and Instagram provide insights into a candidate’s personal interests and hobbies, while LinkedIn provides more details on the candidate’s professional proficiencies. Social media exposes candidates’ approach to life and how they navigate the world. Use a candidate’s social media profile to determine how passionate and enthusiastic they are about their professional pursuit.


Asking candidates specific questions about the position will go a long way in telling you if they are able to function in that role. Use targeted questions to probe each skill highlighted on the CV, especially those that pertain to the role at hand. Ask the candidate to explain how they previously handled a particular challenge and how they will handle similar challenges for your organization should it arise while they carry out their job responsibilities. Interacting with a candidate in this manner will help you to understand them, and also pin-point if they are passionate enough to work for your organization.


Sometimes recruiters take this for granted. Once the CV of a candidate meets their satisfaction and they perform well during the interview, recruiters tend to overlook the candidate’s references. However, checking references is one way of getting reliable information about potential recruits and the kind of things to expect from them. Ask the reference about the candidate’s work ethic, how they respond to challenges and if they are passionate about anything they lay their hands on. Remember to limit your questioning to issues that relate to the organization and the candidate’s ability to do the job.


It is also important for a recruiter to be aware of the long-term goals of candidates you recruit for your company. Candidates can be recruited then end up leaving the company after 6 months or less. This makes your job as a recruiter more stressful and difficult as you have to start the recruitment process all over again. This will also affect the company negatively when you consider the cost and time spent recruiting and training new hires. Ask the candidate about their long-term goals in order to know how invested they are in your organization and whether they plan to stick around or not. If the candidate expresses the desire to hold a management position with your company, then you know they intend to work with your organization over a long period of time.

It’s important for candidates to have excellent CVs when they apply for jobs but it is your responsibility as a recruiter to look beyond the CV in order to figure out which candidate best suits your organization and the job role you intend to fill. Good luck!

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