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Is the CV dead?

By Cia Kouparitsas 
Published July 1, 2022
There’s been much debate recently around the relevance of the CV recently in the modern recruitment process. In this Q&A, WithYouWithMe’s Executive Partner for Social Value Cia Kouparitsas shares why organisations are being held back by holding onto the CV as their primary recruitment tool.

What do you think should replace the CV?

Current employment methods – which typically assess candidates solely on CVs and interviews – are not keeping pace with society’s needs. These outdated methods simply describe a person’s past without any thought to their future potential.

Contrary to common belief, proficiency in the digital skills that will fuel our economy – for positions like cyber, analytics and JavaScript – does not require three years of study and a mortarboard. Entry-level roles in these areas – which are in such high-demand across the UK – don’t even necessarily require prior experience. 

This is where technology itself becomes the solution. WithYouWithMe, created the ‘Potential’ platform, which is the world’s first – and only – end-to-end talent pipeline system.  By creating a data-led employment tool that steps employers through a process of discovery, training and deploying talent, we produce high-performing individuals and teams.

Key to this is an ‘ethical AI’ model, which uses psychometric and aptitude testing to assess potential and match skills to digital careers.  It doesn’t matter what your CV says. If an individual has the aptitude and attitude that’s right for a digital career, we can train them to be proficient in under 140 hours. These kinds of ‘digital skills apprenticeships’ are the future of the tech industry in the UK. It’s how we make sure organisations have the tech talent they need. It’s how we solve the digital skill crisis.

Is the CV dead, or just outdated?

The resume was invented by Leonardo da Vinci in 1482 – and yet it’s still relied on by many organisations today. Our goal at WithYouWithMe is to displace the CV. They are riddled with bias and have not kept pace with the skills required to fuel our digital economy.

Not only do resumes not account for a person’s potential, they also stack the odds against diverse candidates. While it may be accepted practice, there is a general lack of understanding that the screening methods we have been using for years are likely to have inherent biases against diversity. Things like gender, educational background, age and race that are exposed through resumes can often unfairly influence a hiring manager’s perception of a candidate.

Does the CV still have its place in talent acquisition?

When it comes to high demand and rapidly emerging tech roles, a CV simply can’t keep pace. For example, many recruiters looking for cyber analysts are asking for a university degree or five years’ experience – when we know the skills for entry-level cyber can be learned and certified in 140 hours. I firmly believe phasing out this reliance on the CV for these digital careers in particular could help progress a more diverse candidate pool through the application process.

How a company or organisation invites interested people to seek employment with them can make or break whether an applicant will even apply for a role. Rather than sticking solely to traditional methods of screening candidates — like the aforementioned CVs, cover letters and references checks —  organisations should incorporate psychometric or aptitude testing and expand the definition of “past experience” to include things like volunteer work and hobbies for a more diverse range of applicants.

How should candidates get around the old "CV and cover letter" request?

This is one area that we need the employers to step up and show leadership in. If an employer is asking for a CV and cover letter that automatically excludes sections of society from applying, they’re not subscribing to fair practices around diversity, equity and inclusion. It is the responsibility of employers to do better here. The great news is we’re seeing real progress being made in the UK here. We are working with the UK Government, as well as some of our country’s biggest businesses, to incorporate aptitude testing and training into their recruitment processes, so candidates can be hired off their potential.

And how do companies begin to move away from the CV?

Employers need to be prepared to lead from the front, honestly review their own processes and ask how they can do better. There needs to be an acknowledgement that a person’s potential is so much more than their experience. Cognitive ability, which can be measured with psychometric and aptitude testing, is a scientifically-proven predictor of job suitability and performance. Empowering employers with the ability to use data to identify who would perform best in a role is how we can start to make the UK workforce more equitable, while also finding new talent to fill the systemic skills shortages plaguing many industries.

If you're interested in reading more about diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace, download the industry benchmark report from YouGov.

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