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3 things a CV won’t tell you about a candidate, but are important to consider

by Steph Fruin March 08, 2019
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​The problem with common CV screening is that you often learn much more about an individual in person compared to on paper. From school all the way to our working life we are often trained to portray ourselves in our CV’s as positive, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and personable; but with a mountain of similar looking phrases, there is so much more beneath the buzz words that actually make a candidate stand out from the crowd and fit the specific role.

It has been found that the cost of a bad hire is 30% of the employee first-year income and, for the candidate, not being a good hire can negatively impact morale. So it’s important to get it right and take steps to get to know candidates in more detail during the hiring process.

At Freshminds, we have a focus on the IQ EQ blend as we know that a strong ‘all round’ person beyond pure good academics will prove to be a high performer in a commercial setting. So we make sure to talk to new candidates joining the network to understand their character and motivations, and meet in person before putting them forward for a role.  

So here are three key areas that are important to explore during the interview process, but you won’t find out about a candidate from their CV.

  • Personality

It is difficult to decipher someone’s personality and their professional presence from their CV, yet it is something to pay attention too when meeting them in person.

During the interview process, it’s useful to attempt to develop a better understanding of how they will react to instructions and may handle being managed. This can be articulated by probing them with work experience questions or real-life examples from previous roles. Of course, different roles require different skills and character traits, so the questions can be tailored to the job at hand.  

E.G. ‘Tell me about a situation that you are the most comfortable in’

And then potentially vs the alternative: ‘talk me through a time that you stepped outside of your comfort zone or dealt with an uncomfortable situation and why’

This, for example, would give you an idea of their ideal working environment and also about things like resilience or leadership.

You should also pay attention to how they're presenting themselves; do they show up ready for the interview, with a positive attitude? Their presentation at an interview will somewhat reflect how they will present themselves to senior team members, other employees or clients. You have to remember that your employees are going to represent the brand so make sure to hire a future employee with this is mind.

  • Ability to work as part of a team

When looking for a new hire you should consider whether the candidate will fit into your organisation. You don’t want a new hire to impact the team balance and it is important to ensure that they will get on with your current team and work well with them.

That being said, it’s also important to bear in mind that a diverse team performs better with different people contributing different ideas and abilities. So, considering who you currently have, the skills that you are lacking, and how you can add another personality type into the mix rather than multiple people of the same image, is a good way to re-frame the hiring decision and candidate assessment.

Most, if not all, CV’s also state that the candidate can work effectively as part of a team; but can they actually? During the interview process probe for examples of when they have worked in a group, how have they helped a team member and try and understand how approachable they are.

E.G. ‘Tell me about a time that you contributed an idea to the team and managed this project with them’

‘What actions and support, in your experience, make a team function successfully?’

‘Describe the perfect work environment level of interaction with co-workers in which you would experience the most success.’

The day-day part of most roles involve working as a team so when hiring you need to be clear that the candidate will be able to do so.

  • Work ethic

Other aspects to understand are a candidate’s reliability, determination and drive. These are all key to understanding their work ethic and how they’re going to behave when in the role. This generally means that they will value hard work and take personal pride in putting in your best effort.

You need to make sure that you can rely on your staff, they will put in the effort, and will be determined to achieve goals. During the interview process, try and gage an understanding of how they prioritise work, adapt to change and overcome difficult challenges. Although it’s never going to be perfect, the most reliable way to gauge this is through asking behavioural interview questions.

E.G. ‘Tell me about a time that you have gone above and beyond the call of duty to get things done’

Ideally, a permanent employee will be in your organisation for the long-run and help contribute, it’s important to invest the time in learning more about your candidates during the interview stages to ensure it’s a good hire. These three areas are important to pay attention to, as despite CV’s being effective in showing work-based skills and experience, other areas are also required for your potential new employee to excel.

Interested to find out more? Talk to a member of our team today to find out how we can help you hire better.


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