Rethinking CVs – Potential > Experience

Humans are complex characters. We can be innately different in terms of personalities, but our environment can also play a pivotal role in defining why we are the way we are. No one person is the same, yet when it comes to talent acquisition and hiring people for a job, we ask for candidates to share a CV, and with the format pretty set in stone, it is hard for anything other than facts to be displayed. We know what school they went to, their GCSE’s… but it doesn’t allow you to get a real feel for who they are as a person. Will more companies, and rightly so, move away from CVs and move towards a digital approach to recruiting? Is the problem with CVs that it allows for employers to focus heavily on experience, rather than the potential of an individual?

A good proportion of a CV is made up by the education of an individual. However, in recent years A levels are simply not as sought after as they once were – so why do we still ask for this information when it is playing less of a role in narrowing down candidates? Not to mention the issue of ‘fraud’ as candidates claim an achievement just because they think they will impress the recruiter. According to a UK Higher Education Degree Datacheck, they found 33% of graduates or job seekers falsify important information, and of the 33%, 40% exaggerate their academic qualifications and 11% make up a degree altogether. If such a large percentage are willing to lie, does this not suggest there is a problem in the system we are currently using?

The argument for keeping CVs always comes back to the fact that it is the best way for recruiters to narrow down their search of hundreds of applications. Nonetheless, you do struggle to understand the soft skills an individual possesses through a CV. Artificial intelligence is becoming ever more powerful and useful in life and business. Currently, the true and full power of AI is beyond human thought, however in the next five years there will be significant advancements in the industry where AI will assist human tasks even further than they do now. There has been concerns of humans being made ‘redundant’ as AI improves, however the real aim is to complement and assist us in our lives and work. Humans do possess specific sets of skills that are not replaceable by technology, so moving forward, should recruiters be ultra focused on recognising these unique human qualities? As AI plays more of a role in business, could it be used effectively to focus and analyse the soft skills of candidates?

Pre-Covid, McKinsey Global Institute estimated that 14% of the global workforce would have to switch jobs or acquire new skills by 2030 because of AI. Undoubtedly, the working landscape is changing, and it is now time to act as a leader in business. By changing the recruitment process, you can do targeted evaluations that identify the skills of people. By doing this, you can get a better understanding of talent, and the potential your team possesses. This leaves us questioning whether CVs focus heavily on previous experience and does not support employers looking out for potential. The structure of CVs rarely has any variation, so despite the formatting allowing us to ‘pigeonhole’ candidates with ease, but do we then miss out on personal expression?

As the business world evolves at such a fast pace, adapting as a leader is imperative to stay ahead of the curve. We are comfortable with CVs, but that does not mean they are the correct answer. Being innovative with how you bring in new people to your business could be revolutionary, but it is easier to try something new when it has already been done by others. As Charles Koch said, “The only way you improve is to try new things.”

Top Universities. (2021) Lying on Your CV: The Facts. [online] Available at:

Written by Izzy McHattie, EP Business in Hospitality