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Why interviewing based solely on a CV should be a no-no

While a CV tells you, as a potential employer, a lot about your potential employee, it doesn’t tell the whole story. The concise nature of the traditional two pages into which most people try and fit their CV means that there’s nearly always a lot of missing information. Many potentially very good employees end up on the “no” pile for the wrong reasons. For example, you may see that a candidate has moved around a lot. However, what you may not know is that this has equipped them with invaluable, transferable skills that would actually be a huge benefit for the role you’re hiring for.

Our clients have told us that our approach adds a huge amount of value to their recruitment process, saving them time and money, and often finding them ‘hidden gems’ which they would have missed if recruiting based solely on CVs. Want to know what we’ve discovered and what we do differently? Read on…

Soft skills are hard to put in writing

Even the best technical or hard skills are inadequate if an employee cannot communicate, motivate or lead their team. Things like communication, adaptability, dependability, even conflict resolution, can be vital to professional success – yet trying to get a feel for these from a CV is like trying to crack a code. You can get a better indication from an interview, but unless you’re getting some very good answers to typical competency questions, the only real way you’re going to find out is from someone who knows the candidate personally. You can rely on references for that, but we like to think this is where a good recruiter comes in, and part of our process at PA Business Support is to speak to each candidate individually to get a really good sense of their professional approach and what they bring to the table that’s not on their CV.

How long they will stay at, and be dedicated to, the company

Here’s a big question you, which you won’t find the answer to on a CV: when will your new hire leave? You need to know a new employee will stay engaged and motivated, especially if your business is going through a hard time. If you don’t understand a candidate’s motivations, their ambitions and long term goals, as well as what’s important to them in the role, things can go south very quickly after the hire. And where someone is in life is much more important to a successful hire than most employers think. This is something we talk a lot about with our candidates at PA Business Support – in fact it is one of the first things they tell us, and it helps us to understand what they are actually looking for.

Character traits and ethos

When a great candidate on paper doesn’t make it past the first interview, it’s often down to something which you will rarely get more than a glimpse of on the CV itself: personality. Things like confidence, attitude, ethos and even “likeability” have to be assessed in person. Are they a good fit for the team? Can they roll with the punches or do they roll their eyes? Do they need to be spoon fed or are they genuinely a self-starter? Again, the only real way to get insight into this at the CV stage is via references or talking to a recruiter like us – by taking the time to properly get to know our own candidates, this is where we’re proud to say that PA Business Support really excels.

In conclusion…

Here’s the thing – most of this you can find out in interview, but it’s a challenge: you have to be a good interviewer, otherwise a candidate who is a skilled interviewee can paint any picture you want them to. When we propose someone for an interview we like to have a frank chat with our client, where we can talk openly about these kinds of things, and tell them what we know about the candidate that’s not on their CV. It’s a chance for us to remove the guesswork from the hiring process and make sure that every minute you spend on it is well spent.
To get in touch with us, click here – we’d love to help you.

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A bespoke approach to Executive & Personal Assistant recruitment in London & Internationally
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