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Scrapping the CV & selecting for potential: a business case

Wednesday 4th May

Scrapping the CV & selecting for potential: a business case

Bringing others on the journey

You’ve made up your mind – it’s time your organisation scrapped the CV for good. But here’s the bad news: your hiring managers don’t quite agree. 

It’s a common problem. In fact, 13% of respondents from our latest survey said that “hiring manager opposition” is their biggest barrier to scrapping the CV.

CVs are a default in most hiring processes, so the idea of abandoning them will always make people uncomfortable. But, as we reach a talent tipping point, faced with the toughest skills mismatch since the Industrial Revolution, it’s a change that needs to happen. But to make it happen, you’ll need the right business case…

Five reasons to scrap the CV, & select for potential

        1.  The cost of hiring for experience

Two in three employers believe that hiring for experience shrinks talent pools. After all, if you only hire from within your industry, there are naturally fewer people to go around. The result? The salary inflation we’re seeing now. Take Amazon, for example, who’ve just doubled their pay cap for tech roles. Meanwhile, starting salaries in London are rising at the fastest rate since records began, 24 years ago. 

This will come at an unsustainable cost to UK businesses: £6bn, every year. And, as competition gets fiercer, that’ll only get worse. Between salary costs and agency fees, it’s clear that hiring for experience is like termites for talent budgets.

        2.  Poor predictions

In 2019, researchers Van Iddekinge, Arnold, Frieder & Roth found that experience – and CVs as indicators of experience – tell us next to nothing about how people will perform in future. The science is clear on this, but it’s so frequently ignored.

There are two reasons why CVs’ lack what we call predictive validity:

Firm-specific experience

How we work in Organisation A rarely translates easily to Organisation B. In fact, that experience is often baggage, not a benefit. Research shows that the need to adjust to new cultures and processes means experienced hires can be less effective than you’d expect.

Lack of measurement

CV’s don’t measure anything. Mostly, they encourage us to assume that candidates have developed the necessary strengths from their previous experience. But there’s no real proof. So, every hire that starts with a CV is a leap of faith, with little grounding in any predictive data.

        3.  A hiring blocker

Employers are set to lose £38bn in unfulfilled growth, every year, all because they can’t fill key roles. And the CV is fuelling that problem.

Why? Because hiring for experience shrinks the talent pool to unsustainable levels, resulting in massive rejection rates. Because CVs contain no objective data, there’s never a clear benchmark for who should progress. People with real potential slip through the net because they don’t meet subjective criteria.

Jackie Dane, Chief People Officer at LaFosse Associates, calls these unrealistic expectations “unicorn profiles”. And she’s not wrong: if you’re looking for unicorns, you’ll struggle to hire anyone at all. This is how hiring for experience stops you filling your roles and grasping new opportunities.

        4.  A diversity disaster

If you only ever hire those from within your industry, you’ll never move the needle on diversity. This is especially so in industries like tech, where 75% of employees are male.

But, in the panic to fill roles in this economic rebound, that’s exactly what’s happening: we’re almost universally searching for those with experience. In fact, 98% of employers say they’re after experience in at least some of their roles. And 70% are using CVs as the first stage of their hiring process.

This approach risks shackling opportunity. And, as Will Searle, Capita’s Chief People Officer explains, that’ll increase both gender and ethnicity pay gaps.

        5.  The candidate experience

A recent study found that 78% of people believe that they should be judged on their potential – not their experience or qualifications. What’s more, almost one fifth of jobseekers wish employers wouldn’t ask for a CV at all.

Scrapping the CV is a sure-fire way to improve your employer brand. And, by shifting towards potential, jobseekers are more likely to see you as an inclusive, forward-thinking employer.

What comes next?

If you’re to scrap the CV, and abandon hiring for experience, you’ll need to replace it with something. Our suggestion? Potential. Start measuring what really matters for your role, and hire for your candidates’ true potential to succeed in your roles.

At Arctic Shores, we’re making that easier than ever. All with UNA – the Talent Discovery Platform. With UNA, you can:

  • Configure and manage your own assessments, choosing the Success Criteria that matter most for your roles.
  • Easily screen your candidates, in or out, based on how they match those Success Criteria.
  • Integrate with your ATS, through our secure API, and get instant access to meaningful insight.
  • Give every candidate meaningful feedback. Instantly.

If you’re open to seeing potential, UNA puts it in plain sight.

How we hire has to change, and scrapping the CV is the first step. To learn more about how we’re making that first step simple, drop us a line here.

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