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The barriers to scrapping the CV – and how you can overcome them

Tuesday 7th June

The barriers to scrapping the CV – and how you can overcome them


Scrapping the CV & selecting for potential

Cast your mind back to how you got the job you’re in today. Did it all start with a CV? 

The chances are, you sent one over at some point. Because the CV’s a default – tried and traditional. But, when you think about it, what does your CV actually show? 

It might outline some ‘relevant’ experience, perhaps in a similar industry or role. But there’s one thing it doesn’t show: your potential

This matters, because the world of work is changing. By 2025, the World Economic Forum predicts that 85 million jobs will disappear, 97 million new digital-first jobs will arise, and half of all workers will need to reskill. Where on your CV does it prove you’ve got the qualities needed to adapt? To learn quickly, or handle uncertainty? The answer – it doesn’t. As we start to see stark shifts in what work looks like, it’s time we abandoned experience, and scrapped the CV. It’s time to select for potential instead.  

But then the logical question is, how? We’re not saying there aren’t barriers – there are. But, if our latest Customer Forum taught us anything, it’s that, with the right tools and a bit of bravery, you can overcome them. 

Here are the biggest barriers to scrapping the CV identified by our attendees, and how they plan to leapfrog them.

Barrier #1: CVs are the ‘status quo’

The unknown can be a scary place. If you’ve always hired this way, relying on experience, breaking out of that mould will always be daunting. But, in an era of constant change, standing still means going backwards.

Overcoming the fear of change:

Just because something is always done a certain way, doesn’t mean it should stay that way. The current hiring process is simply not working. People leaders need to find (and make visible) the pioneers and champions within the organisation that want to do hiring differently.

Barrier #2: Internal resistance

We heard this a lot at the Forum – enthusiasm to move towards potential, mixed with fears of resistance from hiring managers and other senior team members. For many of your colleagues, the CV is an expectation – a tool they see as vital in the interview stage to guide their questioning. So convincing them to shift from experience to potential may well be challenging.

Overcoming internal resistance:

Showing, not telling, can make all the difference here. Showing where other organisations have succeeded (more on this later!) can help sway them in the right direction. By proving the value of scrapping the CV and selecting for potential, they are much more likely to be receptive to breaking out of the status quo.

You can also make a strong case for why the CV is an outdated approach, which often actually makes great hiring harder. You can learn a bit more on this here.

Barrier #3: A perceived lack of alternatives

CVs are the most common way to screen and progress candidates. So it’s not surprising that many employers aren’t familiar with the alternatives. This ties back to findings from our recent survey, where 39% of respondents told us they’ve yet to scrap the CV as they haven’t found a suitable replacement. 

Overcoming this barrier:

This comes down to finding the right alternative – because there are alternatives. Take Arctic Shores’ Talent Discovery Platform – UNA. With UNA, you can forget all about the CV, and see every candidate’s true potential instead. All by measuring their unique qualities in action, with a task-based assessment.

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UNA works, and here’s the proof:

Case study: Capita

Still sceptical that scrapping the CV can be successful? Andrew Porter, Group Resourcing Director at Capita, outlined how his teams improved candidate quality, satisfaction and diversity, all by selecting for potential over experience. With Arctic Shores’ support, Andrew scrapped the CV for its early careers roles, Kickstart campaign, and even leadership hires.

Early careers

Before working with Arctic Shores, Capita struggled to guarantee fair assessment for early careers roles. That’s because there’s often little relevant experience to go on in a graduate’s CV. This encourages bias, and obscures true potential.

But, with Arctic Shores’ platform in place, Capita can finally see beyond the CV and capture every candidate’s potential – regardless of background, ethnicity or gender. Even if they’re assessing 12,000 candidates – as they did in their 2020 campaign year – their processes face zero bias, and zero adverse impact. And, what’s more, over 90% of early careers candidates enjoyed the assessment stage.

Kickstart campaign

For Capita’s government-backed Kickstart campaign, it faced a different problem. How to be sure that the young candidates coming into the programme were those who with the qualities needed to benefit most? This meant assessing two data points, simultaneously: intelligence and personality. And, of course, it all had to be both accurate and entirely fair.

By looking at potential over experience, Capita’s Kickstart hires were considerably more diverse compared to hiring via traditional recruitment methods. For example, 41% never went to university, three in five were from minority ethnic communities, and one in ten were neurodiverse.

Leadership hires

Building on Kickstart’s success, the next obstacle was finding a way to see the potential of senior executives. How to scrap the CV for Capita’s leadership hires?

Capita tasked Arctic Shores with creating a profile to assess leadership potential (cross-functionally and globally) in line with Capita’s Leadership Framework. 

Rather than using this profile to screen candidates, it would instead inform the interview stage. To create the profile, Arctic Shores’ business psychologists undertook a four-step process:

  • Desk research
  • Job analysis
  • Internal workshops with Capita’s Employee Network Group
  • High performer interviews

This gave them an understanding of what a good Capita leader looked like. Now all that was left was to start assessing.

The result? Capita can now see candidates’ potential at all levels – from entry to executive. When it came to hiring senior executives, two thirds found the experience more relaxing than traditional methods, and candidates progressed fairly through to the next stage.

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