Reading a CV

Reading a CV

The are two important things to realise about CVs. Firstly they’re for screening out, not for making final decisions. It’s important not to make assumptions as to candidate fit based purely on their CV.

Secondly, it’s important to realise that the CV represents how a candidate wants to present themselves to you as an employer. It’s not just a document listing their former employers and their educational experience.

Here are some helpful factors to consider when you’re reading a CV:

Look for themes of skills. Don’t be bogged down by where someone has worked or the title of the role they held. Instead look for the work they did and the goals they achieved.

Value add. In a startup we often have to wear a number of different hats. The Product Manager who has a background as a developer could be a great addition to your team and offer a deeper understanding of the technical constraints in building your next feature.

Look for people that enjoy what they do. When did the interest in his craft begin? Have they been coding since eight years old? What hobbies/extracurriculars/personal projects are listed? Does the writing convey any emotion/enthusiasm? Do they introduce themselves in a way that is compatible with your company culture and the culture you’re trying to build?

Don’t be put off by formatting issues. CVs can come through a number of sources, who knows how they will be mangled when filtered though LinkedIn, email and an ATS before you get to look at them. Spelling issues might be a cause for concern but make sure you’re not missing out on someone who speaks English as a second language.  However, if a CV is riddled with mistakes it should be a quick no.

What evidence of achievement is displayed? Look for awards, test scores, academic organisations, etc.

What technologies/tools does he use? Does it speak to the level of sophistication he has with his craft? Is he a creator/builder, or does he just maintain pre-existing projects?

Team diversity: What kind of experiences has he had? Does he seem well-rounded? What perspective would he bring?  Is his background the same or very similar to all the other members of the existing team? Diverse teams – in terms of gender, ethnicity and social background – take more effort to establish at first, but are more likely to be high performing.