2 reasons why CV-based screening is broken

Anete Vesere

Content Marketer

Using CVs to assess candidates is nothing new, it is the way we’ve all done it for decades. CV is the norm, and in the eyes of most considered as the best and easiest way also for candidates to showcase their experience and skills to ultimately land a job.

And yes, CVs contain a lot of relatively useful information about the work experience, education, personality and other skills of your candidates. However, CV-based screening is in fact a broken method to use when hiring…

A quick poll says more than a thousand words

If your company also screens candidates based on their resume, and even prepares interviews by making use of a resume, this second statistic is probably even more interesting for you. We ran a quick poll on our company LinkedIn asking people whether they think that a CV gives enough information to determine whether the candidate is fit for the job. And well, the results speak for themselves…

Without a doubt, I can say that AT LEAST 80% of companies are still using CV as the primary candidate screening and selection method. Yet at the same time, as this poll reveals – the majority of those who still use CVs, do not even believe that a CV tells them enough information to determine whether the candidate is a good fit for the job or not.

Which then raises some questions – why are people still choosing to use CV-based screening if they don’t even believe in it?

Are you not yet convinced that CVs should be a thing of the past? 

Well, then you’re in for a treat…

2 reasons why CV-based screening is broken

There is NO correlation between job performance and education or even work experience

We have always been told that someone’s educational level is a solid indicator of analytical intelligence, i.e. academic intelligence. And although we know that this is not always the case, it’s such a deep-rooted habit, that it has become a cognitive bias in our brains. Without us being aware of it, we instantly link analytical intelligence to someone’s educational level. 

This means that by using CVs, we wrongfully reject candidates with a lower educational level but a higher degree of analytical intelligence and advance candidates with a higher educational level but lower analytical intelligence.

Over the last decades, extensive research has been conducted to reveal the correlation between different candidate characteristics and job performance. Whereas the correlation between education and job performance is only .10, the correlation between cognitive ability (GMA) and job performance is .65. 

This means that someone’s cognitive ability (also called your General Mental Ability, the indicator for human intelligence) is 6.5x as predictive for future job performance than education.

CVs contain a lot of irrelevant information, which leaves a lot of room for Unconscious Bias to creep in

It takes one-tenth of a second to make a wrong judgment about someone. So it comes as no surprise that first impressions can be misleading. Hiring the wrong person (or rejecting a great one) can end up being a costly mistake.

And in most cases, our judgment on whom will make the best hire is heavily influenced by our own unconscious biases. Especially when it comes to CV-based screening..

For example, stereotyping bias, affinity bias, the halo and horns effect are triggered by relevant and irrelevant information displayed on CVs.

The affinity bias (similarity bias), is the preference of people who we perceive as similar to us. It can be triggered by irrelevant information such as a hobby mentioned on the CV that the candidate and hiring manager share

The stereotyping bias is the process of making generalised assumptions based on an unrelated characteristic or trait. 

Take a look at just how many unconscious biases get triggered in one single CV!

So, there you have the proof that resume-based screening is not only broken, but also in most cases results in extremely discriminatory hiring practices.

Therefore, less is more! The less distracting information we base our first impression on, the better we are equipped to make objective hiring decisions.

P.S. In case you’d like to learn more about the risks of CV-based screening – check out the webinar recording below! Together Leonie Grandpierre, Neuroscientist, & Charlotte Melkert, Co-Founder & CEO at Equalture share insights into the dangers of using CVs and the science behind job performance predictors.

How Equalture can help

Here at Equalture, we are building a tool that revolutionises the way candidates apply to one of your jobs. Instead of uploading a resume and filling in a boring job application form, we let candidates share their LinkedIn profile and play some games right away.

Curious to try out one of these games yourself? Leave your details below and start your game right away. However, we won’t tell you what we will measure only until after you’ve completed it… 😉

Anete Vesere

Anete Vesere

Content Marketer at Equalture. Dedicated and passionate about educating the world about unconscious bias in hiring.

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