The Truth Behind CVs & Assessments in Candidate Screening: Mari Järvinen

Anete Vesere (1)

Anete Vesere

Content Marketer

Candidate assessments and CVs play a crucial role in the hiring process. Employers rely on these tools to evaluate potential candidates and make informed decisions. However, are these traditional methods truly effective in identifying the right talent? 

In this blog, together with Mari Järvinen we will dive into the flaws and biases associated with candidate assessments and CVs, shedding light on the need for a more comprehensive approach to talent evaluation.

The problem with CVs

CV, or resume, has long been considered a standard part of job applications. Yet, there are inherent issues with relying initially on this to assess a candidate’s suitability for a role.

Limited correlation with work performance

While a CV heavily highlights work experience and education, the past achievements of a candidate say surprisingly little about their work performance. Most importantly, Mari highlights that after about 5 years of experience, more experience does not predict better job performance (Schmidt, 2015).

Focus on the past

CVs capture past experiences, often unrelated to the present job requirements. A candidate who held a position as a product manager a decade ago may not possess the same skills and knowledge needed for the role today.

Potential for bias and misinterpretation

Human beings are inherently prone to stereotyping and generalisations, seeking patterns and shortcuts to make sense of the world around them. When it comes to CV-based screening, factors like prestigious education or relevant certifications can make a positive impressions, while lacking certain desired attributes may lead recruiters and hiring managers to view the candidate as not fit for the job.

Inconsistent language and embellishmen

Job seekers are well-versed in tailoring their CVs to present themselves in the best possible light. For example:

Candidates can also strategically select words, omit certain details, and optimise their CVs based on advice from various sources, for example:

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Assessments as a step towards more comprehensive candidate evaluation

Assessments can provide additional data points for a more comprehensive evaluation of candidates. The key principle to remember is that multiple data points are necessary to substantiate our impressions of candidates. Assessments contribute to this process by offering objective insights into a candidate’s current capabilities rather than relying solely on their past experiences.

Incorporating assessments into the screening process helps us gain a deeper understanding of a candidate's skills, competencies, and potential. It allows us to make more informed decisions based on their current abilities rather than solely relying on their past achievements.

Mari Järvinen headshot


Here are a few things Mari suggests you keep in mind when choosing a pre-employment assessment:

1. Use the right tool

Mari Järvinen emphasizes that: “we must be cautious, as tests such as Myers-Briggs typology, is unsuitable for recruitment purposes as it lacks validity and reliability”. Read more about it in our blog that discusses DiSC & MBTI.

2. Do not rely solely on a single data point

The use of reliable and well-designed assessment tools is imperative to ensure accuracy. Employing multiple data points, ideally more than two, enhances the credibility of the assessment results.

3. Emphasize the scientific development of assessments to minimize biases

This involves choosing an assessment that is built upon rigorous methodologies, utilises evidence-based methods, and continuously is being evaluated and refined. The goal is to choose an assessment that provides more reliable, fair, and accurate results.

4. Do not overlook or dismiss the results of assessments.

Ignoring or rationalising poor performance in these assessments can lead to hiring decisions that are detrimental to the company. It is vital to acknowledge objective assessment results and base decisions on them rather than subjective biases or personal preferences.

Time to reimagine how we evaluate candidates

The flaws in relying solely on CVs for candidate screening have become increasingly apparent. By recognising the limitations of this traditional approach and incorporating the right assessments, we can pave the way for a more comprehensive and fairer recruitment process. 

With the guidance of experts like Mari, we can reimagine the way we evaluate candidates and ultimately build stronger and more diverse teams.

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