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Should you still use CV sifting?

Lead consultant at Test Partnership, Ben Schwencke, answers the timely question: should you still use CV sifting?.

4:44 Should you still use CV sifting?


No. No, we shouldn't. We should never have. It's never been an effective tool. I think everyone deep down knows this, that it was always a bit of a con. What, what... first of all, what I'm saying is obviously you should have some hard requirements for the role, right? To work in the country, certain number, years of experience if necessary, a certain qualification, which otherwise would bar you from the role.

That makes sense. Doesn't need to be in a CV, but at least that's one way of transferring that information. That's not really what we're talking about. What we're talking about is using a CV, like a crystal ball and just say, oh, look at this personal statement. They probably aren't very passionate. Oh, look, there's a typo in the, in the CV, they've probably got really low verbal reasoning, you know, and they're not gonna be able to write documents.

To work in the country, certain number, years of experience if necessary, a certain qualification, which otherwise would bar you from the role.

You know, that's, oh, look at their hobbies. You know, they're probably not very original thinkers. Something like that, you know? And that has always been... nonsense. And the fact that candidates have historically been screened out on the basis of that nonsense is, I would say, deeply upsetting to me as a business psychologist.

To put this in context, it's kind of like coral bleaching for a marine biologist. It's just the worst thing. So upsetting to see. It's like deforestation to like a climate scientist. It's just, this is awful. This is the worst thing that could be happening. Okay. When you have a thousand fresh graduates, okay.

Bying for 10 roles, okay? And 900 of them get screened out on the basis of this sort of magical CV reading you.

That's exactly how we feel. It is so upsetting. It flies so in the face of what we're trying to achieve, it leaves so much on the table for the organisation 'cause all of the top performers have been screened out because everyone's CV, especially now that it's all written ChatGPT,okay, now that everyone's CV is just made by AI, you're not learning anything about, okay, it's pure random noise in the data. You don't need to worry about it. All you would ever use a CV for is just to make sure that they have the right to work in the country. Whatever hard requirement that you have is met, and that would honestly get better served with killer questions in an application form.

So no fundamentally, Not only do I not recommend you do it now, and now is the worst possible time to be doing this because every CV is written by some sort of AI language model. Even if it wasn't, there's nothing in a CV that would be useful to you. You know, if there's a typo and means nothing, you know, if they haven't mentioned their favorite hobby, or if they have and you don't like it, that doesn't mean you shouldn't hire them.

There's no information in there that would be worth anything in a selection context, so you can ignore it. So what do you do instead? Because you know, in the example I gave earlier, you've got 10,000, say 1,000 grads, you know, 10,000 grads, a hundred thousand grads, and you need to get that number down 'cause you can't interview all of them and that's understandable.

Obviously the HR and the TA team, their resources are not infinite and so you have to, make compromises, but pulling CVs out of hats and magically reading into them and pretending that you know, this person on the basis of AI generated text is not the way forward. What you need is a cost effective, scalable solution for pre-employment testing, psychometric assessment.

Okay. Particularly with grads, that means ability testing and that's how the big organisations do it anyway. The big professional services firms, the banks, they're not CV sifting because they don't wanna lose their good candidates. You know, they're using these assessments. There's a huge body of evidence that they're predictive performance, especially in graduate schemes, grads and apprentices.

Any role where the first three years is just hardcore learning, okay? Cognitive ability is gonna be the most important thing, especially when it's the organisation investing in those applicants, providing the qualifications, training with mentoring, that's a risk and that's a cost you wanna return on that investment, so you do everything you can to find those high performers, and you're not gonna do that with the CV, are going do that with aptitude testing. In doing so, you will maximize the quality of higher, many, many fold. I'd like to give a number. I'd like to say, oh, it's 10 times better than CV sifting, a hundred times better. It's not calculable because it had the validity to begin with, so it's just all upside. So yes, you should drop the CV.

It was never worth doing before. Find some way to make sure that your killer questions are met and then test thoroughly early and often. And you will certainly find those high performers far more likely than you would with CV sifting.