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Is the CV Dead and will video replace it?

Published by shaddow on

There is a lot of material available from expert recruiters, bloggers and media companies that predicts the demise of the Curriculum Vitae. They suggest that a CV plus cover-letter isn’t flexible enough for a modern world of recruitment. Social Media and video interviews offer new ways to express oneself. So is the CV dead?

Many say that a CV is inadequate for evidencing certain skills, such as those in the creative industries. A craftsmen’s dovetail joint is better evidenced in a photo than in a paragraph of English. However, it could be anyone’s dovetail joint.

Video applications were once predicted to replace the CV. After all, vendors say that everyone is comfortable with it and that a video gives more character insights. Facial analytics can apparently detect honesty more accurately than a human. But let’s not get carried away with these new options. They also present issues when compared to a CV.

Benefits of the written CV

The CV is an imperfect document. However, its imminent demise is overstated and that’s because of some irreplaceable benefits. Is the CV Dead? Let’s find out:


Experienced recruiters and HR staff can make a decision on a CV faster than you can open a browser or complete a Google search. According to research carried out by TheLadders.com in 2012, the average time spent reading a CV was just 6.25 seconds. More recent evidence suggests this has reduced further. I have personally witnessed a recruiter reject CVs in just a couple of seconds. If much of recruitment is about sorting the wheat from the chaff, 6.25 seconds is hard to beat using any other method.

Relevance Checking

Job boards and Applicant Tracking Systems index the content of each CV so that the best candidates can be found and alerted quickly with new vacancies. Adverts and CVs are both text-based which means that matching CVs to new jobs is commonplace. That translates into valuable assistance to the recruiter and it isn’t easily achieved with other media.


Employers prefer applicants who can communicate well, show attention to detail, manage complexity and so on. The CV is the perfect instrument to put some of those skills to the test. However, Adzuna reported in 2016 that 3 in 4 CVs contain spelling mistakes. That demonstrates a lack of attention to detail. We judge a Curriculum Vitae harshly because applicants have unlimited time to get things right. so, the CV is good for highlighting limitations and it’s quite hard to beat.


Tackling unconscious bias in the recruitment process is important. There is a lot of evidence that an applicant’s name alone can alter shortlisting outcomes. Whether this is discrimination or unconscious bias, CVPlaza.com places the inclusion of head shot photographs among the top 5 reasons for CV rejection. That means that names and faces can influence shortlisting before skills and experience.

Name blind recruitment has been adopted by the Civil service, the BBC, the NHS, learndirect, HSBC, Deloitte, Virgin Money and others. To support this, automatically disguising an applicant’s name in a CV is achievable. Disguising one’s looks, age, weight, ethnicity or sex in either a video or photograph is impractical.

Other CV advantages

A CV conveys so much more than the applicant may have intended. So, for the trained eye, these are some red flags:

  • Writing a lot more about a job of 10 years ago than the most recent.
  • A wall of text without obvious sections.
  • Mismatched fonts and frilly borders.

“Is the CV dead?” is a question I have asked HR Managers, internal recruiters, agency staff and line managers. The consensus is that we can complete applicant assessments pretty accurately based upon a CV. We all seem to be able to do that in a compliant manner and at speed.

I have to conclude that there is no compelling reason to move away from the CV. Nor is there a practical alternative that covers all the bases. Even when asking for Application Forms, most still prefer to add a CV because it adds valuable insights.

I suspect that future new technologies will supplement the CV and offer a richer view of the applicant. Delivering additional evidence of a candidate’s skill, aptitude and experience is in the interests of employers. However, the need for speed, accuracy and compliance should ensure that the CV is well placed for the foreseeable future.

Meet the Author

Stuart Haddow is the founder of XperiSoft, the company behind CVMinder ATS for Applicant Tracking and CVMinder HUB for recruiting apprentices, managing work placements and employability. He has delivered expert advice to executives and jobseekers on CVs, recruitment and employability.

As published on HR News – http://hrnews.co.uk/written-cv-stay/


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