MORE HARM THAN GOOD?
CVs are an indispensable tool for job seeking—and they’re totally flawed 📄💼 ⛈
Print it out. Use the Europass format. Keep it brief. Add a photo. Write it in two different languages. Make sure you get it all on one page.
Striving to write the perfect CV can be a stressful process!
It needs to be concise while also thoroughly outlining your skills (both soft and hard).
It needs to offer a pleasant reading experience for humans while also being IT friendly, so that it can be screened by computers searching for keywords associated with the vacancy.
It needs to be creative but not too free-spirited or you may give the impression of being flippant.
After going to great effort to write your CV, all that’s left to do is contemplate its limitations: a traditional CV is no longer – and perhaps never was – considered an exhaustive overview of a person’s professional credentials. In addition to the fact that CVs are not always comprehensive, sometimes they are too long, sometimes they leave out important details, and they provide no opportunity to learn about people’s personalities.
So do they do more harm than good? ☠
It would seem so.
Therefore, it is no surprise that in many working environments the CV as we know it is changing shape, in a transformation process driven by technological progress.
What does the future hold?🔮
Blockchain-certified curricula to prevent false claims and documents drawn up in accordance with software-friendly guidelines with the capacity to provide detailed information and give extremely comprehensive professional profiles. This will all turn current recruiting procedures upside-down: rather than job hunters having to plough through countless applications on all sorts of websites, employers will seek out the perfect candidate by systematically scrutinizing digital CVs in the search for highly specific criteria.
How about job interviews?👔🎓
Be prepared for anything: from meetings with robots to interviews on Ferris wheels.
So there’s a glimpse of the future… and it isn’t too far away.
MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION
What’s the best font?✍
There’s no right answer, but there is a wrong one: Comic Sans. The safest choice seems to be Calibri, which is the only font to appear in the top 5 of the four resume font rankings we consulted . Other safe bets seem to include Arial and Garamond.
2012: Chris Spurlock, an aspiring data journalist, designs his resume as an infographic. After it goes viral, he’s offered a job at the Huffington Post.
2013: Philippe Dubost, a French web product manager, builds an online resume in the style of an Amazon product page. It helps get him a job at Birchbox.
Interviews in conference rooms are a thing of the past according to LinkedIn 👵👴
Some say that interviews in conference rooms are ancient history.
When we say “some”, we mean none other than Brendan Browne, the Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition at LinkedIn. The leading player in Silicon Valley has spent years recruiting talents for the social network with 500 million members, whose very mission is to help people to further their careers.
In his own words, Brendan Browne has chosen to “never interview again in a conference room”. They are stuffy, predictable places that can sometimes make job interviews seem more like interrogations. It is much better to pick an unusual location or even an informal conversation “on the move”.
The craze for reinventing job interviews seems to be spreading: LinkedIn carried out a survey of approximately 9,000 recruiters and members of human resources staff in 39 countries and found that many of them are keen to rewrite the traditional rules for interviews.
What should you expect? Take a look below to find out…
Wear comfortable shoes 👠👞
On the day of your interview, it is probably best not to wear stilettos or tight shoes because you might be asked to have a chat as you stroll along the corridors in the interviewer’s building, or perhaps even outside. “Get some fresh air” suggests the LinkedIn recruiter. The idea of getting away from the physical walls of a room and thus also escaping the mental ones actually stretches all of the way back to Aristotle’s philosophy lessons: his students were known as “Peripatetics”, or “walkers”. Meanwhile, research published by the American Psychological Association in 2014 showed that walking aids creative thinking and concentration.
Never turn down a cup of coffee ☕
Browne also likes to hold interviews in unconventional locations and it is an approach that is proving more and more popular. How original should the setting be? In some cases, truly bizarre places are chosen. For example, advertising agency Havas Worldwide and e-commerce company Jet.com have interviewed people on a Ferris wheel. However, a simple coffee bar can serve the purpose just as well. According to the LinkedIn expert: “Science tells us when someone has a drink in hand, they’re far more relaxed. You’ll see their authentic selves and who they really are.” So if an interviewer offers you a drink, bear in mind that they may not just be making a nice gesture.
An unexpected script 🎭
Candidates can have no secrets from smart robots 🤖
If a candidate is nervous, she’ll know it in an instant. Vera is as meticulous as the toughest recruiters in the business, but she’s no regular HR team member – she’s a robot! Or, more specifically, she’s an artificial intelligence programme created by Russian start-up Stafory. This technological gem is capable of seeking out the best CV in the pile, setting up a meeting with the chosen candidate and – finally – conducting a telephone or video interview and evaluating what the person on the other side of the screen says and how they come across.
When people become “machines”…
The founders of the start-up, which was launched in 2016 and now turns over $1 million every year, are Vladimir Sveshnikov and Alexander Uraksin – two under-30s who hail from a background not in IT, but in HR. The two entrepreneurs were well aware of the difficulties associated with the profession – they had first-hand experience of drowning in CVs, wasting time looking for the actually relevant ones and spending hours and hours phoning up candidates (sometimes hundreds at a time). “We felt like robots ourselves,” explains Uraksin. “So, we decided that it would be better to make the whole process automatic.”
… and software becomes more human
Though not much thought went into the name of this “digital recruiter” (Vera is the name of Sveshnikov’s mother), it took a huge amount of effort to set up and develop the project. Vera combines the voice-recognition technology of Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Russian company Yandex and is also equipped with linguistic capacities which allow it to hold a conversation. The AI algorithm was trained using 13 billion fragments of phrases taken from Wikipedia, TV programmes and job vacancies. Last but not least, Vera was given the appearance of a pretty, young woman – who knew? – who appears on the screen during video interviews, thus making the whole experience more realistic.
Quicker, more efficient recruitment processes
But what becomes of those famous first impressions, which often make all the difference when it comes to selecting a new employee? First and foremost, it’s worth making the point that this software takes responsibility for the most repetitive, preliminary part of the recruitment process. It undertakes an initial run through the CVs, calls candidates to set up a meeting and answer their questions and then finally conducts the interviews (sometimes with more than one candidate at the same time). In this way, it can speed the process of contacting the best candidates up by as much as ten times (the best-suited 10% of candidates). At that point, Vera passes the baton on to her real-life colleagues, who of course still have the final say.
This innovative programme promises to revolutionise the world of recruiting and has already caught the eye of a number of big companies. So, be prepared – if you ever go for a job at di Ikea, PepsiCo, L’Oreal or another of the start-up’s 300 or so clients, Vera could be the one running the rule over your application!
IN BLOCKCHAIN WE TRUST!
Does your CV add up? Blockchain can find out 🕵
The art of CV fibbing is on borrowed time ⏱
While in the pre-internet era it was rather easier to make wild claims about the skills you have without being found out, today’s endless digital archives can spring a few surprises and reveal all manner of lies.
It really happens, too. And in a big way. London’s Risk Advisory Group analysed 5,500 CVs, discovering that 80% contained inaccurate information and 12% showed false information regarding the candidate’s academic career.
Nonetheless, it has always taken time and patience to follow all these issues up.
Until now. For companies and recruiters now have a new trick up their sleeve.
Its name? Blockchain.
No tampering 🔐
We’re using to hearing about blockchain in connection with cryptocurrency exchange – bitcoin, Ethereum and the rest – or smart contracts.
Yet blockchain technology can also come in handy when we need to guarantee the authenticity of a series of data. The technology is a sort of shared log book – a virtual database created using collective resources, with no need for middlemen. Those with access to the database exchange encrypted data, adding a new “block” each time without being able to modify data already inputted (unless they have the consent of the other parties involved). So – no tampering allowed!
Easier done than said 👁
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston was one of the first to use blockchain to issue its graduates with digital degrees impossible to modify. This method – known as Blockcerts – may seem complicated, with credentials being exchanged between universities and students and digital signatures being used to authenticate the degrees, but in reality everything is done with just a few clicks. Easier done than said, if you will.
Another trailblazer in this field is London-based company Appii. Using this service, people looking for work can create a profile featuring their skills and professional aspirations as well as one or more blockchain-verified CVs. Appii makes it possible to authenticate not just academic qualifications, but also attendance at refresher courses and conferences, making it easy to share this via email and social media. It has big advantages for companies, too, who gain verify the credentials of candidates quickly and transparently.
Because while it’s good to trust in people, trusting in blockchain is even better.
A TAILORED CHALLENGE FOR EACH CANDIDATE
From a homeless shelter to a job with a multinational ✈
Would you be prepared to sleep in a homeless shelter to get the job of your dreams?
This isn’t a joke: it really happened.
The Scandinavian telecommunications giant Ericsson was behind the incredible story.
A candidate who we shall call “Lucas” was contacted the day before a key interview and asked to do something quite remarkable: get to North Carolina – on the other side of the planet – for something that was simply described as a test.
The company organized the challenge because it wanted high-profile applicants for equally high-profile positions to really put themselves on the line. The figures in question need to be able to offer “something extra” and they must always be ready to roll up their sleeves and handle unforeseen circumstances successfully.
A tailored challenge for each candidate 🤵
The original plan was to send the candidates to Puerto Rico to help volunteers from NGOs with the post-hurricane reconstruction work, but it was rejected due to logistical difficulties. Instead, the telecommunications giant chose Charlotte: a city in North Carolina with a vibrant business scene. Then it sent the unconventional invitation to Lucas. “I had no idea where I was going,” said the candidate. “I didn’t know whether I should bring sandals or a suit.”
Waiting at his destination were two other candidates. One of them was used to working for huge, solid companies, so he was thrust into a start-up to show that he was capable of working in unfamiliar settings. The other was asked to develop a new business model to revive a flagging dance school. Some would say that Lucas was given the trickiest task when he was asked to spend 24 hours in a shelter for homeless people and recovering drug addicts.
Being forced out of your comfort zone 🖼
After spending a day talking to the local people and the staff at the shelter, Lucas had got a good overall picture of the situation, so he proposed ways for the organization to improve its support service for those in need with no additional costs by taking advantage of its alumni network. It proved to be an inspiring and stimulating experience for Lucas, who showed an enterprising spirit and the capacity to operate outside his comfort zone, which ultimately won him the job.
Put yourselves on the line 🏆
So should we rip up our CVs and consign traditional interviews to the history books? Probably not, at least not straight away and not completely. Nonetheless, you should be ready to take on practical challenges, although they may not be as extreme as the examples above.
For instance, the consulting firm McKinsey is fond of simulations in which candidates are given a set amount of time to solve real problems. Other companies take a more simple approach – while still applying the same principle – by putting candidates through trial periods before giving them full-time offers so that they can look beyond the words in their CVs and tangibly test their skills.
Are you ready to put yourselves to the test?