CVs are one of the worst tools to select candidates

“CVs are one of the worst tools to select candidates for recruitment processes”. This might be a controversial thing to say – especially when it comes from a company that is paid to do exactly that: write CVs.

Why? Because CVs are:
• written by people who have never been taught, how to do that correctly
• often written in haste
• almost never complete
full of mistakes: typos, formatting, verbose content, lack of results or tangible successes

These are, of course, on the one hand reasons to hire a company like Career Angels, but on the other hand, these are reasons to not use CVs as a main selection tool! It’s a fair assumption that more than 90% of CVs fulfill most (if not all) of the above criteria.

What (can) happen when CVs are read by “humans” (recruiter or hiring manager):

  • bias caused by, among others, stereotype or “Overconfidence, Just Like Me, Halo Effect, Confirmation” as defined by this article
  • misinterpretation of data; usually because “the human” is not qualified by being either too junior or simply not fully knowing the field

So, why would we continue with a system that we know is flawed on both sides of supply (candidates) and demand (companies)?

Now, of course, well-trained recruiters or really good recruitment companies are part of the solution, IF they are doing it right. And that’s a big, big IF.

Some might now scream: ATS! AI!

They are equally ineffective, but for a different reason: unless they’ve been really, really well programmed, they are simple “keyword comparers” (in other words, cheaper solutions to their human counterparts). They are dumb machines that are (relatively) easily hacked. Wanna know more – check out

Having said that – at least they are not biased. And the algorithm can be learned and understood by candidates. They just need to want do to do that.

With so many challenges – what’s the solution? Interview every single candidate in person? (Spoiler: the answer is no, but we’ll explain why interviews are not too effective either another time.)

Although we are a small company of 20+, we’ve “cracked” the recruitment secret that we’ve described here at length which is in short:
ignore CVs to a vast extent – we use it only as a guide to verify potentially crucial experience / know-how that can’t be trained within 3-6 months
we don’t really interview candidates anymore
we put them through a set of 4 tests that reach a 100% predictability in terms of performance, job and cultural fit. A side bonus: our team has become more diverse.

We call our approach #HireCompetenciesNotCVs.

Do you want to find out more? Or do you already know that your recruitment process or hiring policy need a review? (If you are not sure, ask yourself “Am I satisfied with the volume and quality of applying candidates? In-house talent pipeline? Personnel rotation?”) We’d love to support you – all of you: HR, recruiters, Hiring Managers! Simply send an email to Bichl.Sandra (at) to schedule an intro call.

PS. If you are a manager or executive who understands that they need a CV that will work in the currently flawed system, feel free to get in touch as well! When know how to hack both sides!