CV Screening – Can you spot a pretender?

CV Screening – Can you spot a pretender?

CV Screening – Can you spot a pretender?

Nowadays, writing a CV is becoming a complex art form and people are investing increasing amounts of time and energy ensuring they get their application just right.

How can you make sure you’re neither having the wool pulled over your eyes or binning the perfect candidate?

Whether you have experienced full-time in-house recruiters or use agencies to hire once a year, there will come a time where you find yourself wondering how the candidate sitting in front of you bears so little relation to the one presented on their CV. Sometimes it’s not that easy to spot and recruiters can be drawn in to a web of deception.

First things first, a word of comfort, it happens to the best of us. People are investing more and more in producing a flawless CV to make themselves standout from everyone else. Of course, by doing this there is a likelihood that people are also being encouraged to oversell themselves or stretch the truth just a little too far.

So how do you spot the good from that bad?


Looking at bad CVs

There are any number of reasons why this can happen. While most companies will agree the interview is the most important factor during the hiring process, the fact of the matter is, that it is the CV that gets you through the door in the first place.

The rub is, that you are ruling out the possibility of this instance working in reverse: sometimes a bad CV turns into a good interview and the candidate takes you by surprise.

In order to determine the likelihood of a candidate’s success you have to look beyond the CV and look at the physical characteristics of the candidate.

This is where a recruiter’s insight can help you. So, here are some areas that you need to focus on:



When reviewing CV’s, look for words that demonstrate the applicant has the necessary experience to do the job correctly. These can be industry terms or specific knowledge that shows the employee knows what they’re doing, even if the rest of their CV is coming up short.



These days, experience is generally not as important as knowledge and ability. But applicants that have spent many years with a single company performing tasks related to your industry may still have qualities that make them valuable employees.



You can usually uncover a candidate’s best qualities within the first few bullet points on their CV. Often great information followed by useless information is just a sign that the applicant hasn’t had much experience writing CVs. Even if they only tick a few boxes they may be worth following up.



Finally, make sure you really do look for signs of great applicants within bad CVs. Every time you discard a CV because of a few flaws, you run the risk of losing out on an individual that may be best for the position.


Stretching the Truth

Now you know how to look for a good candidate in a bad CV, how do you make sure you pick out the CVs that really are too good to be true?

The most common areas where people bend the truth are:

  • Exaggerating dates of past employment
  • Falsifying qualifications earned
  • Inflating job title and salary
  • Concealing a criminal record


But here are a few simple tips to help you differentiate between fantasy and reality…

  • Perform an internet search on a previous employer
  • Search for the candidate in LinkedIn and other sites to make sure their history matches their CV
  • Perform a background check including work history, residences, dates of employment, etc. and look for discrepancies
  • Use pre-employment screening tests
  • Be fair, mistakes do happen so contact the candidate and give the opportunity to explain themselves
  • Use common sense; something that’s too good to be true, very often is!


If you feel you’d benefit from some support to ensure you’re securing the top talent, drop us a line and see how we can help!


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