04 August, 2016

We thought we would have a quick quiz on recruitment trivia on Monday morning, just to get our brains working on the first day of the month. We also thought we might learn something too. Amongst loads of cool facts like 18.4 million applicants globally found their job on Facebook last year, and 53% is the percentage of resumes that contain falsifications, we found the most shocking fact to be that 5-7 seconds is the average time that a recruiter takes to review a CV…WOW! This piece of trivia sparked a bit of conversation amongst ourselves, and we came to the conclusion that we must be a bit of an anomaly when it comes to this particular fact.

In a market where there is an abundance of jobs, where salaries are rising exponentially and where the top candidates in the market will usually have multiple jobs offers at one time, we find that cultural and social alignment are becoming more important, if not the most important factor when candidates are choosing which job offer to accept.

For us, building that social and cultural picture starts as soon as we open a CV. And trust us, that can’t be achieved fully in 5-7 seconds.


So what information on a CV can give us an indication of potential social and cultural fit? 

Hobbies and interests. The obvious answer, is the often overlooked “hobbies and interests” section. This tells us vital information on what you get up to when you aren’t being a tech superstar. This might be related to a particular sport, family time, self-learning or further education, music, or like us craft beer (which we enjoy in our Friday beer club). We come across some really extraordinary (and sometimes verging on bizarre) hobbies, but all of them telling us a unique story which can help us in finding the right fit for you.

Social media. With the ever tightening grip of social media on our lives (coming from the guys who are hooked on Linkedin), personal online footprint is another great way for us to gain some great insights. We are seeing more and more candidates including links to their social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, along with links to Github, Dribble, personal domains etc. (perhaps some of them shouldn’t have), but either way, we will always check. This is probably one of our favourite parts of the job. You genuinely don’t know what you’re gonna get.

Current/previous working environment. Finally, detailed info on current and previous companies and environments such as team size, industry, known culture and market reputation, technology stack, level of innovation etc. can be a great indicator. We can use this info to market map companies related to each individual aspect and from there, have a more meaningful phone call or meeting. If there are companies on your CV that we haven’t heard of, we are always keen to expand our market knowledge.   


Apart from the social and cultural aspects, what else do we spend time looking at? 

Most recent role. We are trying to get an overview of your current status, what your current title is, what you do on a daily basis, what seniority you hold and why you might even be interested in a new role. Was it because our advert was THAT good? (Probably not-Greg Savage tells us that job boards are dead) Is there uncertainty in your current company? Did you get fired?  Have you only been in there for a few months and regretting joining? Aside from that, we are really wanting to answer the question, “What live roles, or companies that we are working with, is your most recent experience suited to?”

Recognisable companies. What we are really looking for here is a point of reference, or gauge of credibility (or not in some cases). Sometimes we just like to see cool companies. It’s not that we think certain companies are better than others (although we do have favourites), it’s just some companies tell us particular things. If someone has worked for Visa, they have probably worked on highly scalable, enterprise projects. If someone has worked for a Start up like Wia ( they are probably used to flying by the seat of their pants and carrying out a million tasks from programming to testing, installing printers and selling the product. Because we have a lot of experience hiring technology professionals from a range of companies, we have recognised a lot of trends among candidates from certain companies and where they tend to move to or come from. This can be very advantageous to both candidate and clients. Equally, these assumptions can sometimes prove to be incorrect. But hey, this is only an initial CV analysis.

Overall experience. Aside from looking at your most recent experience, we like to spend time getting an overview of your whole career. How has your career progressed? Does your CV have an upward trend of responsibility? Have you pivoted away from your initial core skillset? Then back to the assumptions…what potential direction could this candidate move for their next job?

Gaps. Train station rules apply with most employers as they do tend to “mind the gap”. Fortunately for you, it isn’t all bad (like our awful link)…as long as you can provide a sufficient explanation. People take breaks for all sorts of reasons; illness, raising a family, starting their own business (cough cough). Whatever the reason, just say it. When the gap is shrouded in mystery, it is often a big red flag for us. Sure, we get that sometimes you just don’t want to share that personal something in a professional environment. That is totally fine. However, do acknowledge it and come up with a way to account for it in a way that is comfortable for you.


What would we like to see more of?

Personality. Sifting through hundreds of CVs every day, with quite often 50% irrelevant to the jobs you are hiring for, can get a little you know…SOUL DESTROYING. We are big personality people and love seeing a bit of personality coming through in your CV. Yes, we are all professionals and serious and wear suits and do grown up stuff, but we could all probably lighten up a little? I would always say keep your work experience completely professional, but there are ways to have fun with it. Take this guy’s Linkedin for example

Links. We have already mentioned the social media aspects. However, as well as where you are partying on a Saturday night, or where you are on holiday, or what hipster café you are eating avocado in, we are also interested in your online contributions. Do you write posts for industry columns? Do you have an industry related blog? Are you a contributor to open source projects or have you written any books or articles? We actually find the most interesting projects, are the ones you are doing in your spare time, outside of your day job. It is also a great way to show your passion for the industry.


What do we want to see less of?

Formatting. As much as we love being creative and looking at nicely designed and put together CVs, they cause us incredible pain when they come through our system looking like binary or an LSD trip. For the most part, employers are not that interested in the fancy presentation of a CV. It also doesn’t make up for the lack of relevant skills or experience J. Aside from this, the majority of client sevsubmission systems only allow plain text to be pasted.  We would advise that you keep it simple and send your CV in a widely used PDF format.    

Fantasy. 53% of all CVs contain falsifications. Quite simply, the truth always comes out.

Pages. Even for the most experienced candidates, with 20+ years’ experience, anything longer than 8 pages is usually frowned upon. Ideal length would be between 2-5 pages. Unless you are changing the world, or have a REALLY interesting story to tell (that doesn’t include you summer bar job when you were 18)…we advise you stick to the ideals ;)

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