Analyzing CVs and resumes is your least favourite chore as a recruiter or hiring manager. Some CVs are too brief, while others are excessively long. Some reflect the fact that the candidate has not read the job description properly, while others lack material and are simply filled with keywords in the hopes of catching your eye or going through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

CVs contain two pieces of information, educational background, and work experience, but they are not the only elements that go into making a good hire.

So, why is the CV's history still being written? Unfortunately, even with massive technological advances in the business world, recruiting and hiring processes have remained stagnant.

There is no evidence that CVs help managers in selecting a qualified employee. So, why do employers continue using the outdated CV?


Let us understand the history of CV, the challenges with the present CV, and what can be anticipated in terms of future recruitment methods.


A brief history of the CV

Traditional CVs are even more outdated, let us look back at the history of CV to discover how recruitment became locked in the CV cycle.

1482: Leonardo Da Vinci “invents” the CV

Beside building the first parachute and creating some of the most iconic works of art, Leonardo da Vinci has been credited with writing the first CV.

In 1482, he wrote a letter to the Duke of Milan, briefing his talents and experience in the quest of work. He presented his expertise in a variety of areas, including bridge design, boat construction, and sculpting. And this way, CV was born.

The 1500s: CV or Resume?

While most people believe that CVs and resumes are same thing, but some disagree with the statement. Resumes are a one-page document that concisely highlight a candidate's qualifications, but a CV can span several pages.

A Lord travelling throughout England in the 1500s is said to have provided people a letter of introduction, which he dubbed his "resume."

The 1930s: The CV has its place 

In the 1930's, CV got established as a standard element of the workplace. During this era, merely notes were taken during interviews or meetings and not a requirement for employment.

The 1950s: The CV is truly formalized

CVs were seen as a vital element of the job application process at this time.

Employers also demanded for personal and professional histories, attached with a professional photo in business attire.

The 1960s: CVs become more personalized

Candidates had begun to fill up their CVs with information on their hobbies, and other personal details to stand out from the crowd.

The 1970s and 1980s: The origin of word processors and video CVs

With the emergence of word processors, typed CVs became more uniform, removing the need to decipher handwritten ones. Candidates who stood out started sending cassette tapes with their video CVs to potential employers.

1995: The internet is born

Shortly after the internet's inception, online job tools and directories arose, allowing job seekers to connect with far more potential employers than ever before.

2003: LinkedIn solidifies the online CV profile

LinkedIn was hailed as the death knell for the traditional CV (which, as we all know, was not the case), providing candidates and recruiters with a new way to network, connect, and highlight both positions and candidate CVs.

2007: Round two for the video CV

Video CVs revived, thanks to YouTube, which allowed candidates to show off their personality and professional experience.

2020: Pre-employment testing ended outdated CVs,

CVs are no longer necessary and are becoming outdated because of pre-employment testing. Employers can now use online skills evaluations to pre-screen individuals, allowing them to choose candidates based on their actual skills rather than certificates, inflated competencies, or job history.

2021: What has changed?

Companies turned to Applicant Tracking Solutions (ATS) to help sift through the plethora of CVs they received because of the expansion of online job boards and the internet in general. However, that is where the CV's history and progress end.

Companies still want up-to-date CVs with a chronological record of work experience, education, and other relevant qualifications, notwithstanding how job applications and candidate screening have changed.


Problems with the modern CV

When we examine the history of the CV, we can see that, despite huge technology advancements, organizations continue to rely on CVs when evaluating candidates for new vacant positions.

CVs are documents that (often) blandly summarize a person's work history and experience. Should CVs truly be the be-all and end-all when it comes to recruiting, given that 80% of people admit to lying on their job applications, according to a recent study?

False information is simply one of the issues with today's CVs. Let us look at five more difficulties that should urge anyone working in recruitment to think about alternative methods of evaluating prospects.

  1. There is no common standard for CVs and resumes

There is no standard for how CVs and resumes should be formatted, what information or how much material should be included. The objective of a CV is to determine how appropriate, qualified, and experienced a candidate is for a particular position.

Some employers are interested in learning about your hobbies, whereas others will dismiss that as personal interests. Recruiters and hiring managers are passing judgment on prospects without any basis. Some of us are better at selling ourselves on paper than others, but it does not necessarily indicate we are the best applicant for the job, rendering CVs useless.


  1. Experience is not always a good predictor of new hire performance

Multiple studies show that a person's previous work experience has little bearing on their performance in a new role. So, why do we rely on a static, chronological record of someone's previous work experience to determine their fitment for a job? Furthermore, having the "ideal" job experience profile has no influence on a candidate's probable performance in an organization. They might not fit into company's culture, might not have the correct skill level, might not have any talent at all.


  1. They often do not accurately reflect the candidate’s abilities

It might be a case where a candidate has embellished the truth a little, or they have researched the position so well that they are able to build a CV that reflects the perfect profile. You will not know whether an applicant has vastly overstated or understated their ability until you get to the interview stage.


  1. They are open to hiring

We are prone to being swayed by details and information about people as humans. Recruiters and hiring managers may be influenced unintentionally by factors such as the applicant's prior employers, and personal preferences information.


Future for recruitment

While CVs may still serve a purpose for recruiters, the typical CV format makes it impossible for candidates to present their professional and personal identities, skill set, work experience, hobbies, and interests.

Companies driven towards innovation are using applicant tracking systems with competency / skill assessments and automated video interviews to help speed-up the hiring process.

So, what is the alternative?

Pre-employment testing works as an efficient way of hiring the best candidates at a faster speed and with greater transparency. Asking applicants to demonstrate their skills and understanding about their  proficiency levels gives a much higher chance of distinguishing a suitable candidate from a great candidate.

It is also near-impossible to understand an applicant’s personality, emotional or social intelligence and people skills. Personality tests give you a 360 degree view of each candidate to ensure you hire a perfect fit. 

Hadia Mansoor
  • Share


History and Future of hiring

Analyzing CVs and resumes is your least favourite chore as a recruiter or hiring manager. Some CVs are too brief, while others are excessively long. Some reflect the fact that the candida...

Psychometric testing for recruiters - Guide

Analyzing CVs and resumes is your least favourite chore as a recruiter or hiring manager. Some CVs are too brief, while others are excessively long. Some reflect the fact that the candida...

Importance of pre-employment assessments for blue-collar jobs

Analyzing CVs and resumes is your least favourite chore as a recruiter or hiring manager. Some CVs are too brief, while others are excessively long. Some reflect the fact that the candida...