Thread: CV confusion
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Old November 21 2012, 01:35 AM   #12
Holdfast
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Re: CV confusion

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Hello, all. I'm probably overthinking things here, but I'm finding it difficult to understand some of the logic behind CVs and the standards by which they're judged.
You're coming at this from the wrong perspective. Essentially, you're assuming that employers are looking for that one perfect person to fill their post and have the time to look for the special snowflake that's a perfect fit for their organisation.

The vast majority of posts are not filled in that way; only truly high level posts are filled like that. And usually, they still get those posts wrong anyway.

No, the reality is that the vast majority of posts can be filled approximately equally well by a vast number of interchangeable people. And that includes some fairly specialised professional jobs. It's not cost-efficient to spend much time differentiating between candidates (the incremental/marginal benefit derived by finding the really perfect person is outweighed by the time/effort/extra cost it would take to identify that person).

So what employers do is to rapidly filter out anybody applying with generic skills that don't fit the job at all (hence the automatic document-scraping, etc) and then from the remainder, aggressively filter out anyone with the skills but who would not be a good personal fit for the environment (and for many employers, this is simply anyone too lazy to learn about the corporate culture enough to adapt their CV to pass the remaining keyword checks on soft skills/attitudes).

That winnows the pool of applicants down to a set who could all perform the job reasonably well, and who are likely to be able to do so without creating chaos in the workplace. The interviews are then about checking the filtering worked OK, to try and catch anyone good enough at finessing their CV to pass the shortlisting stage but who can't maintain the illusion in person.

Also, don't think that interviews are necessarily more human(e) than shortlisting; many corporate interviews are equally constrained by marking schemes, standardised questions, etc (allegedly to be fair and equal to everyone; actually to prevent discrimination lawsuits, which isn't really the same thing).

It's just not efficient to fill most posts any other way.

When you get to the level of needing to be headhunted for a specific post, then things become more interesting. Otherwise, you're pretty disposal to most workplaces from a large employers perspective.

Obviously small scale operations can function on a more human level, but they have other downsides instead. And even here, a good CV is still very important, because when you have an actual human being reading them all, they really, really don't have the time to wade through lots of them.

If you really want to escape the games of CV-land, be self-employed, start your own business, or rise high enough to where your skills and/or experience are genuinely unique. Naturally, each of those has its own complications and isn't for everyone. And then you end up having to read other people's CVs instead, which can be just as depressing...

Last edited by Holdfast; November 21 2012 at 01:51 AM.
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