Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

It is the fastest piece of literature that informs a recruiter of a candidate’s skills and the journey…

Is the traditional CV outdated?

The traditional curriculum vitae, more commonly referred to as a CV, has long been a popular method used to shortlist candidates for a new job role. It is the quickest piece of literature that informs a recruiter of a candidate’s skills at a glance and the journey that they have taken in their career so far.

As recruitment experts predict that the CV will eventually die out, and with more companies opting to ditch the CV, it’s likely that new methods will be introduced to screen candidates in future. And one example of this has already taken place at MediaCom. Speaking at HR Grapevine Live last month, Nancy Lengthorn, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Future Talent at MediaCom UK, told attendees that MediaCom has in fact binned all CVs for entry level roles and has instead rolled out an application process that consists of screening questions. Examples of these questions include: ‘Give an example of when you have been brave?’. In addition, the company also asks candidates to submit a video and take part in a panel discussion whereby jobseekers are able to reveal a great deal more about their personality and soft skills, which can’t necessarily be showcased in a CV.

Following the introduction of automation, video and social media, which all now play a huge role in how jobseekers seek and apply for roles, there could be a point in time where the CV is viewed as redundant – and if potential employees are opting for alternative ways to apply for jobs, surely recruiters will have to comply?

To gauge the thoughts of the industry, Recruitment Grapevine caught up with three recruiters to find out whether or not the CV is dated…


Barney Ely, Director of Hays Human Resources

“A CV is not the determining factor as to whether an employer hires someone or not, but it is still crucial in most instances. Personality and cultural fit are equally important, and employers should know exactly what they are looking for in an employee. A CV will not help a hiring manager to adequately assess less technical, soft skills, such as emotional intelligence traits and cultural fit.

The industry and role you work in will determine how important the CV is during the hiring process. For many professionals, technical capability and experience are vital in determining the candidate's ability to fulfil the requirements of their job. It is the CV that should highlight this.

For roles that require a level of experience and proficiency in specific tasks, a good CV will help you get your foot in the door, as this is the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager will see. Employers don’t see your personality until you have an interview; a great CV will help get you the interview.

Advances in technology have also meant that there are different ways for your CV to be presented. In some sectors, digitally enhancing your CV by supporting the claims made on it with links and other elements such as video and imagery can help to further demonstrate your skills and experience.”

“A CV will not help a hiring manager to adequately assess less technical, soft skills, such as emotional intelligence traits and cultural fit”

“A well laid out CV with attention to detail says something about the person it belongs to”


Emily Bain, Co-Founder of Bain and Gray

“While companies are seeking innovative ways to recruit (video clips and LinkedIn) especially for graduate entry level roles where competition is fierce, we believe that the CV is still an essential part of the recruitment process. As the first port of call it ‘starts a conversation’ with the candidate – particularly when interviewing – and all of our clients request a CV and a candidate profile summary for each applicant.

As recruitment moves online, the savvy candidate must market themselves across all online platforms which act as a teaser for a well put together and detailed CV. We always use a traditional CV to review relevant experience, career history and skills, as well as personal interests and hobbies. It shows us how you write and put a document together (a skill you will need for the role). A CV must highlight experience and achievements but also show perfect layout, grammar and spelling to prove attention to detail.

As we recruit for EA, PA and other administrative support roles, CVs are a vital tool to filter and compare ten different applicants in an easy-to-read checklist. A well laid out CV with attention to detail says something about the person it belongs to. They can also outline someone’s life experiences, which may be an asset to an employer, but not specifically requested in the job ad.


Katie Morgan, Managing Director of BBO Recruitment

“Jobseekers often ask me whether they need to bother with a CV and my answer is always yes. In this day and age, describing yourself in a couple of A4 pages can seem a little dated, especially when employers have online search engines at their fingertips, but for me, it’s a crucial first step in any recruitment process.

It’s true, the days when prospective employers would pour over CVs from start to finish are long gone. They just don’t have the time – or the patience. Instead, they allow an average of less than ten seconds to simply glance over the two-page document before making a judgement. When you look at it like this, spending a lot of time crafting the perfect CV for an audience of six to eight seconds can seem like a complete waste of time, but in my opinion, it’s anything but.

A traditional CV, if done properly, summarises work history and educational attainment – the two things employers look for in a candidate. It also enables jobseekers to showcase their personality through their interests and personal statement. Skills and personality are the two most important things in my opinion when it comes to recruitment, and employers overlook the ‘humble’ CV at their peril.

Online portals and cryptic questioning – which are fast becoming a key part of the recruitment process – can serve a purpose, but they can also detract from what’s important. I believe a well-written, simple CV offers a fantastic snapshot and starting point for any piece of recruitment and I can’t see that changing any time soon.”

“The days when prospective employers would pour over CVs from start to finish are long gone”