Recruitment RAMS #1: Stop wasting time, here’s how to properly review a CV

March 13th 2023

Managers have a million and one things to do every day. Your time is your most valuable asset. So when it comes to hiring, you want to spend your precious hours interviewing people that are right for the job.

How do you avoid wasting time in pointless interviews? We have a tried and tested CV review formula for you.

This tick list also helps you look at things more strategically, so you don’t take the best talent out of the running too early.

Highlight key relevant experience

Before you start, be clear on what’s essential and what is just preferable in your search. For example, you might want specific experience on water projects, but someone who has experience in delivering RC structures would still have the right skills.

Sit with the CV and your job spec in mind, and tick off the things that match. For the ‘unticked boxes’, consider if these are deal breakers given the rest of the person’s CV. It’s very much a case-by-case basis as to whether you invite them to an interview in this situation.

Key skills and attributes

Look at the jobs listed on the person’s CV, and pay attention to the route they came up through. For example, if they did an apprenticeship they’ll most likely have trades experience. Or if they went to university they probably specialised in the engineering side. Reviewing it through this lens gives you a more rounded picture of how well they can demonstrate the skills they list.

Depending on the level of the position, soft skills may be essential within your job spec too. You’d want clear evidence of strong communication skills on a project manager’s CV for example, but not as much if you’re hiring for a site engineer position. With this in mind, have your list of technical and soft skills ready to tick off.

Ask if they can solve your problem

Think about the problems that are caused by this vacancy being open. Take these and turn them into the solutions that this new person needs to bring to the team. What skills and knowledge should they demonstrate to plug the gaps you have?

Once this is clear, with every CV you review, ask yourself if the person solves the issues you’re facing. This isn’t to say they have to hold all of the answers (people rarely do!) – if they tick most of the boxes then they’re probably worth interviewing.

What does their previous experience look like?

Pay attention to how long they’ve spent at previous companies. This may or may not matter depending on the position, but if someone has progressed through the ranks at a certain company then they’re probably good at their job – but of course, it depends!

When you’re doing this exercise, make sure you go back further than one previous position. If there are gaps in the roles listed in the CV, give them the opportunity to tell you about what they were doing during these periods.

Has anyone in your organisation worked with them before?

Let’s face it – the construction and civil engineering world is a small one. Chances are that somebody in your business has worked with the person before. So ask around, because an internal reference from an ex-co-worker is more valuable than any CV reviewing procedure.

Are you struggling to hire the right people?

It’s a candidate’s market at the moment. Get in touch to speak to one of our team about how to successfully attract (and retain) the right people.