Employers who don’t look beyond the contents of a CV could risk missing out on great talent when looking to hire new staff. Here’s why.

If you’ve been through a hiring process before, chances are you’ve flicked through a fair share of CVs. It’s possible you’ll have tossed lots of them aside due to too little ‘relevant experience’.

Telling you what they can do is not the same as showing you.

But what if one of those candidates had had everything they needed to be the perfect hire with just a little guidance and training?

Employers miss out all too often on eager and energetic potential employees by overlooking a CV that lacks levels of experience that might sometimes be unrealistic.

Many younger millennials are only now taking their first step onto the career ladder. Their CVs, typically one or two pages in length, are their opportunity to tell you everything they can. And that’s the thing. Telling you what they can do is not the same as showing you.

Do you have realistic expectations for levels of experience?

And there’s only so much relevant experience a recent graduate can embellish for the purpose of a CV.

Millennials are set to completely reinvent the workplace in the coming years. They’re arriving on the scene with a new attitude and a new set of approaches to work. Some typical Millennial attributes which can complement and modernize the workplace include:

  • Millennials generally have adaptable skillsets and can turn their talents to a wide range of areas within a business when compared to baby boomers
  • Not only that, but they’re hungry to learn. Millennials value guidance and want the chance to develop and hone new skills
  • They’re more adept at handling change. As automation comes more to the fore in the workplace, millennials will continue striving to adapt and succeed
  • Despite their reputation as job hoppers, research has shown that millennials are no more likely to hop between jobs than Generation X. In fact, if the company values match their own (including ethics, flexibility and feedback) they show higher levels of employer loyalty

Instead of choosing applicants based solely on CV credentials, employers should aim to interview people who show potential to benefit their company. According to recruitment consultant Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, employers should put their efforts into finding applicants with “the ability to adapt and grow into increasingly complex roles and environments”. [1]

There are plenty of ways to weigh up whether a candidate has potential within your company without depending too much on their CV.

Check references from a variety of sources

Character references are golden. Especially when you can approach people from different areas of the applicant’s life. Likewise, LinkedIn written recommendations can be very helpful for staff recruitment.

Interest and enthusiasm = engagement with your business

Don’t rely too heavily on ‘endorsements’ – it doesn’t take much to click a button on a push notification. But taking the time to write a recommendation means this applicant has truly impressed someone with their skills or work ethic.

How curious and enthusiastic are they?

Curiosity and eagerness to develop and succeed are key attributes to look for in potential employees. Take note of their cover letter in this case – did they show you they were keen to work with your company above others? Did you get a sense of excitement from them?

Speculative applications are also important to consider

People who send speculative applications are also important to consider as potential employees. Sending speculative applications indicates they’ve singled you out as a company they want to work with.

Interest and enthusiasm = engagement in your business. And that’s a great starting point for a fruitful relationship with an employee.

Do they have infectious energy?

Younger employees bring energy to a workplace which can enhance the atmosphere in the workplace. You’ll be able to tell as soon as you meet someone whether they’re motivated and energetic and whether they’d make a positive addition to the workplace.


[1] 21st-Century Talent Spotting, Harvard Business Review

Take a look at how to bridge the generation gap and work more effectively together. Or try Workplace Premium free for 90-days.

What's next

Read more Work hacks

How to create a great onboarding experience

Workplace orientation – or the so-called ‘onboarding process’ – can be a significant factor in employee satisfaction. Here’s how you can build a good one.

Read more Work hacks

How communication styles can influence workplace culture

There’s more to communication than words. Learning to identify different styles of communication can improve collaboration – and influence your workplace culture for the better.

Read more Success stories

How one university is using Workplace to combat environmental issues

Founded in 1991, Australian Catholic University (ACU) is a national, non-profit university on a mission to transform communication in tertiary education.

Read more Product updates

Turn Companies into Communities with Workplace Profiles

New Workplace Profiles are the place to go to connect with colleagues and find out more about your team. Here’s how our new updates will help people connect and get more work done.