Recruiters – should you alter a CV before submitting it ?
Client : Thanks for the CVs, but can you send the candidate’s original ones please.
Me: Why ?
Client:: Why not ? You can take their personal details off if you are worried we will contact them directly and go behind your back. Their original CV will give us a better insight than your edited version.
I could see his point. A recruiter can tweak or add things to a CV so it matches the key elements of the job spec and makes their candidate look better. Similarly things can be hidden or removed that might have a negative impact on how that candidate is viewed. It basically allows a recruiter to control how the candidate is presented and perceived. Even if a recruiter is just correcting a small spelling mistake, any editing is only going to show the candidate in a better light. When there is ultimately a big fee on the line, is this not a bit disingenuous ? My client obviously thought so.
A lot of CVs for one reason or another don’t really do the candidate justice. Sure, some are just plain awful and deserve to be rejected in two seconds. If your CV is littered with spelling mistakes or has dates that don’t correspond, I have little sympathy. More importantly you are clearly not going to be right for my client. But some candidates who would be good for a role never get to an interview because of their CV. It might be too long and hiring managers, justifiably can’t be bothered reading it. Or it is too short and there is simply not enough information to assess their suitability. Sure, you could argue that it is up to every individual to ensure their CV is just right, but what is right is often a matter of opinion. When I was last looking for a role, I spoke to someone who classified herself as a professional resume writer. She advised me that my CV should be at least 6 pages long and include every job right back to when I was fruit picking as a backpacker. If I was sending that around town…..well I still would be ! Luckily as an experienced recruiter I knew that was rubbish. I also know that having a photo of yourself and listing ‘clubbing’ as your hobby makes you look pretty naff; and saying you are a Collingwood fan will be an automatic rejection for many people !
A ‘bad’ CV should not necessarily be an automatic rejection, but understandably it often is. It means potentially suitable candidates are rejected before they get an interview and ultimately the client misses out. This is why I format my CVs before sending them to a client. If you are sending out candidate’s original CVs, or just putting a pretty cover sheet on the front, then I question whether you are doing you client or your candidate any favours.
I take the time to read the CV that is really too long and would probably be discarded. If that person is suitable I will present a more succinct and relevant version to the client. Equally, if there are things that come out of my interview with the candidate that are not on their CV and key to the role, I will add it. I will change a few things around to highlight the most relevant bits. I will put all the CVs in the same format so it is easier for clients to compare candidates. And yes, I will change a spelling mistake because none of us are perfick !
Yes, it is all part of the professional service, looks good, protects privacy and covers ourselves from companies back-dooring our candidates. But there is a more important reason. The bottom line is that it makes it easier for my client and ensures that they don’t miss out on good candidates. Which, after all, is essentially the job of a recruiter.