social experiment… prank… or just mean?

Earlier this week I did something terrible. I decided to create a fake cv… from a fake candidate and post it on LinkedIn to see what reaction it would get.

cv3I call it a social experiment… I’m sure some of the people who wrote provocative comments and privately messaged me with their thoughts might feel cheated and angry… to them I am sorry… wait a minute I’m not sorry at all!

cv2In 3 days the fake cv has enjoyed over 4000 views… 190 likes and 123 comments. You can read all of the comments yourself if you go to my LinkedIn Profile (Craig Watson) and check out the recent activity… for some reason I can’t get the hyperlink to work to get you there in one click… sorry

The question I have is what value is there in a cv? (Don’t forget I recruit recruiters). I mean every recruiter has a LinkedIn profile. I can verify that against the people I know in my network. If I want an idea of their personality I can head on over to Facebook… or Twitter… or Instagram (don’t pretend you haven’t done it). It paints a far better picture of a potential candidate than a couple of pages of drivel.

So… what started as a social experiment to find out what my LinkedIn network thought of a fake cv… quickly became a display of the passion many of you feel on the subject.

For the record 71% of the comments were negative, 11% neutral and 18% positive.

Comments came from all walks of life… recruiters… professionals… jobseekers. What struck me though were the difference in views based on culture, location, gender and age.

The cv/resume/work statement… call it what you will… is probably the most misunderstood document in the world.

cv1Do we include a photo? How long? Does work history or education go first? Do we include referee details? Do we amend it for each role we apply for? What tone & language should we use? Let’s face it… the CEO of Yahoo can keep their cv done to 1 solitary page… why are ours sometimes 6… 10 even?

And now we have video cv’s… how are candidates supposed to perform with a camera in their face and a microphone under their nose unless they are Jimmy Fallon? It is really taking candidates out of their comfort zone and creates an absolutely false impression.

But back to the cv… If I could I would get rid of them altogether. I can… and do find out more about my candidates from their social footprint… certainly enough to work out whether I should interview or not.

CV is Dead. Thoughts?

Craig Watson



8 thoughts on “social experiment… prank… or just mean?

  1. Matthew B on Reply

    I’m not going to put my billings, specifics of new accounts won, or anything related to commercial impact on my LinkedIn profile, Craig. Yet aren’t those some of the most important indicators of capability and impact we look for when seeking to identify a good search consultant?

    1. Craig Watson on Reply

      Hi Matthew. Agreed.
      But in an email you could cover those bullets off in a few lines.
      Let’s not forget that the cv/resume is usually the domain of the ‘active’ candidate… when we are headhunting often there is no current resume in existence. Surely an email or phone conversation with some salient points are enough to generate an interview?



        1. Craig Watson on Reply

          Haha Maybe…
          But if you were say happily ensconced in your role… say for the last 3-4 years and I approached you about a role – would you have a cv ready for me? Or would we talk about your achievements… base your work history on your LI profile and have an initial meeting from there?

  2. Diane on Reply

    Love the blog. Being a recruiter is hard and not very often rewarding so whatever we can do to make our job easier, I’m with that. I don’t work in rec 2 rec but seeing 100s of CVs over a week, its pretty easy to spot the good ones and those that are, how shall we say, embellished. LinkedIn is great but not all profiles are up to date. You’re right, our first port of call is the LI profile but we do ask for a full CV in follow up which often identifies blind spots that are not apparent on social media. We do sometimes check Facebook but what a candidate does in their free time isn’t really a concern of ours and to be honest, I would rather not know! I don’t think the CV is dead. Maybe it just needs an overhaul. As for video CVs, personally I hate them. But if that’s what clients want, we would have to embrace the change.

  3. Mark Hurren on Reply

    It’s all a matter or degrees I think Craig, the CV does add some value and offers some insight but I agree with you it’s not the bias of my selection process, simply a method of shortlisting who I meet with. Oh and for the record yes you did sucker me in to a comment on LinkedIn 🙂 interesting piece Craig, keep up the good work.

  4. Sylvain on Reply

    Dear Craig,
    It’s a funny idea two of my friends had at the end of the business school. They paid a great attention to the pic (they chose Jennifer Garner, no comment). It was already a social study. Goal: see who answered to their appplication and who answered to Jennifer !

    Regarding the more profound question you ask: resume or not resume, that is the question…
    I was recently struck by something that blatant that I could not point it. A word on the context: in France, the public agency destined to help people get back to work has spread the “skills resume” over the market.
    Though it could have been adapted to blue collars (hi Luke), it is definitely not suitable for white collars ! The mission of an executive is basically to address an issue and find solutions. No matter how: use his own skills, develop new, use those of others… Just tackle the issue…
    Thus listing skills is irrelevant. We would need more a resume telling the story of the situations (including the contexts) and explaining how they solved them.

    But we are far from there… at least in France.

  5. Joe on Reply

    The CV is evolving… it’s not dead (Zed’s dead!). But everything else in our lives evolves as we embrace technology, so why wouldn’t that be the case of the basic resume?
    I’m setting up a platform in NY where we are reimagining the resume and it’s delivery. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people who will not like, or appreciate where we are going, but most of those are not my target audience, so “…haters will hate!” and we’ll see where evolution takes us, or them! There still needs to be a basis of introduction though as most people do not have time to trawl the internet for an individual’s background before meeting them.

    So it’s an interesting question you pose, but I believe the answer is a celebration of evolution vs a wake!

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