Recruitment specialist in HR, Sales and Operations

Always Review CVs Before Interviewing

The time you spend with a candidate is precious and short. If you don’t know what’s on their CV, chances are that you’ll ask questions that simply see them regurgitate things you’d already know if you’d done your homework. ‘OK, can you just run me through your CV?’.


Read the CV three times


Why three times? For the details. Read the CV three times and you will absorb the details. This frees you to concentrate on assessing the candidate without having to worry about trying to refer back to the CV.

If you don’t read the CV properly, you risk missing points such as gaps in employment history or a career spent working in the same sector.


Do your CV research


  • Look at where the applicant has worked – look at the company websites, LinkedIn and Facebook pages. This will give you a picture of the businesses that the applicant has worked in before.
  • Scan the CV chronologically – make notes of any gaps to ask the applicant about in the interview.
  • Check that all of their working dates line up with those listed on LinkedIn.
  • See which of their previous roles are of most interest to you and check how they’re positioned on LinkedIn. Look for recommendations and confirmations of skills from peers, colleagues and line managers.


Interview structure


Use an interview structure, and you’ll come across as a professional interviewer. Once you’ve prepared a structure, you should practice it three times, so it becomes habitual for you. Your structure will guide you through the interview, allowing you to go off-piste with your questions when necessary.

With a familiar structure, you’re going to be comfortable letting the candidate’s answers wander into other areas, exploring things that you want to explore along the way.

A simple structure will include:

  • Opening the interview
  • Rapport building
  • Questions to ask
  • Ending the meeting

Breaking each aspect down into three further bullet points will guide you clearly through the interview, while preventing awkward stoppages.


The Social Media Question


It’s okay to research candidates on social media, but it’s important to keep it professional. LinkedIn and Twitter are professional platforms that can provide useful context to a CV which you can explore during an interview. We’d advise against looking at candidates’ Facebook posts though, as they are more private and personal.

You can use LinkedIn to fact-check a candidate’s CV to some degree by noting dates and roles of previous posts held. You can also gauge how tech-savvy people are, and how they regard their own career. Looking at someone’s recommendations, connections and the groups they interact with gives you a real sense of them as a person.


Put candidates at ease


A big turn-off for a candidate is when the interview is fragmented or when they’re nervous. If you’ve taken the time to read over and think about their personal statement (as well as all their hobbies and interests on their CV) you can put together some pre-planned questions and talking points. This will hopefully allow you to have a flowing, open, two-way conversation. After all, the most important part of the interview process is truly understanding the individual.

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