Filling a job opening often requires a significant allocation of time and resources. Hiring managers often see dozens, even hundreds of resumes from candidates with many kinds of qualifications. The best way to work through the hiring process is to have a specific plan. The plan should begin with writing an effective job post.

Writing an effective job post will attract the kind of candidates that you are interested in; thus, weeding out those candidates that are not suitable for the position from the beginning. You will also need to develop a system of talent identification. Every system should be job specific. If you take care in developing a specific system, you will be able to read the resumes in relation to your goals and requirements for the job.

When you are ready to begin reading resumes, you should follow an initial screening process followed by an analysis and reflective process. By following these steps, you can avoid dedicating time and energy to candidates who are not right for the position.

How to Successfully Analyze a Candidate's Curriculum Vitae

© | Andrey_Popov

In this article, you will learn about 1) how to write a good job post, 2) a systematic system for talent identification, 3) initial screening of the CV, 4) how to read between the lines of a CV, and 5) some reflective questions.


Before you begin to analyze potential job candidates’ resumes, you need to be sure that you are attracting the kind of applicants that you want. The best way to do this is to make sure that you have written a clear and concise job post. Understanding what makes a good job post requires an understanding of the purpose of writing a job post in the first place. It also requires you to understand what your intended audience will find attractive in a position.

The Main Purpose of A Job Description

A job description is designed to define the roles and requirements of the job. It should work as a point of reference for potential applicants when they are writing their cover letters or adjusting their resumes. The description should accurately reflect both the nature of the job and the duties that will be performed by a potential employee. It should also be explained within the hierarchy of other roles at the organization. The job description should not be a vague list of skills but a specific list of requirements and desired practical skills relevant to the role. Vague descriptions will often encourage unqualified candidates and alienate the candidates you are targeting.

One of the main roles of a job description is to attract the type of candidates that you are most interested in for the job. It should include specific skills as well as a desired track record from the applicant. For this reason, you should target your language to the type of candidate you would like to hear from.

Avoid the Following Mistakes

  • Using common industry jargon can help you attract candidates who are both experienced and dedicated to their profession. However, you should always avoid using local jargon. Do not refer to your programs by their internal title but instead describe them using well-recognized terms.
  • Avoiding being unrealistic when you write the job posting. The job description should be accurate regarding the realities of the everyday duties of the job. By writing a description of the perfect candidate, you risk alienating perfectly qualified candidates. You should review your language carefully to ensure that you are inclusive. This includes avoiding discriminatory language. Avoid any statements that may be construed as indicating an age, cultural or religious requirement. These kinds of statements will make your company unattractive to job seekers. They will also be questioned legally.
  • Be sure that the job role is updated each time you advertise it. Avoid using old advertisements when you are searching for new employees because job descriptions date themselves quickly. Ensure that the role is accurately described within today’s market. This will make the role more appealing to job seekers. This also includes updating the salary when required. Salaries that reflect market conditions of the five years ago will receive few qualified applications.


Before you begin to analyze a candidate’s curriculum vitae, you need to decide upon a method of talent identification. A great method of talent identification will be able to find talent that has been previously undiscovered and be able to support it to become excellent. This system should be objective and realistic and should operate without bias. Your system of talent identification should be created specifically for the role you are trying to fill. By establishing what you are looking for in a candidate, you can sort through the pile of curriculum vitaes efficiently. You will be able to differentiate between good candidates, unqualified candidates, and those candidates who could become the company’s next greatest employee with a little encouragement.

Establish Your Hiring Goals

The first step is to decide what your company will require from the candidate. More often than not, companies are looking for someone who is not just going to fill the role but flourish in it. Many employers want to hire people who will make their team and their company better. As a result, hiring managers should establish exactly what they hope to gain from a new employee before they begin to look through the resumes of applicants.

Establish Desirable Characteristics

After you have established your goals for the hiring process, you should set a list of desirable characteristics. You will probably have general characteristics that you look for depending upon the company culture. However, you will also need to look for characteristics that are specifically suitable for the role. Hiring the right person is more than finding a person with the right skills. It is important to find a way to measure these skills. For example, if you are looking for someone who is proactive, it is important to discern what kind of proactive you are looking for. Are you looking for someone who does not need to be told something twice? Or are you looking for someone who steps out consistently to find ways to improve themselves without encouragement? It is equally important to measure desirable skills as it is to identify them.

Establish Desirable Work Experience

Setting a minimum amount of work experience is a general requirement when you evaluate a job candidate. However, you should establish what kind of work you are looking for. Specifically, you should look at how candidates have spent their time in their career. Candidates who have spent a decade in the same job with no movement will fill your work experience requirements. They may be excellent at that particular position that they filled for ten years. However, you must decide if you are looking for someone who is comfortable in one place of if you are looking for someone who is hoping to work their way into higher positions. Both types of qualities have benefits, but it is important to determine what qualities are right for you.

Establish a Desirable Level of Education

Finally, you should establish minimum education requirements. Whether you are looking for an undergraduate degree, a postgraduate degree, or no degree, it is important to consider what kind of theoretical education that you are looking for. While some roles demand extensive education, others do not necessarily require it. Each level of education presents new opportunities for the company and there are positive and negative aspects of all levels of education. It is important to remember that not all degrees are created equal. The level of education a candidate has attained will also be supplemented by the candidate’s personality. While some people scrape through four years of undergraduate education for the sake of checking the box, those who choose to forgo a college education may present more desirable personal qualities. By deciding how important formal education is to the role and your company, you will be able to make better-informed decisions in the hiring process.


Once you have written an attractive job description and decided upon a suitable method of talent identification, you can begin the initial screening process. An initial screening process should be inclusive but does not need to be investigative. You should look for major inconsistencies and ensure that the candidate fulfills the requirements you have set in your talent identification process.

Step 1: Review the Candidate’s Career Path. You should review not only the kind of job that the candidate has previously held but also their movement in the workplace. If your position has limited mobility, it would probably not appeal to a candidate who has previously worked quickly up the ranks and is looking for serious career growth. Similarly, if you desire a candidate who will work hard to achieve promotions, you should avoid candidates who seem interested in remaining at the same level of responsibility.

Step 2: Look for Accomplishments. Keep an eye out for industry awards or workplace accomplishments listed in the resume. A list of responsibilities will only express what a candidate was expected to achieve on a daily basis according to their job duties. However, a list of accomplishments will speak to the kind of employee the candidate is. Keep an eye out for candidates who understand the goals of the business as a whole as well as their department.

Step 3: Check for Consistency. A good resume is consistent and does not have any large gaps between jobs or education. When a candidate’s curriculum vitae exhibits signs of long periods of unemployment this may be the result of several things. The first is that they found employment between jobs, but they are either embarrassed about the nature of the job or they deem it to be irrelevant. A second option, more common among younger applicants, is that they took time off for one reason or another. If the candidate has a strong resume except for a few gaps, you may consider enquiring further for an explanation.

Step 4: Look for Detail. Check for exact details as you review resumes. Candidates should list the start and end date of their previous employment along with the details about their job position. If they list educational details, they should list the date of graduation as well as the qualification achieved.

Step 5: Review Education. When reviewing a candidate’s education, it is important to keep your minimum education requirements in mind. Look carefully through word heavy education sections to discern what was gained during these periods. You may want to discern whether or not the candidate was going to school part time while working full time. This shows dedication to achieving an educational goal while being able to balance multiple responsibilities. You should also be aware of a candidate who provides a long list of educational experiences. They may be covering a lack of practical experience with a long list of weekend seminars.

Step 6: Look for Clarity. Candidates should use clear, concise and meaningful language in their resumes. They should avoid the use of local jargon and instead use general industry keywords that are easily discernible. Candidates who hide behind complicated language may be trying to cover up a lack of qualifications for the job that they are applying for.


When you post a job advertisement, you are likely to receive dozens of resumes that look the same on the surface. With some exceptions, the resumes that you will decide to dedicate time to will look remarkably similar. According to your talent identification system, you should be reading resumes that follow a certain trajectory. However, when you begin to analyze a candidate’s curriculum vitae further, it is essential to be able to distinguish between the long lists of similar job experiences and skills. In this case, it is essential to be able to read between the lines of a resume. To best achieve this, you should be aware of any lists of ancillary information as well as the language they use to describe their previous experiences.

  • Beware of Trivia: Beware of resumes that contain large amounts of trivia or ancillary information. Applicants who include a lot of ancillary information about their hobbies or extracurricular activities may actually be weak in work experience.
  • Check the Language: Does the candidate employ the use qualifiers like ‘knowledge of’ or ‘exposure to’? This often means that a candidate has no practical experience with the subject at hand. Though they have experienced these skills indirectly, they may not have had the chance to practice them.


Once you have read through your stack of chosen resumes and decided which ones would make good candidates, you should ask yourself some reflective questions before you decide to move them forward into the interview process.

How would the candidates skills benefit the business? Will the candidate simply fill a hole in the business or would they significantly contribute to the company? Depending on what it is important to you, you should think about the things that you have learned from the candidate’s curriculum vitae to decide whether or not they would be an asset to your company.

What makes them unique? Though many candidates have a long list of similar skills and work experiences, you should try to discover what sets them apart from the other candidates. With some resumes, this will be immediately obvious. However, you should be prepared to think about the less than spectacular resumes that may actually have real, unpolished potential.

Do they appear success or goal oriented? You should think about the career trajectory of the candidate. A goal oriented person is always a desirable employee because they take pride in their accomplishments and are constantly working for new successes. These qualities can often be discerned through the job movement of a candidate.

Do they take an active role in their education? A candidate who takes an active role in their education is a desirable candidate. It can be quite easy to distinguish between a candidate who was forced to attend a seminar and a candidate who is actively working for self-improvement. You will also want to think about whether or not they achieved a professional standard in their education. Candidates who did the bare minimum to pass are likely to bring that attitude into the workplace with them.

Effectively analyzing a resume is an essential part of the hiring process. Though it takes time and critical thought, hiring managers can make this process easier by clearly outlining the job goals and requirements for the candidates and themselves. When these desired outcomes are clearly established, it is easier to distinguish between candidates and satisfy your company’s hiring goals.

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