Most of us think of the CV as that great necessary evil of recruitment, the only practical way to sift through the hundreds of job applications pouring into our inboxes. Yet relying on the CV may have unintended, even insidious consequences.
When Josh Krichefski became CEO of media agency MediaCom UK, he wanted to improve diversity, which meant taking aim at grad-only schemes and CV-based recruitment.
"If you’re trying to get a genuinely representative workforce, it’s really important that you look at people on a level playing field. If the only entry is for graduates, then immediately you cut out the majority of the population. We’ve had an apprenticeship programme since 2012-13 that’s allowed us to bring in people from different socio-economic backgrounds, and different perspectives.
"We also stopped looking at CVs, because they’re largely written by people’s parents. Instead we hold open days, where young people can hear about the different functions in the agency and we can get a feel for them during discussions. A few months down the line, we have a very tough selection day with group exercises and tests.
"Sometimes we identify at the open day a talented person who might not be smooth around the edges or have had the informal learning opportunities others might have had, so we spend a little time coaching and mentoring them to get through the selection day.
"It’s definitely changed the make-up of the workforce here. Last year, 42% of our entrants were BAME (black, Asian or minority ethnic). We’re still on a journey, but as they come up through the organisation the split starts to become representative at all levels, which really helps us as we need to communicate with all people across the UK."
For more information
Think you don’t have unconscious biases? Think again, argues this piece. For an overview of the decline of the CV (exaggerated or not), see here. Alternatively, read how to stop hiring the wrong people, by Octopus Group CEO Simon Rogerson.
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