New Research Finds CVs Recruiters Crave

With nearly 1 in 3 Britons having job seeking among their New Year’s to-do list, it may be that the New Year is the perfect time to blow the dust off that Curriculum Vitae and make sure it passes muster. But new research has shown that it is not your skills or education that are most enticing to recruiters, but how much experience you have. 

After analysing a staggering 441,769 CV’s, Colin Lee from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) has written an algorithm that uses Big Data to predict who will be invited for an interview ‒ with an accuracy of between 70 and 80 per cent.

All of the 441,769 applications had been judged by real company recruiters and, in instances where there was no cover letter available with the CV therefore viewed in isolation, Lee’s algorithm was accurate 81% of the time. Where a cover letter was available, the accuracy was 69%.

Lee states, “The results show that recruiters are, as expected, concerned with how many years of work experience the candidate has. Unexpectedly, it was shown that recruiters care very little about whether or not the applicant's skills and education are closely related to the job in question.”

Lee used software that automatically scans digital CVs for a wide range of attributes, including experience, age, distance from the workplace and education. Contextual factors were also taken into consideration, such as ‘did the candidate apply in time’ and ‘was the candidate already employed by the company?’

He then designed a very detailed model of the job market that described every occupation in terms of the most common work activities performed in that occupation, before matching up the characteristics of the applicants receiving interview invitations to the occupations the applicants applied for.

Lee says his model can also predict which candidates are suitable for newly created occupations and that this use of big data to model the job market will become even more valuable once former applicants’ job performance is added to the database. “This would make it possible to predict a candidate’s future performance simply by scanning their uploaded CV”, Lee concludes.



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