Arctic Shores - Image by Aline Dassel from PixabayArctic Shores has published a white paper that argues that the era of the CV is over; much like the telegraph, it is obsolete and no longer relevant. Entitled “Scrap the CV”, it’s primarily based on a survey of 250 business leaders and found that only 35% believe that CVs are the right tool for the selection process.

The report is a lengthy 20 pages, though the first two-thirds provide the output from the research. The latter third includes the research methodology and an explanation of the Arctic Shores UNA platform. A solution that it believes is capable of replacing the CV.

The research study consists of an introduction and four chapters plus a conclusion:

  • Chapter one – Where are we now?
  • Chapter two – Experience everywhere. But for how long?
  • Chapter three – The barriers to change
  • Chapter four – The pioneers’ view

In broad terms, the authors explain why the CV is not suited to a world where awareness around diversity has increased, and the required skills are not what exists on most CVs. Organisations need to find the best and right talent for their company. The CV hinders rather than helps that process, the study finds.

Robert Newry, CEO & Co-Founder, Arctic Shores
Robert Newry, CEO & Co-Founder, Arctic Shores

Robert Newry, CEO of Arctic Shores, commented: “What we’re seeing isn’t a skills shortage, it’s a skills blindness. We live in a world with millions of capable workers yet companies are stressing about escalating salaries and an inability to fill roles. The issue is that everyone is playing musical chairs, poaching those with experience from other companies, who in turn poach from someone else. The only way organisations will get out of this costly spiral is to start hiring for transferable skills and potential.

“Scrapping the CV might sound radical, but you cannot solve tomorrow’s challenges with yesterday’s solutions,” added Newry. “What we’re calling for is an awareness of the challenge we face and for the start of a transition to futureproof the UK’s workforce.”

Where are we now?

Drawing on information from the World Economic Forum, the authors note that by 2025 85 million jobs will disappear, and while 97 million jobs will be created, 50% of the workforce will need to reskill. This is the biggest skills crisis business has faced, possibly since the industrial revolution. The report proposes that selecting new employees is not about their experience but their potential.

Experience everywhere. But for how long?

The CV is still the default method of selection. Why? Because the authors argue, “Most see selecting for experience as the done thing. But the results from our latest survey shows: it’s not a convention, it’s an addiction.”

Worryingly 88% have screened out candidates because of their experience (or lack thereof, one assumes. 70% use CV’s as the first step in that screening process. However, if one is looking for potential in a candidate, is this the best approach?

Arctic Shores believes the CVs should be dropped. Only 8% see CVs as indispensable. It appears to be time for a change. So what is stopping the change?

The barriers to change

The respondents highlighted four barriers:

  • Lack of viable alternative 35%
  • CVs are the best tool for the job 39% (Perhaps because recruiters are unaware of the alternative)
  • Hiring Manager Resistance 13%
  • Insufficient time & resources 13%

These percentages seem low, but they are still barriers. It is also surprising that cost is not specifically perceived as a barrier. Perhaps the process change is too big a hurdle for many?

The pioneers’ view

This seems like a classic change management issue. Arctic Shores notes that employers spend £6.6bn on hiring costs and the skills mismatch costs employers £38 billion each year. Those numbers were not evidenced.

While companies do not need to create CVs, they do need to review them, and that takes time. It can introduce bias into the process, and even machine learning to analyse skills does not consider potential. In addition, the best candidate may have a poor CV.

Only 7% of respondents have moved away from the CV. Of these, three are quoted directly with Jackie Dane, Chief People Officer, LaFosse Associates stating: “Organisations are sitting on a bank of business – and they need to hire people to deliver against their revenue projections. Our natural instinct is to entice people away from other organisations for higher salaries and that just isn’t sustainable. It’s time to adjust our thinking, and put potential first and align training programs to our attraction strategies.

“Unicorn-type profiles, demanding every candidate has all the necessary skills and experience on day one, simply don’t get results. By changing what we’re looking for, and selecting for potential, we’ve seen retention jump significantly. What’s more, employees are contributing faster – with time to effectiveness dropping considerably.”

To move away from the CV Arctic shores recommends a four-step approach:

  • Explain the why: Change requires information and communication
  • Get Proof: Evidence why scrapping CVs will save costs, reduce attrition, improve performance and reduce time to value
  • Be bold: Make the change happen
  • Measure potential: Measure all the KPIs and see what difference the change makes

The future

Beyond the analysis, Arctic Shores proposes its solution, UNA, to replace the CV. It highlights the five reasons it believes organisations should shift away from CVs, and explains how the latest in neuroscience and psychology powers the Arctic Shores platform to push the right candidates to the fore.

It reveals how AXA saved 2.5 million in turnover and absence costs. In the first year of using Arctic Shores, it reduced employee turnover by 18%. Importantly 92% of candidates enjoyed the assessment stage. The short case study has several other findings of the benefits of the platform.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Is the CV dead? Not yet, but Arctic Shores and others advocate that it probably should be. One important fact highlighted is that AXA now has a 50/50 gender split. It doesn’t reveal whether its employee population is more diverse as a result, perhaps the focus of a future survey?

The report does make interesting reading but is slanted towards the death of the CV. However, experience is important for certain roles, and some solutions can analyse CVs in an unbiased way to ensure that candidates have the skills that are a prerequisite for a given role. For certain roles, skills are required, and perhaps the CVs should not be completely excised but form a smaller part of the selection process.

Arctic Shores has advocates though for a complete scrap of CVs. Darren Cassidy, Managing Director of Xerox UK and Ireland, Commented: “At Xerox, we have always looked to hire people based on their potential, where diversity, inclusion and belonging are core to our culture. So we are excited about our pioneering partnership with Arctic Shores to select for potential. My team has seen how the platform can identify potential from a candidate pool who haven’t had the best start in life and bypass the need to see a CV, which too often holds back those who have had the least opportunity. This is definitely the way forward.”


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