Why accept CVs instead of custom applications forms?

When recruiting people, I have in the past always asked for CVs wherever the organisation I was working allowed. The are very valid reasons for preferring CVs instead of standard applications forms.

  1. The candidates know you will be scrutinising the information thoroughly.
  2. The candidates know humans will be making a decision instead of automated keyword sifting.
  3. The recruiter gets to see the level of English the applicant has. (Not always possible on an applications form due to the structure.)
  4. The recruiter gets to see the skill the applicant has in laying out and formatting a report, font selection etc.
  5. CVs reveal information that application forms do not necessarily pick up. because the applicants are giving a freer hand in what they write.
  6. Applicants know that whilst their CVs may be scanned into a computer system, they are not carrying out the recruiter’s data entry task, so their information is not simply discarded as being ‘on file’ in a database.
  7. Accepting CVs brings a larger talent pool to the recruiter because tweaking a CV for a specific vacancy takes a lot less time for the applicant, some of whom may simply be put off by a standardised application form. This results in information coming in from people on the cusp of applying, which can also reveal applicants who are a good fit for the role, but who are very busy with their current position / lives.

The list really does go on, but for me, whenever an organisation asks for a CV I am assured that someone will review it and make a decision which they can justify. They do not use a standard framework to try and justify their decision. That confidence, that professional expertise says a lot about an organisation.


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