Tailored CVs My Job Was to Spot Them | IT Contractor

Tailored CVs
Tailored CVs

Spotting Tailored CVs

This article, about tailored CVs, was sent to us by a guest writer, Andrew Cowan. It was his job to spotthem.

Unscrupulous Recruitment Agents

When I worked in New York, a major part of my role was to review candidates CV/Resumes. I very quickly developed an eye for the ones that had been altered or contrived.

Sometimes it was very easy as US agents are far more unscrupulous than UK ones. They would be quite happy to add the odd thing here and there to dress things up a bit. It was not unusual to get two different CV’s for the same person, e.g. Roger the DBA, and Roger the Administrator.

Tailored CVs Vetted

Their other speciality was “tailored CVs”, and I vetted them as follows:

1. Is this CV a 100% fit, if so look deeper.

2. Does this CV seem “too good to be true”, or mention the things you are looking for (a bit too often).

3. Draw a timeline and try to visualise the time spent at each job versus the experience claimed. e.g. “Arthur became an expert DBA in 6 months”, or “Sharon went on 7 different courses in a year”. It‘s very simple. It takes a lifetime to become a true expert, and I always refer to the saying: “The man that knows everything is a genius, the man that claims to know everything is a LIAR!”.

Too Many Key words on CV

4. Too many key words on the CV, e.g. Unix, Linux, AIX, Oracle, DB2, OS400, Sybase, Veritas, Solaris, ADSM….. The chances are that the agent added these. Or maybe candidate has passed them in the corridor. If I chose to interview them, I would ask obscure questions that they could answer if they had really used that product.

5. Wild claims – Being upbeat on a CV is great, but when people put down stupid claims like: “I was instrumental in turning the bank around”, and their jobs was as a DBA, this is obviously highly unlikely. People also “shoot themselves” by simple grammatical mistakes, or claims that just sound naive: e.g. “I was best mates with the Managing Director”.

6. Permanent employees that move around a lot. It is normal for contractors to have that prefer short-term, however, a reference that asks about renewals, can be very revealing

7. People that give strange reasons for leaving a job(s). So, at interview they can be made to become very defensive, when you cross-examined them.

I found, therefore, that if I read a CV several times, and tried to imagine myself as that person, it became very easy to spot the ones that weren’t telling the whole truth!

Andrew Cowan