What Does your CV Say About You? Hiring Managers Survey Findings

What Does Your CV Say About You?

“Everything,” say Hiring Managers according to BDO Recruitment Survey 




93% of hiring managers form an opinion about prospective recruits from their CV’s in less than five minutes.  When it comes to presenting yourself on paper or online it seems that first impressions don’t just count, they can mean the difference between getting an interview or getting no further in the process.

A recent BDO Recruitment survey of 216 Hiring Managers revealed that as well as inspecting CVs for typos and details of experience, almost 70% of hiring managers are reviewing the digital footprint of candidates to assess their suitability for available jobs.

Maurice Carr, Head of BDO Recruitment says the jobs landscape is so competitive that candidates can no longer approach their job-hunting with a ‘one-size fits all approach.’

With 14% unemployment in Ireland there is fierce competition for available jobs. So when a hiring manager is reviewing CVs, understandably they are looking for the best and on the basis of what’s presented they will make an informed decision.  This might sound like common sense but presentation, clarity and succinctness are the key ingredients to impressing at the very first stage of the hiring process.”

The online reputation of candidates is also attracting the interest of recruiters. 69% of hiring managers say they are using social media and online channels to ascertain more information about prospective employees.

Maurice Carr says your online reputation will hinder or help you depending on what is says about you.  “Many social media platforms are now indexed in search engines and third parties can talk about you without you controlling that information so I suggest job-hunters google themselves every so often to check their online brand reputation.

“Employers place a high value on a person’s character and hence why 60% of hiring managers think that hobbies and interests are an important part of the CV,” says Carr.

The main findings of the survey are as follows:

  • 93% of hiring managers form an opinion on a candidates’ CV in less than 5 minutes and 63% form an opinion in less than 2 minutes.
  • 98% of hiring managers agree that a CV should be no more than 3 pages in length. 41% of hiring managers believe a CV should be less than 2 pages.
  • 40% of hiring managers place high importance on a cover letter.
  • 60% of hiring managers believe interests and hobbies are important.
  • 87% of hiring managers believe that the career overview section at the beginning of a CV is important and 68% believe it to be crucial.
  • 50% of hiring managers say that spelling/grammar mistakes are the biggest red flags on a CV.
  • The things hiring managers look for in the candidates CV in order of preference are:

a)    Clarity

b)   Skills / necessary expertise

c)    Quantifying achievements

d)   Personal profile / career overview

e)    Format / Layout

f)     That the document is succinct

g)    Career progression

h)   Customised for the position the candidate is applying for.

  • The things hiring managers find least attractive in CV’s are as follows:

1. Spelling and grammar
2. Long-winded/ lengthy/ too much waffle/ rambling
3. Presentation
4. Irrelevant details
5. Job hopping
6. CV’s that lack clarity
7. No job description/ duties without achievements
8. Gaps
9. Formatting

  • 69% of hiring managers have used social media to obtain background information when considering a candidate for a role.
  • When asked for other observations on CVs received in the recent past hiring managers reported:

a)    “I still get 3 page CVs bound with a cover on fancy paper. A definite no-no.”

b)   “(I prefer) a customised document for the particular position rather than a generic document that fits all.”

c)    “People should always follow up with a call as the recruiter will most likely have hundreds of applications. Keep it simple, always have the referees on there and avoid ‘on request’.”

d)    “LinkedIn profile is vital.”

e)    “With more people applying for positions, the need to stand out is at a premium.”

f)     “The CV is designed to get you the interview; it’s not designed to get you the job. Don’t treat it as such.”

You can download the full survey here.

Watch our survey results video below.

BDO Recruitment Hiring Managers Survey 2013

CV Advice, Job Hunting, News