As an employer, reviewing CVs can bean overwhelming part of the Construction and Engineering recruitment process. It’s not just about getting through the pile, but creating a shortlist of quality candidates that have the right characteristics, skills and experience to succeed in the role and add value to your business. So, where do you start?
We’ve had extensive experience screening candidates for jobs, so to help you navigate this stage of the hiring process, we’ve put together some tips on what to look for in a good CV.
A Well-Rounded Skill Set
One of the most important characteristics of a good CV is a list of key skills, but it’s surprising how often it gets neglected or underestimated. A strong candidate should make it easy for the employer to identify their skills on the resume, and these abilities should align with the job requirements. It’s likely that you’ll have some expectations around skills and there will be some must-have competencies for every role, but try to keep an open mind where possible. Struggling to find the perfect fit? Consider hiring for potential – there are plenty of candidates looking to grow and expand their skill sets.
Whilst technical skills play a vital role in most Construction and Engineering jobs, soft skills such as leadership, problem-solving, communication and teamwork are also important. Look out for these traits–technical abilities can be taught, but it’s these soft skills that will set candidates apart from the rest.
When screening candidates, pay attention to the CVs that have been tailored to the job’s requirements. Quality applicants are often the ones that have clearly paid attention to the job ad and description, and made a conscious effort to ensure their skills and experience meet this criteria.
Employers should boil their requirements down to a specific set of key phrases and criteria for the job description. Having these trigger words in your head will help during the initial scan, allowing you to assess any skills and identify those CVs that you’d like to look at a bit closer. Look out for CVs that are overly generic, include a lot of vague statements or are obviously templated, as it may indicate that the candidate isn’t a good fit.
In the Construction and Engineering industry, where work is often project-based, achievements and results are a valuable way to assess the abilities of a candidate. It’s easy to pad a CV with lofty claims, but the best candidates will demonstrate how they have gone above and beyond the standard duties, adding value to their organisation.
Keep an eye out for specific results around cost savings, targets, budgets, deadlines, awards and positive feedback from clients. These concrete achievements back up the candidate’s experience and can indicate the kind of performance you can expect from them in the future. They should also be strategically selected to highlight the relevant skills for the job.
CV Best Practice
Finally, whilst it’s important to look closely at the details of an applicant’s CV, make sure to pay attention to the superficial aspects, as well. A well-written and presented CV shows the candidate’s attention to detail and indicates that they are keen to impress.
It may seem obvious, but when screening candidates, look out for basic elements such as:
Clear contact details
Correct spelling and grammar
Reverse chronological formatting
Consistent and accurate dates and details
Brevity and relevance
In addition, be wary of CV red flags such as clichés, large gaps in career history and a lack of qualifications or references.
Knowing what makes a good CV helps to streamline the screening process for Construction and Engineering jobs, and can help with creating a quality candidate shortlist. However, remember that missing some of these elements doesn’t always mean the applicant doesn’t meet the job requirements – sometimes you just have to go with your gut and set up an interview to find out more, or seek a second opinion from a specialist recruiter.