• Octagon Careers

The Future of Recruitment: No more CVs and Cover Letters?

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

You are probably already familiar with the application process struggle: spending hours on making your CV perfect, paying attention to those “strong words” recommended by ‘specialists’, explaining your past experiences in the best way you can, and checking ten times if everything is good enough. The list goes on. It’s the same routine for Cover Letters, trying to catch a few more precious seconds of a recruiter’s attention. And then, you hit “Apply”, fingers crossed, hoping for the best. Or at least some feedback in the end. :)

#30 minutes or 20 hours?

The candidate experience starts at first contact. From the very first stage a candidate sets eyes on a job description, he or she begins crafting a CV and Cover Letter directly relevant to the role on offer. We conducted various focus groups and found out that individuals spend anywhere between 30 minutes and 20 hours drafting, editing and finalizing their CV and Cover Letter. But what makes it even more challenging is that candidates typically apply for more than one job with one company. Worse still is submitting the same CV and Cover Letter for different roles, maybe only changing the employer’s name and a few minor details. Playing the odds might seem like the right thing to do but using the same CV and Cover Letter most probably won’t make the difference with an application.


#Six-second screening?

20 hours of hard work into 6 seconds of attention? While for candidates it takes hours to make sure that they have the perfect application, rarely do they really know what happens on the other side of the Careers page. A study from TheLadders, a US based company known for online job-matching service, shows that the average time spent by recruiters over a CV is six seconds before they decide if the profile “fits” or not and to decide whether a candidate makes it to the next recruitment step. The big (rhetorical) question is: is the time spent on building a CV and Cover Letter actually worth the effort?


#Competence assessment over CVs and Cover Letters?

With so many new tech tools in the market, there is no doubt that the recruitment industry is tirelessly working to build a much better option, putting together candidates’ preferences regarding a better application experience and companies’ needs to be matched with the very best talent for a role. A team of students from University of Leipzig, Germany, conducted a research regarding the market perspective of startups in the field of HR-tech, where they found out that more than 42% students would actually prefer to solve a challenge or undertake a relevant assessment instead of build the perfect CV or Cover Letter, sometimes for hours in a row. Using a problem-solving, competence-assessing approach (like the Octagon Careers challenge) helps eliminate biases in the process, offers transparent feedback to candidates about their performance, and ensures employers that they can interview the very best talent for the role. Overall, this leads to a more streamlined, accurate method of assessment, as well as providing a significantly better applicant experience.

Source: Student Project, University of Leipzig, Germany


Looking over the future of recruitment industry, we can already see new tools like chat-bots, video-recorded interviews, SMS-based tools that try to transform the early-stage recruitment practices. And most probably, on one hand all these came to meet the candidates’ preferences in making recruitment process easier, while on the other hand to help companies identify the right people and to eliminate the risk of missing great candidates.


So what if, looking again at the kind of challenges candidates have when applying, the upcoming trends will focus more on reducing the time needed for them to spend on building CVs and multiple customized Cover Letters, while at the same time promoting the use of streamlined, more accurate and more engaging methods of assessment? Does that mean eliminating the need of submitting CVs and Cover Letters? We think so. Look out, the new trend is coming!

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