back to article Spruce up your CV or just bin it? Survey finds recruiters are considering alternatives

A survey of nearly 14,000 coders and recruiters has shown that 70 per cent of devs prefer remote work while some headhunters are considering dropping the curriculum vitae (CV) from the hiring process. Although more than half of the recruiters that responded reported a budget increase (and 35 per cent were planning to hire more …

  1. TrevorH

    We discard something like 50% of applicants based solely on the contents of their CV which generally shows that they are not suitable for the role in question. Without a CV we'd have to interview all those too which sounds like a massive waste of everyone's time.

    1. Def Silver badge

      There are other ways to evaluate potential candidates.

      Most people have a LinkedIn profile these days which usually duplicates the majority of things on a CV. GitHub repositories of personal projects and StackOverflow comments/answers/etc can give an indication of practical knowledge. Depending on the industry, word of mouth and discreet questions to mutual friends goes a long way before you get to formal references and the like.

      And before you even get to an interview you can always set a programming task beforehand to be discussed during the interview. (We do that for our follow up tech interviews, but there's nothing to prevent you from using it as part of the screening process.)

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        "Most people have a LinkedIn profile these days"

        That is, those who don't mind being bombarded with bogus contact requests and having their details farmed out by strangers without their knowledge to all and sundry including impersonation fraudsters.

        I suspect a key reason recruiters like to post on and trawl linkedin rather than dealing with individual candidates is just that it's less effort for the same return. There are entire agencies that only exist on linkedin, providing no other means of contact despite this being in breach of more than on current law. The reality remains that candidates (however expert) are merely commission fodder.

        1. druck Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: "Most people have a LinkedIn profile these days"

          What really pisses me off is recruiters advertise jobs on LinkedIn but make no effort to integrate with it. On clicking on the advert it takes you via several other sites to an application form which you have to fill out with all the information that is already in your profile.

          If I was interested in that I would have included:-

          Key skill: cutting and pasting information from one web form to another web form with smaller boxes.

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        "There are other ways to evaluate potential candidates.", but I have some reservations about many of your suggestions.

        "Most people have a LinkedIn profile these days which usually duplicates the majority of things on a CV."

        There are three problems with this. One is that not everybody should need a Linkedin profile to apply to a job. Most of them will have it, but not everyone. The second is that a CV can be tailored to the job, listing qualifications of interest to them without listing the things they won't care about. True, it can also have lies on it, but so can a profile. Third, even if we assume the two contain the same content, you could either write a bot to scrape the data from their profile and analyze it for you or have the candidates send you the information in a more readable format that requires no coding or searching to quickly scan. The resume is the easier method for both sides.

        "GitHub repositories of personal projects and StackOverflow comments/answers/etc can give an indication of practical knowledge."

        Yeah, I generally don't like this. I don't post answers on Stackoverflow often, and when I do, I don't post under my name. I don't think answering people who potentially don't have a clue what they're doing shows much about my practical knowledge. It would speak better of my ability as a teacher, but even there it's not great.

        Github is a little better, but it also can be risky. My Github projects are those things that I do as a hobby, at least mostly. That means they're not necessarily the stuff I have the most experience with. If my job is mostly writing a process that runs on servers, but in my spare time, I'm writing something that runs on an embedded system with limited resources, someone reading my Github will get a skewed image of what I know for two reasons. They could misinterpret what the project is and assume that the hacks I'm using to fit my program into the limited resources are what I would do all the time. Even if they don't, they could assume that I only know embedded stuff, and take my less experienced code as what I can do there. This would not take into account that what I write at work can be different and better. Yes, I have multiple repos out there, but not all of them are updated and some of them are simple tools that are useful to me and others but not particularly complex.

        The coding challenges before an interview can be a better filtering system as long as they're realistic.

        1. Def Silver badge

          The second is that a CV can be tailored to the job, listing qualifications of interest to them without listing the things they won't care about.

          LinkedIn isn't a replacement for the cover letter you send when applying for a job. It's a possible replacement for the archaic, formulaic resume which mostly will just list your education, experience, and skills. In your cover letter you should highlight the skills and experience relevant to the position at hand.

          I don't post answers on Stackoverflow often, and when I do, I don't post under my name.

          But you can provide a link to your profile when you apply for a job so others can see what comments you've made. This gives potential employers an insight into not only whether you're knowledgeable, but also whether are you able to help others in a meaningful manner.

          My Github projects are those things that I do as a hobby, at least mostly. That means they're not necessarily the stuff I have the most experience with.

          Regardless of whether they're directly relevant to the job you're applying for, they will give an insight into your abilities to structure and design code. If they're personal projects, they will show you have a genuine interest and passion for software development outside of it merely being a way to pay the bills.

          Whether you agree with them or not, a potential employer should use all tools available to evaluate a potential candidate, and as someone who conducts interviews on a semi-regular basis, I do use as much information I can get my hands on to help drive the conversation during the interview.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Having been on both sides of the fence I'm happy to say that a cv is a lot more useful than a LinkedIn profile.

            --Whether you agree with them or not, a potential employer should use all tools available to evaluate a potential candidate, and as someone who conducts interviews on a semi-regular basis, I do use as much information I can get my hands on to help drive the conversation during the interview.--

            You obviously have a lot of spare time (HR by any chance). Do you use Facebook?

            1. Def Silver badge

              You obviously have a lot of spare time (HR by any chance).

              I'm a senior software engineer and project technical lead. When I have to interview someone I allocate the time required to research their background and prepare for the interview. This will include looking over any code they've sent (including the solution to the programming problem they're set a few days before the interview), any online profiles or code repositories they've shared, their resume and cover letter, education grades (and the courses they took), etc.

              That's the bare minimum I would expect from anyone interviewing me. If you can't be bothered to do all of that, you shouldn't be interviewing people.

              (I should point out that I only perform technical interviews. HR and any relevant department manager(s) usually will have vetted and interviewed candidates before they get to me, although I do get asked about potential candidates as part of the vetting process sometimes.)

          2. doublelayer Silver badge

            I have a feeling we're not going to agree, but I still have some objections to the methods it sounds like you're using.

            "But you can provide a link to your [Stackoverflow] profile when you apply for a job so others can see what comments you've made. This gives potential employers an insight into not only whether you're knowledgeable, but also whether are you able to help others in a meaningful manner."

            I don't think that's a useful yardstick. In order to earn a job at your place, I not only have to be good at writing code in the systems you are using and solving the problems you have, but I also need to have volunteered a lot of time answering others' questions and proving myself to be a good teacher. Are you trying to hire a teacher? Because that's the skill you're measuring with this. If you want to see that the candidate can explain a technical thing, ask them to explain a technical thing of your choice during the interview. This demonstrates that A) they can explain technical things, B) they know about the thing you chose, so you can tailor it to something you want them to know about, C) their skill can work with people of the knowledge level you have, rather than someone who may not have a clue, and D) if you aren't sure yet, you can ask them about something else.

            "Regardless of whether they're directly relevant to the job you're applying for, [GitHub repos] will give an insight into your abilities to structure and design code."

            In my original example, I pointed out why that could easily be misread. I gave an example where the code you would see is the stuff where code is likely to look of poorer quality and where the person has little experience, thus giving an unrealistic idea of their quality.

            "If they're personal projects, they will show you have a genuine interest and passion for software development outside of it merely being a way to pay the bills."

            This is a problem I didn't deal with last time, but let's do it now. Why does someone need to spend a lot of time on writing code outside their job in order to qualify in your mind? If you're hiring an architect, you generally don't require them to show you the several hobby building designs they have. There are several reasons a candidate might not have a lot of contributions for you to comb through. They could be limited by a legal contract that prevents them from developing or releasing things outside work. They could have a job with long hours and obligations outside it such that they don't have the time to maintain a complex project outside work. Or they could have interests other than computers and still be entirely capable of doing the job you want.

            "Whether you agree with them or not, a potential employer should use all tools available to evaluate a potential candidate,"

            I disagree. A potential employer should endeavor to establish whether the candidate has the needed skills without being creepy and without requiring unreasonable steps on the candidate's part. The definitions of creepy and unreasonable are subjective, but it's easy for "all available" to start spilling over into them. I've seen employers who do the creepy investigation into anything they can find with the employee's name on it, which has caused problems for people who share names with other people. I've also been asked for everything under the sun by companies because they couldn't possibly know whether I can develop a system unless they can talk to everyone I've ever worked with back to jobs as a student. In each case, they had the ability to ask me to prove something but chose an unreasonable method instead. I don't work there.

            1. Def Silver badge

              I have a feeling we're not going to agree...

              Which is fine. This is how we adult in society. :)

              ...but I also need to have volunteered a lot of time answering others' questions and proving myself to be a good teacher.

              Senior developers have to be able to mentor graduates and junior developers. Whether that's by pairing them together to work on the same module/system for a while, or simply by helping out when they need it. (In addition, we have a system whereby all new hires (junior and senior) are paired with someone senior who they can initially turn to for help with anything.)

              To be honest, I don't think I've ever seen a StackOverflow profile provided in a job application, but that's not to say nobody ever does it. I'm sure some people do. (It might even be included automatically if you apply for a job through the SO site.) I merely gave it as an example of something that could be given in lieu of a resume.

              With regards to github, I tend to consider any projects and code examples as conversation starters: Why did you do it this way? How would you improve that? What did you learn while writing this? How does this scale? What problems would you expect to encounter if this needed to run on a different processor architecture? etc...

              Why does someone need to spend a lot of time on writing code outside their job in order to qualify in your mind?

              You don't need to spend your entire life living and breathing code, but it's more about having a passion for what you do. The best programmers I've worked with are the ones who taught themselves to program - usually during their childhood - and such people tend to be curious and passionate about their choice of profession and like to keep up-to-date with tools and technologies outside of their day jobs. I might not care so much if I worked on more serious application development such as banking, trading, DBs, and the like, but in the more creative industries in which I typically work (games, simulations, visualisation, etc.) the vast majority of people are very passionate about what they do and do often have multiple side projects on the go, or do spend time researching new technologies. I took a couple of years off many years ago and the number of people, when interviewing me, expressed concern that technology had moved on too much for me to be able to work ever again was incredible.

              I disagree. A potential employer should endeavor to establish whether the candidate has the needed skills without being creepy and without requiring unreasonable steps on the candidate's part.

              Outside of being asked to complete a programming assignment, nothing I've said is mandatory on the applicant's side. If they choose to volunteer such resources, we will investigate them. That said, LinkedIn, as a public resource, is a good first step to verify someone has the skills and experience they claim they have, but I'm not going to start stalking them on Facebook or any other social media site. That would be, as you say, creepy.

        2. My-Handle Silver badge

          Using GitHub as a measure of the skill of a programmer has an additional issue, in that the programmer may simply not use it. Introverts may very well not feel confident putting their code online for all to see. Myself, I don't do a lot of programming in my own time. I do a lot of it at work, so when I get home I prefer to put my time into other hobbies and activities. Any code I do produce is either a small test or assay, unsuitable for sharing, or is proprietary (IP is owned by my employer).

          I'm strongly in favour of coding challenges for testing an interviewee, either before or during. As remarked above, the tests should be realistic. I'm more in favour of trying to gauge logical reasoning rather than the library knowledge of a particular programming language. Languages can be taught pretty easily, but logical reasoning is a hard thing to instill in someone.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            -- but logical reasoning is a hard thing to instill in someone. --

            First teach then to think at all, then critical thinking, then logical reasoning

    2. spireite Silver badge
      Boffin

      Bullshit if that's a reason to get rid of half....

      Problem with using CVs is that there is a mountain of talent out there that undersell themselves, because the CV is NOT the right vehicle. I'm guilty of underselling myself in my CV.

      Equally though, I'm a big hater of coding IN an interview. That isn't a good indicator either.

      There is a good reason, a substantial amount of people cannot code with someone watching them. I include myself in that group.

      It isn't because of incapability. I know I'm damn good at my job. How many times I mytself have been at someones desk, when their coding/typing skill falls apart while I'm watching. Itr's the same reason that pair programming is a curse to many.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My interview process.

        Screening call, just a quick chat to talk through current gig, and previous + any thing on cv - light tech filter.

        In person, set a couple of basic problems, leave you in peace to work on them.

        Some people just don't get that being good at being interviewed is separate from being good at delivering quality work.

        Pair programming is about the banter, once you are locked in, I find it effortless, with a good pair.

        But you need to have the right setup, I'm on my machine, you are on yours and we are both dialed into a shared screen, so you don't inflict your editor on me, and I can use Vim.

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: My interview process.

          I like it with one small problem. You make no reference to selecting who to call. Either you'll spend a lot of time on the phone without some initial screening or you don't get many cvs.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: My interview process.

            I take the CV as they come, yes I've spent a lot of dead time on the phone.

            I've also hired people from sitting next to them on planes, listening to their dad bitching about the kid

            who stayed on the computer all day. ( He got a proper interview and smashed it.)

      2. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Ditto!

        I saw the coding in an interview bit and for no reason at all this sprung to mind.

        https://dilbert.com/strip/1996-02-23

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I feel like I've been in that meeting.

          The guy wasn't juggling with balls, it was a rectangular cloth thing filled with beads.

          1. steelpillow Silver badge

            I was in it the other way round - I was applying for an authoring job.

            The interviewer was sporting blonde dreadlocks and expensively-distressed hippie gear. He emerged from the London traffic on a bike the same time I did on foot, no time to get out the juggling balls - they lay in his artlessly half-open desk drawer.

            He asked if I was familiar with online version management systems? Thinly-veiled fanaticism gleamed in his eyes.

            "Yes, but they are awful. None of them is adaptable to match the required documentation model, so I prefer to do it manually." Which in those days was very true.

            It was a short interview, but at least I got my travel expenses. I sometimes wonder how long it was before the traffic got him.

      3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        -- I'm guilty of underselling myself in my CV. --

        You then will equally well undersell yourself on LinkedIn

        Oh yes, from personal experience, there's a lot of non-talent out there who will dramatically oversell themselves.

    3. Persona Silver badge

      I've been in the situation of going through ~100 CV's interviewing 7 or 8 and hiring 2 of them. I've also been in the situation of being one of the two people recruited from 400 applicants, and joining the initial four selected from another 600 applicants. For some jobs CV's can be a very time efficient tool for the employer.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "We discard something like 50% of applicants based solely on the contents of their CV"

      I wonder how many of those CVs may have been rewritten by agencies or had originally been sent to the agency for some other job, emphasising a different part of the candidate's skill set.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge
        Joke

        "We throw 90% of CVs in the bin. If the candidate isn't lucky enough to be in the 10%, we don't want them."

        1. Mike 16 Silver badge

          Do you feel lucky?

          So, Teela Brown would be CEO in a week or so?

          Without a CV, where would I mention my IBM 1401 experience, thus saving myself and the interviewer who would check "Do not hire" as soon as they saw my thinning grey hair a lot of time and angst.

          And don't get me started about how, as a manager with open reqs, I pretty much had to use various unofficial leads to find real gems who had been binned by HR before getting to my inbox (probably for using a font the HR folks found ugly)

          1. Dr Scrum Master

            Re: Do you feel lucky?

            find real gems who had been binned by HR before getting to my inbox

            That's the problem with using HR - or rather one of the problems of using HR at all.

      2. J. Cook Silver badge

        Had at least one agency do that with mine, I was NOT happy because they emphasized skills I only have passing knowledge of and were trying to pass me off as some kind of expert to their client. (their client was not happy with them wasting their time interviewing me and my brutal honesty.)

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          When in recruitment I would ADVISE people on how to write (improve) their cv. I would never write one for them. Part of my advice was based on personal experience - only have one version of your cv - it get difficult remembering what version the interviewer is holding.

      3. doublelayer Silver badge

        I would guess a lot of them. I send my own copies to the manager as soon as I connect with them to ensure they're getting what I've written. I don't know what it is with agencies not paying attention to the job requirements or the candidates' qualifications; I would have figured that a company wouldn't pay an agency for someone who lacks critical qualifications.

        My problem with agencies is that they don't seem to understand what the jobs they have are about. I recently had one where they asked about my skills, and I told them that I don't have experience with frontend. I also don't really want to do frontend, but even if I were to relax that and take a job, they're going to have to accept a person who will be learning (and they're going to have to be unusually interesting to me because I don't like frontend). The recruiter then suggested a job which I rejected as too much frontend. At the end of the conversation, the recruiter had found a better job who wanted the skills I actually have, and they sent the description to me. It's well they did, because the hiring company wanted five years experience with client-side JS, React, Angular, and a number of other frontend frameworks. The recruiter was grumpy when I informed him that it still wouldn't work. They could have saved themselves the effort had they had a clue what "frontend" means.

    5. jmch Silver badge

      "We discard something like 50% of applicants based solely on the contents of their CV"

      How many of those might have been ideal for the job except that they weren't so good at CV writing?

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        That's a distinct possibility, but you could ask the same question about interviews, tests, puzzles, or basically anything else that could be used. The CV can at least be reviewed or improved by others, is mostly factual (if the right person is reading them), and can be used to establish the skills of the applicant during other parts of the process. Unless you can find something that accurately represents the candidate no matter their communication skills, the CV may still be among the better of the options.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or reading the job advert. I'm recruiting directly for a junior position at the moment, with a published salary range, part light techie, part more data management/admin. I get that for some people, they might be wanting to take a lower skill, lower salary job because of burnout, location, or several other reasons but if you submit a CV and that and the accompanying profile data suggests you've been doing something very specialist, got lots of experience and/or certifications and are earning >£10K more per year, I'd want to see a covering letter that shows you've actually taken note of what I'm looking for and not just relex submitted your CV to every job that sounds even slightly relevant.

    6. veti Silver badge

      Most employers I've applied to recently gave me an application form, which asked for pretty much all the same info as is on my CV but in their format rather than mine.

      It's not just major employers either, there are third-party agencies that will rent out an online application form for quite small companies.

      1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        -- Most employers I've applied to recently gave me an application form, which asked for pretty much all the same info as is on my CV but in their format rather than mine. --

        I remember that just after leaving uni in the year dot, and whilst I was still in junior roles. I use to write "please refer to cv attached". Cost me a stamp to get myself disqualified, but there were some who wanted to meet anyway.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Being more specific with job descriptions filters out just as much dross. The wider you cast your net the more likely it is you're going to scoop up some garbage.

      How many of us have seen job specs that ask for the earth only to find out the role is a junior position and not that difficult?

      We need less of:

      Required skills:

      HTML, CSS, HTML, C++, Java, Kobol, Fortran, Visual Basic, Bash, NGINX, Apache, MongonDB, PostGres, SQL, Ancient Sanskrit etc etc etc.

      Must have a deep understanding of South American Bullet Ants and Rainforest Flora.

      More of:

      We are a company specialising in blah. We are trying to build blah blah.

      We are looking for a developer to help us build X, we are using Y technologies and we are short of Z skilled team members. We would like someone who can A, B and C.

      Essentially companies need to understand it is them that has to stand out these days not the candidates. The vast majority of IT and software development roles aren't very exciting and exist in very boring companies.

      Just because as an employer you're paying for the privilege, doesn't make you the customer.

      1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Please be kind and remember HR & recruiters do not understand the job. I had a secret weapon when I was in recruitment (started at age 45) - I'd often done the job or one very similar.

        1. Dr Scrum Master

          Please be kind and remember HR & recruiters do not understand the job

          Which is why misunderstanding can be reduced by removing HR from the recruitment process. In fact, remove HR in general and remove many more business problems.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Then why are they there?

          I wouldn't hire a plumber to change a fuse box...why hire a chancer to find IT specialists?

  2. mmccul

    Coding is not the end

    Coding interviews miss the point. How does the candidate work with the team? Do they demonstrate an awareness of process? Can they demonstrate an understanding of ways to juggle competing requirements for the code? I used to say that the job was at most one third technical skills. The other two thirds were general problem solving and people skills.

    Who knew, hiring is hard.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Coding is not the end

      "Coding interviews miss the point."

      Can they code in a crap development environment on somebody else's computer without their own tools and their own setup?

      The majority of my knowledge isn't in my head, it's in my computer. That's the entire point of humans inventing storage systems.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Coding is not the end

        This.

        The massive turn off for me on a lot of development jobs is the fact I'd have to crowbar myself into somebody else's dumb DevOps environment.

        Am I an accomplished programmer that can build what you want? Probably.

        Am I able to do this within the confines of the development environment you've designed? I haven't a clue. Neither have you.

        Are you willing to change the development environment to suit the needs of the person you hired? If yes, superb...if no, cya!

    2. eldel

      Re: Coding is not the end

      The only 'coding interview' I ever had to suffer was a few years ago. It was in one of those all day multiple session interviews that the tech bros seem to love. By the time the coding part came around it was already pretty clear that I would be a poor fit - not least because I was probably 3 decades older than everyone else and apparently that meant I wouldn't be able to keep up.

      Anyway - comes the coding section and tech bro hands me a problem statement and asks me to code a solution. I did it in Python the way I normally code - simplest suitable constructs and methods. TB looks at it and asks why I didn't use a lamda expression in one part. I just shrugged and said why? The answer was that it would be 'more pythonic'. At which point I'd decided this was a lost cause so I asked would it make it more efficient at run time? No, would it be easier to maintain? No, then why bother - I don't code for style points.

      Unfortunately for my ego I can't claim that rejecting me was a calamitous mistake on their part, a mutual contact that knows the place tells me they are going gangbusters and I probably missed out on a very healthy stock distribution. Ah well.

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Coding is not the end

        It still takes a decent degree of introspection to realise that a job is not for you. The company may be successful with / without you, but if you're not likely to be happy working there then it was probably the right choice not to go for it.

        I was recently made an offer by another company, one that included more training (don't they all?) and more money. The downsides included more travel, and the kind of company attitude that reeked of a large American soulless corporation. The fact that the recruiters had promised me the earth to get me on board, then started winding back on their promises as soon as things started getting real was also a bit of a red flag.

        I could have used the money, but I'm pretty certain in my own mind that I'm better off not having taken that offer.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coding is not the end

      Why is team work important? Most things involving teams generally only have one person holding the ball at a time...

      Surely ability to collaborate is more valuable?

      You can be a shitty team player but an awesome collaborator.

  3. AndrueC Silver badge
    Happy

    Other interesting statistics in the survey include the finding that less than half of developers who responded did not learn programming at university or an engineering school and that nearly a third were self-taught.

    Nowt wrong with being self taught. It's given me a 30 year career. I remember once being asked to interview candidates for a role below mine with required qualifications that I didn't have. I don't have a single computing related qualification to my name and I'm (somewhat) proud of it :)

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Nowt wrong with being self taught

      Right on the nail. I taught myself assembler and C and worked as an embedded systems programmer for quite some time before going to Uni where the programming modules imparted bugger all. They primarily consisted of abstract discussion of obscure mathematical algorithms (the hobby horse of the lecturer, who was a pure mathematician), but, surprisingly, not how to implement them in code, plus some quite elementary assignments that took for granted that you could already program. Project planning, secure coding, and even optimisation were simply not mentioned. As I'd previously designed instrumentation systems for aerospace research, I learned nothing new.

      Competence is vital. How you become competent is rather secondary as long as it works.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      And even if the candidate has learned programming at University any expertise with technology released since graduation (and some earlier than that) is likely to have been acquired via self-tuition.

    3. Cederic Silver badge

      Indeed, the measure of a software engineer is not the source of their knowledge, it's their ability to work with a team to deliver working software.

      Computer science graduates I've worked with have never distinguished themselves in development roles from people with any other background. The curve of awful to brilliant doesn't care one way or the other.

    4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      I've said many times before, if you haven't already been coding for several years before university, having picked it up yourself, you're totally unsuited to it and there's nothing university can do about it.

  4. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
    Holmes

    A CV can be a useful starting point

    A CV (or a profile) can give me an idea of not just whether someone has technical skills (and they don't have to be 100% match) but it also lets me see whether they can communicate clearly, which is just as important.

    That is true for just about every engineering discipline where communication skills are not always considered essential (they are).

    I don't care if they have after work activities as part of a group (I most certainly do not) nor do I care what their hobbies are; I do care if they invest in themselves - company provided training is fine and should be provided for some things but do they care about themselves and staying on top of what is, after all, their career?

    In electronics, in particular, that is very important but it is also true in software but the fundamentals haven't changed (as I like to remind some people, we have not yet repealed Ohm's Law).

    Problem solving ability is just as important (some might argue more) as the specific domain knowledge.

    When it comes to software, I am self-taught which perhaps is why I sympathise with people who may not have a specific domain skill but clearly have potential.

    In my current position, I am dealing with electronics and embedded code that was designed and implemented 40 years ago (small microcontrollers, lots of discrete logic and large amounts of analog) and trying to find the perfect match is going to be almost impossible; in fact, the reason the company was so keen to get me is that I actually have hands on experience in those domains even though the system is not one I have previously worked with. The really interesting part of that is I started with them at age 66; age and experience really does have advantages in some cases.

    The point is that my CV clearly showed I had the relevant experience in the areas they wanted expertise for.

    That's not to say I haven't kept up with the new stuff - I have.

    So a CV is not a gatekeeping thing for me; it is an indicator.

    On the coding skills test thing - I am not convinced that they are really useful. A lot of people won't have public repos for various reasons and I would not hold that against them.

    In any engineering discipline I want to see problem solving skills which is really what we do.

    So there are reasons to keep the CV (or at least a profile I can read) but it is thankfully not always being used to discard candidates that would otherwise be a really good match for the position based on some keyword.

    Mine has 4 pages (almost an addendum) on the various equipment, tools (both software and physical) and protocols I am familiar with. Some might say that is too much, but I consider it to be telling a story; if you want the abridged version, then ask for it.

    1. shd

      Re: A CV can be a useful starting point

      "....nor do I care what their hobbies are...." - a hobby can provide personal development; sometimes much broader than job-related development. And particularly beneficial for someone such as me, who has only worked for small companies. In my own case my main hobby (sailing) has taught me accounting - at age 25 or so I was thrown in as Treasurer when the previous incumbent baled out with a nervous breakdown - so no help, other than working things out from the records, pen and paper, no Internet.... But I learned everything up to creating the final P&L and balance sheet. Most engineer-type posts wouldn't teach you that. I learned how to persuade other members to do what was needed (as volunteers they could just walk away) and on practical tasks often learned quite a lot from them. As an instructor I learned some teaching skills, and I learned how to deal with outside organisations. Plus a load of other things.

      So don't write off hobbies entirely - some can add a substantial amount to the person you're considering hiring.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: A CV can be a useful starting point

        An upvote for shd. I do geneological research as a hobby. That has spilt out into my coding as I've written stuff that allows me to take terse typed notes from documents in the limited time available to have them in my physical possession, and later on expand them into full, neatly processed documents later.

        m lily

        becomes

        Murfield, Lily; 3 Burngreave Yard, Church Street, Whitby, EDJJ-33.

        I too got roped into becoming Treasurer for a local society after the last one "ahem" need to hand it over. One afternoon's training by the Chamber of Commerce 25 years ago came in very handy - paying for it was the only thing the Job Centre ever did of any good for me.

      2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: A CV can be a useful starting point

        I fully agree. I still remember rejecting someone from their cv because of their hobbies - spelunking and hang gliding among similar. I actually wanted someone who would be able to turn up for work not in a cast.

        Here is a weird but interesting factoid. Outside of the HR Department most companies are interested in getting a job done not developing a person.

    2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: A CV can be a useful starting point

      You deserve a lot more than the single upvote I can supply.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A CV can be a useful starting point

      Communication is important for sure...but a lot of recruiters confuse their lack of ability to understand technical language as poor communication on the applicants part.

      I'd much rather work with other engineers that speak the same technical language I do than someone that a recruiter chose because he understood them.

      Recruiters are filters, they are not there to make decisions or express opinions, they're there as the first "loose filter"...simple as that.

      There job is to pull out the obviously rotten apples...the shape, colour, flavour etc of the remaining apples...is nothing to do with them. As soon as a recruiter oversteps this line it's bad for the candidate, it's bad for the hirer...nobody wins.

  5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    CV/Resumes, etc.

    The problem with CVs is the initial review is looking for reasons to screen out not in. So if your CV lacks the right buzzwords, qualifications, etc. you are out. So strategies the try to avoid the initial review are often suggested to get your name in front of the actual hiring manager; they often do not work.

    As far as coding interviews, the failure of this is it is testing coding skills not logical thinking about solving the problem. My last interview, I was posed a problem to discuss my approaches to solving it. I came up with a couple reasonable approaches without writing any code; pseudocode was fine. The key in programming is not being a code monkey but solving problems with code. If you can solve the problem you can code the solution.

  6. Dwarf

    All based on perspective.

    If they are doing coding during interviews, then I hope that they are also looking for plagiarism from things like usual websites - so stackoverflow and the like.

    The other challenge is that 5 people will code the same thing in 5 different ways, so who is to say which is worst, best, meets the requirements, etc. What about ability to follow coding standards etc - curly bracket on the same line or below, what comment blocks look like, selection of the correct class of variable to get the right mix of memory usage or performance when manipulating the result etc.

    What would have happened if someone coded the quake fast inverse square root algorithm in an interview - would the interviewer understand what was happening ?

    The main problem with CV's is that people exaggerate their actual contribution, or undersell themselves as they are good in some areas, but not great at writing good documents. This is why I always use Why, How, Explain type questions to see if there is just veneer or if there actually is some meat under the initial glib statements that people make.

    Personally, I like to read between the lines on a CV and refer back to things that are claimed when interviewing. Doesn't take long to differentiate the good people from the chancers.

    I also recall a statement from a security researcher a couple of years ago about interviewing the recruitment person, they would ask "In the list of the skills I listed in my CV, which ones are actually pokemon characters ?". After all, if they don't know what the skills mean, then how can they actually help in getting the right CV's / candidates in front of the customer.

  7. Steve Channell
    Facepalm

    The Register, LinkedIn, paperspresentations and github are better than a traditional CV

    The Register comments, LinkedIn experience/comments, published papers, conference presentations and github are better than a traditional CV

    In one instance, I was contacted by a High-frequency-trading company after commenting on a register article about a new transatlantic cable.

    Coding tests can be a bit of fun, but software development is not about banging-out code in double quick time; but fashioning an algorithm that will scale reliably with test-cases, telemetry and documentation. Understanding a business problem, and being agile to evolution is more valuable than speed. The problem with coding-tests is that they favor people who have the time to practice over and over again.

    1. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Re: The Register, LinkedIn, paperspresentations and github are better than a traditional CV

      Wait... ElReg sells our comments to recruiters who ask about us by our real names?

    2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: The Register, LinkedIn, paperspresentations and github are better than a traditional CV

      -- The Register comments, --

      What about poor old bombastic bob or amanfrommars1

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Register, LinkedIn, paperspresentations and github are better than a traditional CV

      Not sure I'd trust the judgement of someone who has so little understanding of the world that they use their actual name on a public forum.

      Same goes for being on twitter or Facebook at all, utter madness.

      1. Steve Channell
        Black Helicopters

        Re: The Register, LinkedIn, paperspresentations and github are better than a traditional CV

        Those little "like us on blah" buttons on the bottom right of the page links your posts to your social footprint (unless you're using ToR).. privacy is a concept. Anyway, rejecting an approach from GETCO was a mistake (just because they only had a banner page).

  8. Howard Sway Silver badge

    "Send me some of your code"

    That's always worked best for me. No more info than that, just look at what they decide to send.

    If there's evidence of thought having been applied to design, documentation, readability and maintainability, I know that's someone I'm interested in employing, whatever it is the code does. If it's look-how-clever-I-am-my-code's-so-complicated, I don't want to know. At least 50% would generally be barely readable, or instantly findable elsewhere with a quick web search.

    It's much quicker to find the best candidates this way than trawling through endless near-identical c.v docs. Then again, most firms that aren't founded by programmers don't use programmers to recruit programmers, but that's their own stupid fault.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remote working....remote interviewing.....

    ......how long before a deep-learning AI program can ace the selection process?

    Turing Test, anyone?

    Oh....and by the way, maybe the AI candidate is being put forward by your company's main competitor!!

    Just saying!

  10. froggreatest
    FAIL

    Increased competition

    In the past year I’ve invested a lot of time to try and break into the top big tech companies. I’ve done multiple interviews and failed many many times. Not to mention automated reject responses after the time spent tailoring the CV and writing a damn cover letter, forget the cover letter - an essay about how I’m “naturally” fit to work in a particular company. Also, I’m now regularly doing those algorithmic type tests on Leetcode to be sure I can find an optimal algorithm for a given problem in a couple of seconds. I hate it so much but there is some silver lining to it, I got to know my preferred language more, which is not possible at work (the irony). I was forced to read and learn about the challenges in large system designs which is again not possible at work. Most importantly I realised that it became much harder to get a job despite the years of experience - we are competing with a new generation, in a global pool of talent for a limited amount of highly paid jobs. Another weird thing is that all big companies want to do like >5 interviews and this takes a monumental amount of time. Wish me luck I’m doing 3 interviews this week.

  11. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Another

    self taught programmer here before going to University..learning the 'trending' way of doing programming and realising a lot of it matched the way I already programmed (and had to since since quite of lot of the code I use is in 'modules' that get called repeatedly from the main program

    As for some of the CVs we got for the recently filled PFY position, some had been written badly.... some were good... but a fair number played buzzword bingo with the hopes of matching up with what we were after and getting an interview that way.... and 1 guy looked like a rabbit in headlights when it came time for the technical questions....

    But we're a small company ..... if its a big company with HR, you're more interested in matching the buzz words so your CV get past HR and into the hands of the people who understand the job requirements

    And dont even get me started about agencies (both trying to get a job through and trying to hire people through)

  12. TDog

    It is on my CV

    I've been on both sides of the tracks and as an employer as early as windows NT4 I have had candidates, chosen by their CV's, who have replied to detailed questions as to how something vaguely complex was done have replied "It is on my CV that I have done this." Wasting my time and theirs. Given aditional chances to explain how it was done one got the same or similar answer.

    Nowadays, being both lactose and twat intolerant I would throw them out with a never darken my doorstep again, you POS. But in those earlier days being soft and tolerant I would simply invite them to leave.

    1. hoola Silver badge

      Re: It is on my CV

      In the dim & distant past when involved in recruiting I put together a simple multiple choice question paper.

      This was aimed at positions in servers (mostly Windows) but a bit of Linux, backup and hardware. I think there were 20 questions, all basic as it meant we could filter out the chancers quickly and do a nice short interview. It should have been possible to complete it in around 5 minutes, if you couldn't even do that then WTF!

      We used it very successfully until HR caught on and decided that it was "not compatible with our recruitment polices". Apparently you should probe for this information in the interview.

      Now we were asking simple questions like;

      "What core service is installed as part of setting up Active Directory?" Answers, were something like, WINS, DSN, ODBC DNS.

      or, What port does and SMTP server listen on? 80, 25, 110, 443.

      You would have been surprised at how few got it correct.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It is on my CV

        The problem with that is that it is very close to asking "what are the four cycles in an internal combustion engine?" when recruiting a driver.

        What port does an SMTP server listen on?

        It listens to whatever the SMTP port is that it's told to listen on.

        What core service is installed as part of setting up Active Directory?

        No idea, and completely irrelevent, just set it up to do what it is supposed to do.

  13. F0ulRaven

    Whatever process gets finally chosen as the holy grail, will get gamed and we are back to square one.

    A LinkedIn account only gives job creating power to another Silicon Valley Tech monopoly, and do we really want that?

    I think a new business model where the recruiter becomes a personal employees manager and does the whole process of finding the best suited employer would be an interesting development.

    However, still can't get away from the idea that recruiters would then occupy the space between pimp and slave trader!

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      LinkedIn

      I'm very happy not having a linked in account, like many online social media / networking type things it's something I don't do & if an employee would not give me an interview due to no LinkedIn then it's no loss to me as I really don't want to work for someone who requires such stuff.

      ... Once got told by a recruitment agency once that potential employer would not consider me because they could not find a Facebook profile of me to check (no surprise as I don't do FB). I was happy as a bullet dodged if employer expected social media accounts for tech savvy staff, especially something as toxic as FB.

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