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Recruiting without a CV: The new standard?

Published on :
15 May 2024
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The CV may be losing its pride of place as an essential part of any application. Fine-tuned by candidates and fast-tracked by recruiters, the utility of the CV is being questioned at a time when companies are struggling to recruit. In the search for the rare gem, some organisations are choosing to move away from the CV.

In concrete terms, what complaints can we make about CVs? What are the benefits of recruiting without a CV? What alternatives exist? Let’s explore this subject.

Is the CV a round-up of weaknesses?

The architecture of a CV is always the same. You will find contact details for the applicant, (often) accompanied by a photo, past professional experience, qualifications/diplomas and to finish, a brief list of social skills they possess and a glimpse into their leisure activities and hobbies. Based on this information, the recruiter decides upon the fate of an application. But according to Stéphanie Reniers, CEO of Gentis, it is a process that has its limits, in addition to being risky, because the opportunities for cognitive bias are many:

For example, because the applicant did their higher education studies at the same school or plays the same sport, the recruiting manager will feel kindly towards them and believe that they have the same skills and qualities as the manager to succeed. This bias is called similarity bias and it leads the recruiter to prefer candidates that resemble him or her. But having things in common is not proof of a good fit. Worse still, it is a source of hiring discrimination.

Another weakness, one that is not insignificant, is that a CV does not allow you to assess soft skills, cognitive, emotional and relationship human skills that are essential in any company today. The latest World Economic Forum study actually listed the 10 top skills (hard and soft skills) that are most important between now and 2027, and they are mainly soft skills like analytical thinking, leadership, stress management or complex problem solving.

For these reasons, more and more companies like Gentis are choosing to CV-free recruitment.

What are the benefits of recruiting without a CV?

While the CV has its limitations, can we go so far as to say that recruiting without a CV is a good idea? For Stéphanie Reniers, the advantages are many:

With the CV, companies assess the candidates on the basis of previous professional experiences, without taking their future potential into account. But in a VUCA world in which company transformations are in droves and technical skills become obsolete rapidly, recruiting without a CV can circumnavigate these obstacles. Without a CV, recruitment focuses on the actual skills of the applicants and their aptitude to grow with the company.

So, by freeing ourselves from the CV, we open access to positions to more atypical and diverse profiles. This is a positive approach for the company because according to a publication from the International Office of Labor dating from 2019, leaders who implement a strong policy of inclusion have 60% more chances of seeing their profits increase and attracting new talent. And according to a Deloitte report on HR trends, 80% of leaders think that diversity is a competitive advantage because it is a vector for innovation, creativity and tolerance.

So what do we do in the absence of a CV? Several initiatives are being developed to assess applicants and recruit the right talent.

Recruitment without a CV: what are the alternatives?

Tools to identify and assess technical skills

In the end, isn’t testing a person’s hard skills the way to find the right person to fill the open position? More and more companies are integrating role-play and technical tests to sort applications like the ones proposed by TestGorilla. Accounting, growth marketing or web development, the goal is to recruit professional skills by assessing the life skills of candidates.

Their strength? These tools have the edge in that they place applicants on a equal footing by giving them all the same opportunity to show what they are capable of. It is therefore an efficient way to combat recruitment bias.

Personality tests

A CV does not inform about the soft skills that applicants possess. To tackle this, personality assessment tests and questionnaires have been developed for the market.

In concrete terms, these personality tests offer to identify and assess the qualities, values, motivations and behaviour of individuals against those of the company. The questionnaires can be personalised in such a way as to help recruiters to choose talents that best match the company culture and the key life skills for the position. For Stéphanie Reniers, while these tools are seductive, they should not be made into a panacea.

Some tips for recruitment without a CV

While the “CV-free recruitment” formula is seductive, it cannot be improvised. The approach should be well thought-out and well-prepared. As Stéphanie Reniers points out, “it is not suitable for all companies and all positions.”

To avoid falling into the same pitfalls as the CV, it is vital to separate the essential skills for the position from those that are desirable when it comes to building the role-playing tests, the practical tests and the skills questionnaires. Having a precise idea about the ideal candidate is also important. It is used as the basis for an assessment table for their aptitudes and qualities.

Finally, all the people who contribute to the recruitment process should be trained in recruitment without a CV. “Good understanding of the way recruitment is changing takes time” explains Stéphanie Reniers. It is important to take this time to genuinely perceive the benefits of recruitment without a CV.

In conclusion, Recruiting without a CV is a winning strategy for everyone. It allows you to offer a candidate experience that is fairer and stands out from the others. From the company point of view, recruitment errors are reduced, which is good for the economic health and image of the employer brand!

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