Over the past few years, CV’s have become increasingly similar in their appearance and people use the same old clichés making it a challenge to identify those who genuinely stand out from the crowd.

So here are some key elements to be seeking evidence for when trawling through the “two pages” of a person’s life/career history…


A first point of filtering when there are a lot of CV’s to look through is how it is presented. If it is clear, concise and well laid out it suggests that this is how they would also approach their work.

Some people do go to great lengths to produce creative masterpieces that contain imagery and a flair for formatting but do at least ensure the content of their experience also matches up!

Work experience

You should have detailed in your job description and role brief the absolute must haves for the right person to perform in this role.

You should be able to quickly ascertain from their work experience that they have either carried out a similar role before or certainly one where the skills transfer.

The CV’s with bulleted job duties make it easier to establish suitability than those who don’t give much detail.


Depending on the role, education can play a massive part in hiring your perfect candidate; for example, if you want a qualified accountant you want to quickly check that they hold the relevant qualifications and if you are in a sector that demands a minimum level of passes at English /Maths this needs checking first.

On the other hand, a good education does not always equate to a good candidate for the role you’re recruiting; someone with top GCSE grades and A level grades may be great on paper, but in person they may be lacking the interpersonal skills to be correct for the roles.

Above and beyond

When looking for a new member of your team, it goes without saying that you want a person who doesn’t just do their job but seeks to go the extra mile and outperform what is expected.

With this in mind, you want to look for evidence that they have exceeded expectations. This could include sales performance, client relationships or some recognition from colleagues/management.

Part time roles / sporting prowess

It has been identified that those who undertake part time work whilst studying or who have excelled in sport tend to have high performer traits.

It demonstrates that they have discipline, a strong work ethic and the desire to improve themselves. It would also reveal whether a person can persevere for a relatively long period of time, despite it being “uncomfortable” at times.


Someone who has the power of persuasion can be a very useful asset to any business.

Whether it be encouraging clients to buy or stay with a business or equally bring colleagues around to a new concept or change, influencers are known to improve business performance.


Rather than being fixated on someone’s actual job role or industry type it is key to ensure you consider what actual achievements have been made by the individual.

This does not only apply to their work history but also interests such as achieving grades and certificates in a chosen hobby.

Focusing on what a person can do to realise their own goals will help to establish whether they have the necessary determination to carry out your role.

Red flags

There are several red flags that can be raised when looking at CVs.

It is important to not only spot these red flags, but to question the candidate on them if you do decide to take them forward to the interview process.

Employment gaps

If a candidate has many gaps of employment on their CV, it can sometimes allude to a problem with their work ethic.

Large gaps in employment could suggest they are not particularly focused on working or they have struggled to be successful in obtaining a job for some reason.

There are occasions where the delays are justified but just not explained such as travel, illness, relocation etc but certainly one to question in an interview and seek to find evidence of the explanation.

Job hoppers

Some candidates’ CVs may show that they have hopped from one job to another or not stayed anywhere particularly long.

This may look like they are disloyal to their employers or are not very strong workers however, the job changes may be caused by circumstances out of the candidate’s control such as redundancy, financial problems with the company itself or perhaps relocation.

The best CV’s will explain their “reasons for leaving” clearly but if not you should question the reason for leaving each vacancy when interviewing.

Poor spelling and grammar

A CV should be neat and well presented ideally with no errors.

If a candidate’s CV is full of spelling errors and poor grammar, it could suggest that their CV was rushed and put together with little care or attention to detail.

It could also be an example of how they write everything in their day to day life and a hint to poor English skills. With grammar and spell check software widely available, there is no excuse for these errors and mistakes.


In order for a candidate to be successful, they must be a good fit for your company as well as qualified.

The best way to find out if a candidate would be a good culture fit is a quick phone conversation to ask them about themselves. However, most companies don’t have time to call all prospective candidates, so another way is to have an in depth look at their “Hobbies and Skills” section which combined with “profile” is often the best display of a candidate’s personality.

There are so many factors to consider when reviewing a CV for your perfect candidate, so why not let an expert handle it? If you feel overwhelmed by recruiting, get in touch and we will ensure you only recruit the very best, genuine talent.