“People said that we were mad to take on the CV”

With so few candidates or recruiters genuinely valuing the CV, why are we still asking for it as the main means of judging job applicants?

Our experts

We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality.
Written and reviewed by:
Direct to your inbox
Startups.co.uk Email Newsletter viewed on a phone

Sign up to the Startups Weekly Newsletter

Stay informed on the top business stories with Startups.co.uk’s weekly email newsletter


I see a lot of early career pages that are keen to point out that they’re not ‘credential-first’ employers, that they look for personality, culture-fit, originality, and pioneering mindset. So far, so good. But, then you hit that Apply button and wham: ‘Please upload your CV’.

The CV is failing businesses and young people alike. It’s outdated, limiting, and insight-poor. At best, it’s boring. At worst, it’s horribly biassed.

Applying for jobs has never been easier, thanks to one-click applications and CV uploads that take seconds. But, finding diverse, top talent has never been harder, and the dependency on CVs as the first line of recruitment is holding employers back.

The sameness of the CV straightjacket

Like many people, I’ve been in meetings where candidates have been selected for an interview because they went to the same university as the boss, or studied the same degree.

There is much talk in the HR space about skills and personality-based hiring, and that’s exciting. But, with 61% of businesses still solely dependent on the CV as its first screening tool according to a study by Arctic Shores, there’s still a long way to go before it disappears altogether.

The graduate job market is cut-throat. More people than ever have better access to education, which is of course a vital part of many career pathways. But, regardless of their education or background, people are largely being assessed by a blunt tool that makes an exciting, creative, and digitally-talented generation sound…samey.

The one-click-apply phenomenon makes matters worse. It’s a vicious cycle that tricks businesses into feeling better about application volume. Yet all it does is bombard HR pros with irrelevant CVs, making it harder to spot the best possible candidates.

Because what else have HR pros got to go on? How are businesses supposed to shortlist?

Breaking the cycle of CV dependency

With so few people genuinely valuing the CV, why are we still asking for it? It’s a question that has bothered me for so long that I decided, alongside my brilliant co-founders, to do something about it, launching the Vizzy alternative.

Vizzy comes from the word visibility. We allow candidates to express who they truly are, and we give organisations the ability to hire for what matters.

Our own research shows that 70% of undergraduates do not think the CV is a good representation of who they are. So, we designed an approach that would shatter this structure.

Vizzy profiles work across smart devices (no more Word docs) and allow candidates to bring to life their work-selves with multimedia including videos. There’s even a short psychometrics test built into the profile, which the candidate and HR team see. This means both parties benefit from understanding their strengths.

We’ve built businesses all the tools to search, filter, group, share, comment, and help manage unconscious bias. It’s incredibly hard to eliminate unconscious bias no matter how much training one goes through – the clue is in the title.

But, we work hard to manage it better and reduce the risk by using anonymous screening tools which unlock specific content in the order set by the business. For example, clients can hide headshots, names, and pronouns and only assess object criteria such as role specific Q&As or psychometrics.

2023 was our first full trading year and we’re incredibly proud to already be working with some of the world’s biggest brands with clients across the UK, America, Europe, and Asia. It’s a total thrill to be working with the likes of Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, and Burberry to name a few. We’re helping these iconic brands make more-informed talent decisions with insights into personality, culture-add, skills, and potential.

Want a diverse workforce? Ditch the CV from your hiring

There’s no end of research on the positive impact of diversity in the workplace. One piece from the prestigious Boston Consulting Group discovered that increasing workplace diversity improves a company’s bottom line by 19%.

Let’s take neurodiversity, for example. It’s estimated that 15-20% of the UK are neurodivergent. More people are being diagnosed due to advanced research and a positive shift in society’s awareness and acceptance of neurodiversity.

The British Dyslexia Association says that people with dyslexia tend to have out-of-the-box thinking. They process information visually and are good at finding hidden connections, making them ideal to discover patterns and trends in data. Is the CV a fair way to assess these candidates? Speaking as a dyslexic thinker myself, I’d say it does not.

And we shouldn’t assume every candidate is comfortable disclosing their neurodiversity, no matter how neuro-inclusive companies are. Therefore, finding a better screening tool that plays to a wide variety of people’s strengths is paramount to expanding talent pools and opportunities to diversify.

We’re also moving that ED&I dial to the beginning of the hiring process, to help businesses really measure their employer branding and recruitment outreach strategies. What’s the point in spending so much time and money driving traffic to your careers page, if you don’t know who is actually applying – year on year, campaign vs campaign, role vs role. Vizzy helps businesses do this, and much more.

People said we were mad when we decided to take on the CV – a centuries old tradition that Leonardo da Vinci is often (not entirely accurately) credited with inventing in 1482. But as that great saying goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” And, you can forget that 19% boost to your bottom line.

headshot of Jess Woodward-Jones
Jess Woodward-Jones

Jess Woodward-Jones is the cofounder of Vizzy, which connects hiring businesses with job seekers.

Written by:

Leave a comment

Leave a reply

We value your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. Please review our commenting policy.

Back to Top