Following on from our recent blogs for candidates who are writing their CV, we think its important from a recruiter’s point of view to remember that a CV doesn’t always give a full picture of what a candidate is like. An applicant’s CV gives you a snapshot into their work experience and lists their hard skills such as IT and technological ability. But soft skills like communication, confidence or a candidate’s work ethic is harder to assess within their application


Here is a quick list of things that a candidate’s CV won’t tell you and therefore, are the things you should really look for!

  1. Work ethic:

An ideal candidate is one who has good time management skills, is a hard worker and gets the job done. However, a CV isn’t always going to show you these things! Asking candidates about their work ethic in a phone interview could be an excellent way to combat this. Consider asking questions such as, “What do prioritise in a work environment?” or “How do you adapt to change?” Delving into their ability to complete tasks or projects within given deadlines is a good way to find out more about this ability!

  1. Appearance:

Appearance isn’t limited to the way a candidate dresses, it’s about how they interact and present themselves professionally as well. It is becoming less and less common, especially in New Zealand, for candidates to supply a photograph with their application – which is mostly and rightly due to removing bias from the selection process. However, appearance and work style can help determine culture fit and whether a person is ultimately right for the job. Video applications and Skype interviews are a new and innovative way to incorporate professional appearance and work style into your interview process and is something the team at Hello Monday have used with clients to narrow a search for particular roles.

  1. Reputation:

This is something that is hard to measure and gauge on a CV. Having references on CV’s is still very common, however most candidates won’t feel comfortable with you contacting their employer without an offer or permission. Having all these hard and soft skills listed on a CV is great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a strength. Asking “how would you friends/colleagues describe you?” could make candidates reflect on their strengths from a different angle and put some examples into their list of skills. Achievements are another way to identify a candidate’s reputation, while they may document some examples in their CV, asking a candidate about their greatest achievement or what they are proud of is another way to assess this!


We always want to be getting the right people into the right roles and environment and sometimes that isn’t clearly shown by what is in their CV. It’s essential to go beyond what is written down and notice the potential of candidates. Picking up the phone is a great start, asking the right questions is even better!