What makes you less interchangeable?

I was told a really interesting story the other day about a company who remove all obvious identification from CVs during recruitment.

It works a little like this:

  • They get the CVs for an open job position.
  • Someone who is not doing the active hiring removes the candidates name, any company names (of past and present companies) and other personal information from the CV leaving just a set of skills, extra curricular activities (although social space names/handles were hidden) and supporting information.
  • The anonymous CV is then forwarded to the hiring team.
  • The team then review the CV with less bias and prejudice (or at least that is the aim of this process).

To make sure they were discussing the right candidates they would tag each CV with a unique reference number which was tied back to the actual candidate. It worked perfectly for them and they found that each candidate was reviewed on their merits and skills alone, not by any bias or prejudice in the mind of the hirer based on their name, age, sex or other personal information.

This company reported a much higher success rate for hiring. More “A” players were hired and less “bad hires” were brought in. It sounds like an interesting process.

But it got me thinking about the sea of conformity that is happening in the Testing community.

Let’s say 100 testers applied for a testing job and the above system was in place.

  • Would each CV be distinct enough?
  • Would the hiring manager be “floored” by any single application? Or down hearted by the sameness of each candidate?
  • What would be on your CV to make you stand out in the process?
  • Why would your CV be chosen?
  • How would you “win” during the CV review stage, rather than waiting until the interview? (believe me, I know many Testers who submit below standard CVs and aim to do the “wow” during the interview..but what if you don’t get to the interview?)
  • Would all applications (and therefore Testers) be interchangeable?

If the system had a bug and you got somebody else’s CV, would it be vastly different to yours? If yes, how? If not, is that not worrying?

In a sea of conformity the only way to escape is to be different.

  • What are your strengths?
  • What differentiates you from the rest?
  • What makes your application stand out?
  • What makes you less interchangeable?

Update : As Stephan pointed out in the comments…would you want to work for a company that hires this way? 🙂

6 thoughts on “What makes you less interchangeable?

  1. An interesting approach indeed.

    I wonder however…how you would transport the testers ‘personality’, his or her blog (if there is one) or other things he/she may have authored (Books, conference presentations etc.).

    Even more important if (s)he has a publicly visible trace of achieved work (could be github account/activity, bugs found & reported to software…

    As much as we like to hire people who have the right skill set, they’d also need to match the existing team.

    So, one question is: How could you present your personality in an approach like this, without being able to also like to your identity?

    One way would be an (actually a yet) unusual CV/profile format, say a mind map, a sonnet or even a painting, well may more some sort in info graphics.
    But even then: If everyone starts sending ‘creative CVs’, what would you do…

    An entirely different question though: Would you like to work for a company that invited/hired you exclusively due to your CV?

    1. Hi Stephan,

      Great points made. It was an approach to recruiting that didn’t sit well with me at all, but I figured it made a good back story to encouraging testers to do something different. I think the types of companies that would adopt this approach would typically also be the ones who want interchangeable people. The approach would lead to applications from people wanting to work in these environments, and I believe that wouldn’t typically be the exceptional candidates.

      I personally believe the most important part of any hiring is personality. And you’re spot on. It would be missing from this first stage of recruitment.

      Thanks for the insightful comments as usual. 🙂


  2. On the one hand, it’s kind of like how orchestras now recruit musicians, they play behind a screen so the gender is not apparent. OTOH, the most important qualities of a tester (or any employee) are mindset and attitude. I don’t think you can get those from a CV no matter what! But we can help remove bias ourselves by not putting things on our resume that suggest our age and stuff. Hard to hide gender if you have a gender-specific name, of course.

    1. It is hard to bring forth the attitude and the mindset, but you can always mention it in CV. They cannot read your attitude from the CV unless you state what do you accomplish with such an attitude and mindset. I try to bring forth that I’m a continuous learner and the bannerman of testing scene. It may or may not bait the employer but at least I’m honest and try bring out the best of me. JUST DON’T LIE IN THE CV! You’ll always get caught.

      – Peksi

  3. Hi! Good insight. I started to think about my CV instantly and found that I may not have the WOW-factor in there. I might have something that others lack, but I also might miss something important.

    Updating your CV is a constant process as you always get new merits and discard less valuable as you go on in your career. Today I might value one thing, a year from new something else.

    Good post! I need to check my CV again.

    – Peksi

Comments are closed.