If you're active in the content and opinion sharing networks of the online recruitment world, you may just have noticed the flood of blog posts and heated debate that followed the release of LinkedIn's long awaited "Apply With LinkedIn" tool. For many, it reignited a long running "Is the CV dead" thread.. (see here , here and here for some examples). So a little late on, I thought I'd chew over some of the thoughts I've been having.
Will this one move by LinkedIn completely kill off the CV? Nope.
Will the CV *as we know it today* continue playing the role in recruitment that it currently does? Definitely nope.
I agree with many points being currently made in that there has long been a trend obvious away from a non formatted text document as the dominant entry point into a recruitment process - I'm a big believer that online professional profiles will eventually dominate. I also agree that each and every person interacting and engaging online is leaving a footprint and slowly building up a profile that can certainly be used to judge their skills and capabilities - whether they like it or not (ever seen SocialCV in action??). The smart people are currently VERY aware of this fact and are massaging that data in the same way that a CV document can be carefully honed. However I also agree with many other opinions made that there are indeed many people both candidates and recruiters who are very attached to that old CV document. What we're talking about here for many though is simply a personal choice in DATA PRESENTATION, nothing more. How that data is added, stored and built up over time (manual and automatically) is another matter entirely.
The "CV" of the future may take the form of a LinkedIn/Xing/Viadeo profile, but equally may be an "enhanced online CV" such as Innovate CV, VisualCV or one of a great many similar systems. There are indeed subtle differences between these - including the simple fact that whilst many "active" seekers have a nicely populated LinkedIn profile, a great many others only have the basics on there, or have a profile honed towards networking / business development / lead generation rather than towards impressing a potential employer.
A fundamental part of the argument for me comes down to semantics of what you actually define as a "CV". For a start, a CV Word/PDF document for a great many companies is now little more than a data carrier used to populate candidate profiles in ATSs/CRMS or whatever other systems they happen to use. A big question here is whether that process involves a human at any stage to correct errors in that automated parsing process (believe me even the best CV parser systems whilst pretty impressive are still FAR from perfect).
Ultimately, both employers and candidates are going to want automated matching and searching systems to go on and to improve in efficiency - so a bigger question here is how do you enable that, when candidates are going to choose to store this crucial information in such a variety of places and services? The future is still going to need some form of data transfer between systems, preferably at the request and action of the candidate, but I'm sure often not. Ideally we get systems to talk to each other using standard document formats - notably HR-XML has gained *some* ground here as has the hResume format, but these are a very long way from mass adoption.
SOO... how do we get these systems talking to each other and transfering data cleanly? Many systems can output *some* form of structured data about the candidate, but getting systems correctly talking to each other then often comes down to a complex and time consuming process of mapping fields and integrating logic.. (As a non candidate data example, just ask Broadbean how it takes to setup a job posting integration into some of their more complex jobboard clients).
ANOTHER way of moving this candidate data between systems that is actually used an awful lot in today's world is via (wait for it)... the trusty CV document. As many recruiters of course know, many many years of use has led to some loose standards in how people structure these documents, and any Word/PDF documents automatically spat out from an online system are guaranteed to follow structured templates. All of this means the good old CV parser - for all its flaws - doesn't actually do that bad a job really. Until the rest of the world can agree on a few standards, it will have to do.
As a good and simple example here - many of the integrations of the "Apply with LinkedIn" tool will ultimately just involve LinkedIn generating a CV document as an attachment to an email, and sending it to an email address that's automatically monitored by a CV parsing system. We're talking about STRUCTURED data going from LinkedIn, into an UNSTRUCTURED format, to be imported back into a STRUCTURED format in an ATS/CRM. In many ways a crazy reality. Will there be loss of data or incorrect populating of fields in that process? You betcha!
Looking into the future though - In 10 years, will it be a candidate's first action when actively job seeking to create a CV document in MSWord2020? Personally I really, really doubt it. But of course there will always be a late adopter and technophobe element who may just do that. Once they really start the hunt though, I strongly suspect they'll ultimately just upload that document as the very first step in populating an online professional profile. The smarter candidate will go STRAIGHT to the online profile site (or more likely just update one they have from their activities whilst NOT actively seeking) - then they'll VERY easily be able to generate a Word/PDF/Txt/XML/Infographic CV document at the simple click of a button to use as they wish.
From the other side - if a recruiter or hiring manager prefers to read a printed CV document in their lunch break than stare at a screen, then no problem! They'll be able to push their shortlisted candidates' profile data through their own choice of template (education first, then work history oldest to newest? no problem! ).
The future will be about data portability, carefully chosen "views" of profile data, personal choice and a whole lot of automated matching and suggestion algorithms built on top of all that juicy data. I relish it.