HomeThe GenZ LabLet's flip the script on CV employment gaps

Let's flip the script on CV employment gaps

  • Thursday, July 13, 2023
  • Auguste Dumouilla

A candidate with a continuous career path will always be better regarded than someone whose CV reflects scattered or interrupted experiences. The ongoing health crisis clearly calls for a different perspective on these notorious gaps.

Whether through automated sorting tools or when a recruiter reviews received applications, abnormal or non-linear career paths are disregarded. Moreover, how many online application forms do not allow for any "gaps" between two dates, often leading young individuals to give up midway or even manipulate the dates?

These blank periods, which often arouse suspicion and result in rejection of an application, can actually correspond to periods when young people decided to take a break, contemplate a career change, or work in a restaurant to make a living—without including such experiences on their CVs so as not to devalue them.

None of these things are inherently discriminatory objectively. On the contrary, in many cases, they can indicate a journey or profile that deserves further exploration.

A before and an after the health crisis

And tomorrow? How should we approach the consequences of COVID-19 on the resumes of young graduates, both with and without degrees? How many young individuals questioned the relevance of their educational path during the lockdown? Does the chosen field still align with their aspirations? Does it still make sense? Is the job market in that sector still as promising? How many young students were forced to abandon their studies due to the lack of part-time jobs in cafes or restaurants to finance their education?

A study conducted by Pearson and Wonkhe in July 2020 among British students confirms this situation. It reveals that 20% of them are considering or have decided to change their plans for the last quarter for the reasons mentioned above.

The COVID-19 crisis clearly calls for a different perspective on these notorious gaps. We should not exclude resumes with gaps but instead discuss them with the candidates to understand the reasons behind them. Above all, we should not exclude them from the recruitment process based solely on this factor.

Furthermore, as Alexandre Pachulski, co-founder of Talentsoft, puts it: "Candidates also have work to do. The advice I would give to candidates is to tell their story, what they want to achieve. For example, if a candidate has worked at McDonald's instead of interning at a prestigious company, they should explain why they chose that job over others. They can then detail how they managed their time between their studies and employment. They can explain what they observed, what they didn't enjoy, or even what they were able to contribute during their job (e.g., making customers' day enjoyable). Stories can be crafted from any event. It's not about telling 'stories,' but telling their own story."

However, until now, faced with the recruitment challenges that companies encounter, a study conducted in 2016 by the Ministry of Labor in France showed that 55% of them prioritized stronger solicitation of their usual sourcing channels for executive recruitment, while only 23% relaxed their level of requirements (such as degrees or specific training), and only 6% made modifications to the job content.

Beyond the cost involved in intensifying the use of sourcing channels, isn't it worth questioning the levels of requirements and moving away from an attributive mindset?