Contractors’ Questions: Why are weaker candidates being offered contracts over me?

Contractor’s Question: Is it part of the ‘new normal’ that candidates clearly weaker than me in terms of technical ability are getting job offers and I’m not? Bring back the old days if this is what we’re all in for!

Expert’s Answer: You are not alone in this thought. Research published this month by HR-tech firm Tribepad indicates that over half of job-seekers feel the wrong people get hired because they know how to ‘cheat’ the system, such as lying about their experience, qualifications or job history.

Blowing your own trumpet

My view is that it’s less about lying and more about people’s ability to ‘self-promote.’ I’ve said many times that for every person that is offered a position, there were six stronger candidates that never even got as far as an interview! Why? Because they are simply not as good at selling themselves!

It’s easy to assume everyone is lying or cheating the system, but the cold hard truth is usually that many CVs are hastily thrown together and contain too little evidence that the applicant/candidate is good at their job/specialism.

A key question every candidate ought to ask themselves

We review thousands of CVs and the first question we ask (on behalf of the decision-maker) is typically ‘How can I tell that you are good at your job?’

Too often our response, after a long pause is “oh yeah, I suppose I can’t.” And if we can’t with all our experience in CVs, then nobody can!

My advice if you’re struggling to get beyond the being put forward stage is ask yourself the same question before sending out your CV.

Five CV must-dos

Make sure your contractor CV is:

  • super professional;
  • aesthetically pleasing;
  • clearly offering a value proposition;
  • promoting the skills the company seeks; and finally is,
  • jam-packed full of evidence that you’ve delivered business benefits and positive outcomes (for past clients or employers).

Think of it this way. If you had just set up a business and had commissioned the creation of a brochure to send out to prospective clients, how would your CV compare to such a document?

Put your CV forward, or yourself this evening if not

If you would like my team to review your CV, you can submit yours for a free 1-2-1 review here: We promise to be gentle and provide some constructive feedback about all elements of your CV.

The expert was Matt Craven of The CV & Interview Advisors.

ContractorUK has partnered with the UK's leading authority on contractor CVs to provide a FREE review of your CV and LinkedIn profile. Contact The CV & Interview Advisors and one of their team will get back to you to discuss if your CV and LinkedIn profile matches up with industry best practice.

Tuesday 11th May 2021
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Written by Matt Craven

Matt is the Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors and Incredibly Linked. He is considered to be a thought-leader in Personal Branding and is regularly engaged as a public speaker to deliver advice and guidance to global audiences on all things related to CV authoring, career advancement, LinkedIn, personal branding and thought leadership.
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