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Mind the gap? Not when it comes to CVs…

Posted on | Posted in News, Recruitment

When sifting through CVs to recruit for jobs in Basingstoke, a significant gap in a candidate’s employment history might glare at you like a red light.

Did they leave a job abruptly with no new role to go to? Why? Are they fickle? Lazy? Hard to get along with? Maybe they were sacked? These are all common assumptions and reservations.

But what if you took a more curious attitude?

Don’t worry, be gappy

There are actually so many interesting reasons for employment gaps and it could benefit your business to see them as a green light; a reason to explore that candidate’s potential further.

At Wote Street People, we take a holistic view to recruitment. People aren’t just the sum of their skills, on-the-job experience, and training. There’s a whole backstory that adds to their employability – and a CV gap could be one of the most interesting chapters!

It could highlight a characteristic, experience, or skill that might be of great value to your business and help set you apart from your competitors.

Positive reasons for CV gaps

Here are some typical reasons for CV gaps and why they might be a sign of the right candidate for your business…

Travelling

Whilst globetrotting might be difficult for many in a pandemic, it’s long been a reason for taking months or even years away from the workplace – and not just for younger generations. Not all companies are willing and able to offer sabbaticals at mid or higher career levels, so people might opt to go travelling between jobs.

Travel might have given your candidate an understanding of language or cultural etiquette that could be a real asset if your business operates in international markets. Even if you don’t, travel builds adaptability, resilience, and a fresh perspective (valuable attributes in every job).

Looking after family – young and old

Family commitments are one of the most common reasons for a CV gap. Maybe the candidate needed or wanted more time after maternity/paternity leave. Perhaps the lack of flexible working options in their profession (or culture of company they worked for) made that decision for them.

At any age, other circumstances – such as illness, bereavement, injury, or disability – could mean we need to take time off to care for a family member, or take a break ourselves. Caring for others takes patience, kindness, and empathy. That certainly sounds like someone we’d like to sit next to at work.

Studies

A hunger to learn is a sure sign of a candidate that’s keen to progress within your organisation. If they’ve taken a career break to learn a new skill, even if that’s not directly related to the job you’re recruiting for, it highlights initiative, enthusiasm, and energy.

Take this example: if someone works in finance by day but they’re learning dressmaking by night, they might not include it on their CV because they feel it’s not relevant or of interest their future boss. By encouraging them to talk about it at the interview, they’ll realise that you’re an open-minded and inclusive employer that appreciates all the facets of their people. They’ll be more likely to accept the job and stay the course.

Volunteering & charity work

For most of us, a feeling of purpose is what gets us out of bed in the morning. Not everybody gets this solely from work, hobbies, and relationships. Some people choose to volunteer or take part in fundraising efforts to achieve a deeper sense of purpose and fulfilment. Again, they might not state it on their CV if they don’t think it’s relevant to the application.

A CV gap could be the result of an epic sponsored hike, a winter helping at a homeless shelter, or a conservation project. When your business needs to organise a fundraiser, promote staff wellbeing, train a mental health first aider, or move the office towards zero-waste, that person will have so much useful experience to contribute.

So, our advice is don’t mind the gap – find the gap!

Wote Street People is a recruitment agency in Basingstoke that can help you identify and recruit the people that will make your business thrive. Call us today on 01256 799127 or email maxine@wotestreetpeople.co.uk

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