There’s lot at stake when you bring a new person into your organisation, so understanding the underlying story on their CV is vital. Resumes emblazoned with A*s and impressive internships will probably gravitate to the top of your pile, but they don’t necessarily reflect an applicant’s qualities. So how do you look beyond polish and reveal candidates with the most potential?


The following is an example where a superficial analysis might fail to help you select the candidate with the most potential. Two CVs arrive on your desk; one headlining A*AA at A-Level and multiple internships at leading employers, the other, boasting only an AAA grade and less prestigious work placements. Surely that’s an easy decision? How could the higher achieving candidate not be the right choice?

Two candidates in context

Let’s run the candidates through a Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) like the one developed by us at PiC. Now you can understand the candidate’s socio-economic background (SEB) rank and relative education performance (REP).

A*AA in context

In respect of the first candidate with the showier CV, you learn that their grades meant they out-performed 60% of their peers at school academically. Reviewing their socio-economic background, they were more advantaged than 95% of everyone else their age growing up, ie in the top 5%.

AAA in context

When it comes to the second candidate however, the picture is different. This applicant achieved AAA, but when we contextualise their grades, they out-performed 95% of their peers at school academically. In terms of socio-economic background, they were more advantaged than just 10% of everyone else their age growing up, i.e. in the most disadvantaged 10%.

Different decision?

By taking into account the merit of out-performing at school and overcoming socio-economic disadvantage, your hiring decision may literally be turned on its head.

Where a CRS is most helpful and wider benefits

Furthermore a CRS will prove vital if your application process involves sifting through many candidates at one time, or choosing between large numbers of marginal candidates. In effect, the selection process becomes at once easier and more interrogative. And beyond helping your own organisation, a more rounded interpretation of calibre makes the world of business practice that bit fairer.

So when it comes to using a CRS, well surely it’s a no brainer?