CV Stripping

CVs have been around for over 100 years. So have recruitment agencies. So has CV stripping. For those of you who may not be fully up to speed with the concept, you’re probably not alone. For those of you who know what it is and how to do it, read on, you may have missed something… Let’s be clear what we are talking about first. CV stripping is the process of taking a CV and asset stripping it to create commercial opportunities. These opportunities could include sales activities as well as further candidate generation.


Key things we are searching a CV for include: Speed reading a CV is a developed skill. As your eyes devour the content in front of you we are scanning to look at –
  • Company names. Which do you recognise and which are new to you? What do you know about these businesses? Set goal as to what you can ask this candidate about them to develop your knowledge bank
e.g. “I see you’ve worked for Willis Limited. Tell me more about that company” e.g. “I know quite a bit about Willis Limited, tell me more about the structure of your team there”
  • Dates of employment. Look at patterns – what frequency does the person seem to change jobs? Hold contracts for? What gaps are there? Set some questions to help you understand and to identify potential leads and manager names.
e.g. “You worked for Willis Limited for some time. Who was the best manager you had whilst you worked there? What will they say about you in a reference do you think?”
  • The most recent job. Are they still there? If not – why and who will they use as a referee? If they are, who will they have to resign to? Let’s get that manager into a sales plan
  • The text in the CV. Specifically looking for words such as leading, managing, motivating, hiring or training relative to duties and responsibilities. This can open a conversation about hiring and discussing people. Overt and covert referrals.
  • Previous companies. Why did they leave and join them? This provides you with insight to hiring processes and culture.
e.g. “I see you’ve been contracting at Willis Limited for six months. How did you get the job there?” e.g. “You worked for Willis Limited for six months. How would you describe the culture?”
  • What can we learn about the equipment, technology and projects that are being used? If the candidate is a CNC engineer – what type of machinery are they programming and what control systems are present?


Who will the candidate use as referees? Who would you like them to use (so you can have a good conversation with them after you take the reference)? If it says “available upon request” then request.


Step one is reading CVs and thinking with a commercial brain. How can this candidate help me to make more money? What do they know that I don’t? Most consultants (I’m exaggerating there) will update the candidate file on their database. Making sure they are coded or attributed properly so that they can be found again. Fewer consultants will update the corresponding client file. Make sure you add the relevant managers to the system and you code the company for the skills we know they employ. To get good at this will require practice, discipline and support. You need to review your candidate CVs and really think about what the candidate is suggesting they know that you don’t and what the CV already clearly shows us of commercial value.