How to Assess a Job Candidate's CV and Cover Letter - Sample Evaluation Form

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How to Assess a Job Candidate's CV and Cover Letter - Sample Evaluation Form

The aim of an assessment of the job candidate's application documents is to perform a first selection in order to spot the candidates who will be invited for a recruitment interview (guidelines). Please note that each company has its own value system, as well as specific policies that influence the way in which application documents are interpreted.

In any case, the assessment of any application should start with the identification of the job's success criteria – i.e. the minimal criteria that must be met in order for the future job holder to have a chance of being  successful. If but one of these criteria is missing, the candidate should not be retained for the next step of the recruitment / selection process (guidelines), even if he/she displays outstanding professional skills or experience.


The selection of the candidates who will be invited for an interview is based on the following application documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Cover letter / Statement of interests
  • Diploma and other training-related certificates
  • Employment certificate(s)
  • References (if available)
  • Job candidate evaluation form (guidelines) - this selection tool allows for an assessment of the job candidates' skills in relation to the job requirements

1. A first reading of the job candidate's CV allows for a first pre-selection of the candidates. It avoids conducting useless interviews when the qualifications of a candidate clearly do not meet the basic job requirements (i.e. when the candidate does not dispose of all the necessary critical skills or exerience).

The candidate's "longevity" in the different positions he/she has occupied also provides some useful information. Very frequent changes of activity can indeed give the impression of a certain professional instability.

2. The reading of the Cover Letter allows gaining an idea – going beyond mere technical skills – of the interests and motivations of the candidate in relation to the position and/or the organization. The visual aspect of the statements, its writing (syntax, orthography, etc.) and structure will also give an indication on some of the candidate’s skills.

3. The employment certificate offers the particularity of resorting to a tacit set of rules and a specific language that can vary from one country to the other.

Attention! It should be emphasized that certificates can be ill-written due to the incompetence of the author, regardless of the candidate’s actual skills and performance.

4. The references mentioned in a CV may be used at the end of the selection process in order to decide between two candidates who offer equivalent profiles. They can thus prove useful for the recruiter in many respects:

  • Checking the information provided by the candidate
  • Collecting complementary information on the candidate's proven skills and behavior
  • Obtaining information relative to the person’s social interactions and everyday life (relationships with the superiors, the colleagues…) in his/her previous job


Here are a few examples of job requirements that may be regarded as critical skills:
  • A person who works in Zurich and has to deal with a customer bank in the UK may necessarily have to be fluent in English.
  • Similarly, a position may require a certain amount of years’ experience in a specific area.
  • It can prove difficult – if not impossible – to obtain a work permit depending on the candidate's nationality.

Such success criteria may be regrouped into a job candidate evaluation form (case study), an assessment tool that provides synthetic information on the quality of the candidates' application documents. At the end of the recruitment process, it allows setting up a relevant candidate ranking, thus easing the final selection.


The Federal Act on Data Protection (DPA) stipulates that the recruiter cannot use a job candidate’s references without the latter’s explicit agreement. Please also note that it is possible for the candidate to allow the recruiter to contact some of his/her references and not others.


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