How an erroneous CV can cost you a job interview

Spelling errors on CVs can reduce the probability of being invited to a job interview, and may have gender and social class implications.
By: | April 11, 2023
Topics: News | Recruitment

Even a small number of spelling errors on a CV can have a significant impact on an applicant’s chances of landing a job interview, especially for blue-collar jobs. In fact, a study found that making as few as two errors could reduce the probability of being invited to an interview by 7.3 percentage points, while five errors could lead to a reduction of 18.5 percentage points.

The study, titled Costly mistakes: Why and when spelling errors in resumes jeopardise interview chances, and published in the PLOS One journal, involved the analysis of 1,335 CVs that were reviewed by 445 real-life recruiters. For each recruiter, three graduate CVs were reviewed, with different numbers of spelling errors. The researchers also modified other factors, including gender, education level, and hobbies.

The study found that recruiters may view education and volunteering as indicators of intelligence or interpersonal skills, making them more likely to overlook spelling mistakes in these cases. However, recruiters might interpret spelling errors as a violation of behavioural norms for women, but not for men.

READ: Job seekers re-entering the workforce should consider modifying their CVs

Women and blue-collar employees were found to be more likely to be penalised for spelling errors than other job applicants, while those who indicated volunteering enjoyed a “buffering effect,” with recruiters more likely to discount their spelling mistakes.

While the study is limited by its simulated setting, the researchers emphasised the need to make hiring procedures more equitable considering their findings. Furthermore, the study showed that recruiters perceived those making spelling mistakes to be poor communicators and less hard-working, making it essential for applicants to proofread their CVs carefully, reported the Business Times.