Monthly Archives: June 2018

Why Your Ideal Candidates Aren’t Solely On LinkedIn

There’s no doubt that social media has made recruitment a much smoother process. Talented candidates are now just a click away, with hundreds of thousands of CVs available to hiring managers on sites such as LinkedIn. But is all this technology actually resulting in more high quality hires?

Around 49% of recruiters believe the quality of their candidates has improved since they began using social media for recruitment purposes. A figure as high as this certainly suggests that social media is helping narrow the skills gap. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that all other forms of recruitment should be rendered immediately obsolete.

In fact, a study by Jobvite found that the most successful hires traditionally come from employee referral. Whilst LinkedIn provides a wealth of information on each candidate, it seems that trusted referrals are still the most reliable method of recruitment. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from implementing both strategies. Knowing which platform will yield the best results for a particular job, workplace or industry can be a huge advantage to time-constrained recruiters and increases the chance of finding the perfect man or woman for the role.


According to Jobvite’s studies, 92% of all recruiters use some form of social media to find high-quality candidates. Of this number, 87% conduct candidate searches on LinkedIn. But how exactly has one social media engine managed to become so ubiquitous in the recruitment industry?

Well, for one, LinkedIn is the only social media platform designed solely for job seeking purposes. Whilst Facebook (55%) and Twitter (47%) boasted the second and third highest user rates respectively, they have only really become powerhouses since LinkedIn hit the big time in 2006. As the trendsetter for modern recruitment, there’s obvious reasons why LinkedIn is so favored. Currently, the site has over 300,000,000 users, opening up an incredibly diverse talent pool for recruiters to tap into. In theory, such a large database of candidates should make recruiting easier, though of course you still have to go through the arduous process of separating the wheat from the chaff.

In today’s job market, the truly passive candidate is a dying breed. Global aggregates suggest that around 85% of the workforce are at least open to talking with a recruiter. With pretty much the entirety of LinkedIn clambering for a job, the chances of you finding the perfect fit for your company comes down to how much time and effort you put into screening them. Suitable candidates may be overlooked due to incomplete or elusive profiles, when, in reality, they are well matched to your criteria. Whilst 48% of jobseekers claim to be active on social media on a daily basis, they aren’t necessarily networking or updating their profiles at the same rate.


It would be a massive oversight to believe that LinkedIn is the only answer to online recruitment. Whilst it may be the current forerunner in the industry, it is certainly not the only way to whittle down potential candidates. As has already been mentioned, employee referrals are still the most commonly used method of hiring and, for the most part, more personal ways of connecting with candidates seem to take precedence.

As a rule, jobseekers tend to be wary of unsolicited messages. Even on LinkedIn, where social interaction is to be expected, an email out of the blue can appear ominous to the recipient. Even those actively seeking job opportunities are likely to remain cautious if they are contacted by an unfamiliar company or agency. For this reason, you can’t rely on the power of social networking alone. A tandem strategy, where social media reinforces the work of other recruitment platforms, such as niche job boards, could be the way forward.

At its core, social media is a sharing platform. Whilst LinkedIn can be used independently by recruiters, its main function is to provide more exposure for positions that are already listed on external job boards. Many job owners view social media as the enemy, but there is no real reason why the two can’t overlap.

Job boards are still responsible for around 18% of all external hires. Comparatively, social media only accounts for around 3% of them. However, sites like LinkedIn were reported to drive more traffic to job board listings, with 7 out of 11 recruiters experiencing increased interest in their adverts after sharing them on social media. From this evidence, it seems that social media and job boards are most effective when used to support one another.

Whilst talented professionals definitely exist on LinkedIn, your chances of finding them through the social media platform alone are still relatively slim. When it comes to successful recruitment, hiring companies are much better off pooling their resources and sharing the workload between a number of different platforms.

Crafting The Perfect Job Description

Relating to a candidate’s unique personal experience is a challenge that many employers face.

For candidates of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) descent, the job search can be an especially daunting experience.

Whilst most candidates focus on the role, the individuals who have faced discrimination in their personal lives worry that they’ll face challenges in their professional ones.

They hope their CV’s won’t be tossed aside because of their names.

They wonder if hiring managers will recognize how they can contribute to the organization, rather than where they come from or how they look.

If your goal is to create a more diverse workforce by reaching out to the BAME community, there’s one piece of the puzzle you may be overlooking: the language in your job descriptions.

That’s right. The language you use subtly sends candidates underlying messages about your corporate culture, employees, and outlook on your workforce. This “between the lines” messaging can undermine months of Diversity Hiring efforts in a matter of seconds.

As a controversy surrounding the BBC earlier this year shows, communicating your message requires some nuance.

To make your job descriptions more inclusive and appealing to BAME candidates, here are 3 key steps to follow.


What are the values that connect your employees? How would you describe their mindset when faced with difficult or challenging situations?

Without knowing your organization and employees personally, it can be difficult for BAME candidates to understand how they’ll fit in with the culture. They haven’t met your employees personally, which is why when it comes to culture, the wording you use to describe your workforce is paramount.

Whilst reading your company’s description of the role you have available, words such as “rock star” and “elite” carry a connotation that could come across as intimidating and exclusionary.

If your candidate gets the sense that they will be over-looked as an employee due to the company’s subjective view of a “rock star” candidate, in spite of their talent and contributions, then they will be less likely to apply in the first place.

A truly diverse workforce embraces the unique outlooks, skills, and experience of candidates who use their perspectives to work toward a shared goal. Communicating your organization’s values in the job description will allow you to connect with BAME candidates who share those values without risking that your wording sends an exclusionary message.

For example, instead of writing “We are looking for a rock star Software Engineer,” which is vague and subjective, describe what values that individual holds. If you want someone who keeps ahead of trends and possesses vast subject matter knowledge, then a line such as “We are looking for a Software Engineer who believes that knowledge is key to innovation within the IT industry.”


Why do you want to attract BAME candidates? Are you looking to gain a different perspective? Do you wish to advocate for the community? What’s your motivation as an organization?

Share your motivation and history with candidates in the introductory section of the job description. This will help the candidate relate to your organization and identify how their unique experience is an asset to the role and your company.

The more you can help candidates connect their experience and outlook with your company’s needs and goals, the stronger of a rapport you’ll be able to establish through the job description they read.

This motivation can also be presented in the form of a mission statement. What is the mission of your hiring efforts for this role? How does that mission relate to the experience of a BAME candidate?


Read your current job descriptions. If you see commonly used clichés such as “outside of the box” and “fast-paced environment” littering your recruitment messaging, then it may be time for a rewrite to clean things up. You may write them with good intentions, but what you mean and how candidates hear them in context of your company and the role could be miles apart.

Break through this doublespeak. What are you really trying to find out? Focus on input. What are the qualities that lead to the outcome you’re looking for?

If you want to attract employees who think “outside of the box,” for example, the quality you’re actually looking for is creativity. Creativity is the quality that people who do think outside of the box possess, and it is an identity marker that doesn’t depend on subjective context.

Candidates who fit the bill do not need to understand the inner workings of your organization in order to recognize if they are creative or have a creative approach to their work. This is a quality that self-aware, high performing professionals know about themselves.

Similarly, instead of “fast-paced environment,” what you’re really looking for is someone with a sense of urgency with good time management skills.

Ask top performing employees: What qualities do you feel have contributed to your success in this role? What qualities do you admire about the people you work with?

Then listen. Just listen and record their answers.

What you’ll see, is a pattern emerge across top performing employees and the employees who have earned the most respect from their colleagues, direct reports, and managers. You can then use this insight to write better targeted job descriptions that accurately reflects your organization’s formula for success when it comes to your people.



Get current BAME employees involved during the recruitment process. Ask for their feedback. How does the job description read to them? What do they notice? Having experienced your organization first-hand, does your message accurately reflect the reality of working there? Out of these conversations, you may find that your biggest attractant as an employer is something you hadn’t thought of before.

Most Ineffective Interview Questions and How Ask The Right Ones

We’ve all been there: when preparing for an interview, the first place we’re likely to go is Google. “Typical interview questions”, “most asked interview questions”, “how to answer interview questions”, etc.

But here’s the problem: a lot of these questions are ineffective.


These commonly asked questions are ineffective and don’t provide opportunities for candidates to reveal what they’re truly capable of. Common questions, like “What is your biggest weakness?” create common responses, which benefit no one.

How do you know when you’re asking useless interview questions?

Here’s an easy test: next time you’re interviewing a candidate, ask yourself, “What exactly is the candidate supposed to say?” With the above question, do interviewers really expect candidates to provide a soliloquy of their biggest weaknesses and shortcomings? Chances are, 99% of candidates will attempt to present to the interviewer a semi-weakness that ultimately ends up being a strength.

This serves no purpose except maybe to see if the candidate took any time at all to prepare for the interview. You can achieve that while also gaining more valuable information about the candidate by asking better questions.


Question #1: Tell me about yourself

This question is often used to identify personality traits of the candidate, but here’s the problem: this question is just too vague. To fully understand the personality of a candidate, the question needs to be more specific. Instead of asking the candidate to talk about themselves, ask them about their hobbies and how they relate to the company’s industry.

For example, if a graphic designer is applying for a job at a gaming company, it would be pertinent to ask questions like “What’s your favorite video game art and why?” Then, follow up by asking them what they would do differently. The interviewer could also inquire about the types of games the candidate has recently played as a way of measuring how engaged they are with the gaming industry as a whole.

Question #2: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

While not exactly a downright horrible question, it shares some of the same problems as the previous example: it’s just too vague and generic to inspire an interesting answer from the candidate. Ask this question and you’re likely to get a rehearsed answer which will necessitate further questions to get a more detailed response.

Instead, ask the candidate to elaborate on a specific skill, project, or responsibility listed on their resume. This not only allows your candidate to paint a more complete picture of their experience, but it also allows you to distill any strengths or weaknesses as they go into more detail.

Question #3: Where do you want to be in 5 years?

Asking a candidate this question is akin to asking a high schooler what they want to be when they grow up: you might get a decent answer, but chances are, the person is not likely to be 100% sure.

Many employers use this question to see how interested the candidate is in staying with the company over the long-term; however, many candidates will respond by declaring that they would indeed want to be working at your company.

These sorts of answers are more than likely to be a ploy: sure, they may really want to work for your company, but who’s to say for how long? If it’s loyalty that you seek from the candidate, you’ll get a better idea of how long they will stick around by looking at their work history.

Question #4: What is your current salary?

Ask this question and the room is bound to go dead silent. This question almost always makes for an awkward situation, not to mention it is illegal to ask in some states now.

Instead, ask what their desired salary range is. This will give you a better idea if you and the candidate are on the same page.

Question #5: Why should we hire you?

This type of question elicits a canned response.

All candidates will respond to this question by presenting as many unique value propositions about themselves in the most positive light possible, which in the end, doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

Question #6: Tell us about the type of person you’ve had the most trouble communicating with.

This question will only force the candidate to speak negatively about an individual, or, provide a response like “I get along with everyone”.

Instead, ask the candidate to describe a situation where they had to work through a difficult problem with a team, and encourage them to provide as many details as possible. This way you get to the root of what you are asking (how the candidate deals with tough people situations) without making your candidate feel like they can’t be honest without seeming like a poor team player.

Question #7: What would your last boss say about you?

Ask this question and you’re likely to be bombarded with a series of generic accolades: hard worker, smart, quick thinker, team player, reliable, and on and on.

Simply put, no candidate is going to tell you what their bosses would say about them; instead, rely on the responses when checking the candidate’s references. Although references are also fairly biased, they are usually less prepared for these questions than a candidate. making it easier to tell through inflections in tone or stumbling over words whether they are being truthful.

Question #8: Why have you been unemployed for so long?

There are a bevy of reasons as to why a candidate might’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, and none of them are worth talking about. All that matters is the candidate’s experience, skill set, and how they handle the interview; there’s really no need to dig into personal matters 99% of the time.

Question #9: Why do you want to work here?

Experience, money, opportunity—these are all answers that make an appearance here, and for you, the interviewer, these give you nothing.

Why else would the candidate be sitting before you? They are there to better themselves and to make a living, and you can help both them and yourself by avoiding these types of time-wasting questions.

Instead, ask them what they find interesting about the company or what they look for in a company culture. This way you can see how much time (if any) they spent preparing for the interview and if they are even interested in the company/space and are not solely applying just to get a paycheck.

Question #10: Have you ever been fired? If so, why?

While asking this question might reveal character flaws, you’re still unlikely to receive an honest answer as to why a candidate was let go from a previous employer.

Additionally, this question may inspire the candidate to speak negatively about a previous employer, which can bring about unwanted awkwardness and hostility during the interview.

You can get the same information in a more honest fashion by simply going through a candidate’s resume and asking them about their role and thoughts about each one.


As a final thought, remember that the goal of an interview is to gauge how a candidate might help your company become more productive and a better place to work. However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for general questions designed to gauge a candidate’s “workplace fitness”; but this does mean that all questions asked should inspire the candidate to provide you with unique and honest answers.

Additionally, having a system in place that streamlines the entire interviewing and recruiting process will allow you to focus on hiring the best candidate for the job and not mundane behind the scenes tasks.