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5 Most Common Mistakes Managers Make When Conducting Job Interviews

Are you new to the recruiting process or a seasoned professional? This post will be valuable to you regardless of where you fall on the spectrum. That’s because everybody can use a refresher on the most common mistakes when conducting job interviews — especially experienced people who tend to fall into bad habits.

This video from Business Management Daily provides only five common mistakes, but they’re crucial to remember.  It’s less than 4 minutes long, so you can take it in quickly but we’ll admit, it’s kind of boring. Below is a quick summary and if you want more information, just hit the play button in the video below.

Top 5 Interview Mistakes

  1. Talking too much
  2. Failing to prepare
  3. Asking questions off the cuff
  4. Not knowing your legal limits
  5. Becoming blinded by personal preferences

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Terms You’re Sick of Seeing on a Resume

How is it possible that we live in a world with billions of unique people yet every single resume seems to be identical? In a way, we like when people use the same boring font, simple format and basic structure, but the least they can do is mix up the wording. Any recruiter or hiring manager who looks at resumes is tired of the same buzzwords.

This infographic from ebi sums it up perfectly. Not only did they capture the most common clichés that appear time and again, they hit the nail on the head with what we’re all thinking when we read it. Better yet, this infographic is more than a negative stab at uncreative job applicants. It also includes suggestions for job seekers on what they can say instead — perfect for you when those keen rejected applicants ask for your feedback!

Terms You're Sick of Seeing on a Resume

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How Dropbox Recruits Top Tech Talent

Finding people who have had success and copying their methods is a proven way to gain success of your own. This holds true in all areas of life, both personal and business. Specifically, if you’re seeking to improve the way you recruit and hire in order to attract the best talent, there are hundreds of great organizations out there – one of which is Dropbox.

This TechCrunch video interviews Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Sequoia Partner Bryan Schreier and discusses their recruiting partnership. In this interview they discuss how they hire, the challenges they’ve overcome along the way and what they believe brings success. If you want to learn from the best, then grab a pen and take 10 minutes to check this out.  Do you have any other tips to add?  Leave them in the comments below!

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Paid Job Postings or Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Paid Job Postings or Pay-Per-Click AdvertisingSince the early days of posting jobs in local newspapers, the standard way to promote a job opening has been to pay a fixed price and, in return, receive a designated slot for a specified amount of time. When the Internet took over as the primary medium to post a job, the model remained the same — companies started paying an agreed upon amount to include their job posting on an online job board.

The fixed price, one-time posting model was going great, right up until businesses like Google introduced a new way to advertise online, which they referred to as pay-per-click (PPC). It wasn’t long before the new way of thinking was being adopted by job aggregators like Indeed and Simply Hired, who started offering pay-per-click advertising for jobs.

This brings us to where we are today. Big job boards, like Monster, Workopolis and CareerBuilder continue with the traditional paid posting model and aggregators are pushing the PPC idea. All of these players remain successful and competitive, proving that there still isn’t a clear “right way” of posting your job. Instead, the question becomes which is the right way for you and your company to promote your job openings, assuming it’s in your budget?

The Benefits of Pay-per-Click Job Postings

  • Only pay for specific clicks. Exactly what the name suggests, pay-per-click means that you only pay if somebody actually clicks on your job, and that’s often less than a dollar. Yes, it can add up quickly; however, at least you know most of what you paid was to give more information to an interested candidate. (Note: There will always be a few accidental clicks or extremely unqualified people.)
  • It’s easy to measure. You get a report from PPC postings, meaning you’ll see exactly how many people clicked on your job and the cost of each of those clicks. You’ll also know how many clicks resulted in an application and how many of those applications were quality.
  • Set Budgets. PPC seems like it could get out of control, but another advantage is the ability to set exactly what you’re willing to spend, both the maximum click and a daily budget.
  • Specify Targets. The nature of PPC also means it’s easier to say exactly who you want. For example, you can ensure your job ad only appears for somebody who typed in certain keywords for certain regions. With sophisticated engines such as Google, advertisers can often name the specific demographics and search history of their target audience.
  • Free Postings. PPC job postings are frequently associated with search engines and aggregators which also offer organic search. That means you can post all of your jobs for free and only pay to boost those which need extra attention.

The Benefits of Pay-per-Post Job Postings

  • Low-maintenance. Regular job postings are much easier to use and, with a “set it and forget it” functionality, require much less maintenance and planning. This is the opposite of PPC, which requires more planning and monitoring.
  • Easier internal sell. Recruiters and HR managers trying to sell a new recruitment solution to their managers have a much easier time getting buy-in for traditional job boards because they’re familiar and easy to understand.
  • Unlimited views. You pay one price for a posting for a certain period of time and if a million people click on your job, you’re still paying that same price.
  • Easier to Budget. Fixed prices make it much easier to predict what you’re going to spend. If you anticipate a specific number of posting requirements, then you’ll know your exact costs early on. In PPC, you can set budgets, but you never know exactly what you’ll spend until afterwards.
  • You Still Get Organic. When you search through aggregator job boards, you’ll often notice postings (sometimes paid) from the major job boards. It’s in these big players’ best interests to promote your job everywhere, and they have the resources to do so.

As with every business decision, the right strategy will depend on your current situation and the direction the company is planning to go. Hopefully these few benefits of each job posting technique will help you make a clear decision on the best route for you.

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How Secretive Are Your Job Postings?

How Secretive Are Your Job Postings?Sometimes, when writing job descriptions to promote a job opening, you come to a fork in the road where there’s an important decision to make: how much information should you include? Very often, companies are hesitant to divulge too many trade secrets that may jeopardize the business, such as specific employee benefits, technologies used, future projects, or certain policies.

Potential job applicants skim through many postings across countless job boards when hunting for jobs, and yours is just a number to them. As such, you want to include all of the attributes of your organization that make it a unique and desirable workplace.  Simultaneously, you must remain cognizant of the fact that competitors may also be reading your job postings, seeking to learn how you’re stealing all of the best talent in the industry.

So where’s the balance? How do you decide what you’ll include in a public job posting and what you’ll save to tell an applicant in a job interview, or after they start the job? Here are a few thoughts to consider:

  • Trade secrets vs Industry standards. Have a strategic discussion with the company’s leadership about what’s truly a trade secret within your organization, and what’s an industry standard that everybody else is also doing.
  • You’ll attract more people with more details. As noted, there is a trade-off. If you hide more information, then it’s harder to sell your company and everything you have to offer. Eventually, you become just another employer.
  • Does it look sketchy? You’re hiding information from competitors, but if job seekers perceive it as hiding information from them, you’ll lose trust right from the start.
  • What’s the market like in your industry? If it’s more important to find people than it is to keep innovations a secret, then consider giving a few more details to bait in the talent.
  • Do competitors really care? That’s the next question to ask yourself. Sure, you think it’s an important part of your corporate culture and sets you apart, but maybe that piece of information means nothing to your competitors.
  • They’re going to find out anyway. And if they do care, they’ll find out (assuming they haven’t already). Except for well-kept secrets that require confidentiality agreements, there is little that remains confidential. It’s a fact that employees leave organizations and some will talk to competitors. You’re kidding yourself if you think they’ll remain loyal and never talk about what you offer for benefits.

In the end, what you’ll disclose in a job posting is up to you and your company’s strategy, but avoid over-thinking the discussion. In today’s economy, talent is arguably the top competitive advantage, so in most cases, giving up more information to attract better people will win.

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5 Mind Games to Play When Interviewing Job Applicants

5 Mind Games to Play When Interviewing Job ApplicantsInterviewing candidates is a crucial step in the recruiting process. We all know that there are plenty of unethical applicants lying on their resumes and the job interview is your next step for weeding out these people. On top of skills validation, it’s also your number one opportunity to learn more about who they are as a person, their work ethic, and if they’ll be a good fit into your corporate culture.

Sometimes, the cliché questions like “Tell me your top 3 strengths and weaknesses” or “Explain why you’re the best person for this job” just don’t cut it. Instead, you’ll want to throw a few curveball questions or use some tricky techniques that will get the candidate telling you about their true self.

  1. Create an Awkward Silence and See What Happens
    This is a common strategy taken by many job interviewers. This article from Time explains that just 4 seconds of silence can “elicit primal fears, activating anxiety-provoking feelings of incompatibility and exclusion.” As a result, people will do whatever they can to break the silence and start talking. When seeking more information from a candidate, just say nothing. Eventually, to eliminate the discomfort, the candidate will begin expanding on their response and divulge additional information.
  2. Confirm Their Former Supervisor’s Information and Secure an Honest Interview
    A 2012 Business Insider article provided 8 interesting mind games for a recruiter to play, based on the work of leadership and training provider, Mark Murphy. It included some common techniques, including the awkward silence listed above, as well as this unique question: “Please spell your former boss’s last name.” This will make the applicant believe (whether it’s true or not) that you have every intention to contact their former manager for validation. As a result, your chances of getting honest answers increase significantly.
  3. Let Them Feel They Can Be Honest
    Where the previous technique scared your applicant into being honest, this one does the opposite — comforts them into being honest. Create a “safe place” that gives them a false sense of security. As the interview gets casual, your candidate will feel as though they’re speaking off-the-record and divulge details about themselves that they would regularly hold back from a formal interviewer.
  4. Ask About a Problem, But Not How They Solved It
    Another common question to ask in interviews is “Tell us about a problem you had at work and how you solved it.” This can tell a lot about an applicant, but if you don’t prompt them for a solution, you can learn even more. A person who instinctively tells you their way out of a predicament is more likely to be a problem-solver, as opposed to the negative person who’s quick to tell you about their unsolved difficulties. (Bonus: The strategy of asking only partial questions can be applied to other typical queries as well).
  5. Brainteasers
    Finally, there are the ever-popular brainteasers, such as “How many lights are there in New York City?” Advocates for these techniques will tell you that they demonstrate a person’s critical thinking abilities. Critics (which are increasing) will tell you they add little value and just make your applicant angry.

Mind games and subtle tricks in job interviews can show some great results in learning about your true applicant and getting honest answers.  However, there may also be some ethical considerations and, as noted above, it could just make your applicant frustrated and choose to move on.

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How to Hire and Keep the Best Employees

Are you a manager who’s suddenly had the task of hiring a new employee thrown into your already busy schedule? Especially if you’ve never been responsible for expanding a team, hiring a new employee can be a daunting, endless process. There are many different avenues to consider on where to find people and countless “best-practices” to follow when hiring. Once you have the best person, it’s never a guarantee that you’ll keep them, but you want to do everything in your power to ensure they stay with you.

There is no need to stress out over hiring and keeping the best employees. While it can’t be taken lightly, recruiting people for your team doesn’t have to be the nightmare you may be expecting. For starters, review this infographic from It outlines a simple hiring process with tips and tricks at each stage that will lead to a smooth hire in no time.

How to Hire and Keep the Best Employees #infographic

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Just Proof-Read Your Job Postings!

Just Proof-Read Your Job Postings!We frequently criticize job seekers for spelling and grammar mistakes on resumes and unprofessional-looking emails, but are we taking a close enough look in the mirror? It’s simple to make a spelling mistake, often just because we’re rushing and our fingers type the wrong word or put letters in the wrong order. If you’re hesitant to forgive job applicants and immediately judge them for these slips, then you had better be certain that you never make the same mistakes. After all, just about every professional has learned the hard way that the sophistication in spell check in programs like Microsoft Word and Google Chrome, is not perfect.

Failing to properly proof-read your job description before posting it out to job boards, can have serious implications on your recruiting process. The obvious consequence is how unprofessional you will look to job seekers, though it is unlikely they will disregard the opportunity because you used the wrong “your.” Proof-reading goes beyond spelling and grammar ensuring text is formatted and written clearly to make sense. Without this process in place, you can suffer miscommunications with job seekers who misunderstand the actual role due to a vague job description or misguided requirements and perks. What if this misunderstanding isn’t recognized until mid-interview? You could waste both your time and the candidate’s time.

A few of the common mistakes job seekers report seeing in job postings include:

  • Spelling and grammar errors
  • Inconsistent tenses in bullet points
  • Run-on or incomplete sentences that don’t make sense
  • Excessive corporate jargon
  • Inconsistent or sloppy formatting

Given the potential outcome of not reviewing a job description before publishing it, perhaps it’s time to review your own processes and minimize your risk of appearing unprofessional. A few practices you can consider are:

  • Review it later. If you wrote the entire description, then close it and come back to it later when you have a fresh set of eyes.
  • Review it with different goals. Use the common errors above as an example. Proof-read your description five times and, each time, search for a different type of error.
  • Get somebody else involved. Sometimes, no matter how fresh, your eyes just won’t catch errors and your mind will always make sense of the convoluted sentence you wrote. Ask somebody else, preferably somebody detail-oriented and not connected with this particular role, to proof-read as well.

The reality is, no matter how much effort you put in, some errors are going to sneak past you. As long as you have a plan to quickly fix them as they’re identified, you will minimize the risk of losing business or candidates.

You could also ask yourself how you will deal with applicants who point out your errors. Is it a negative or a positive trait? Start that conversations in the comments below!

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Are Facebook Job Postings Right for You?

Are Facebook Job Postings Right for You?Social media is an integral part of many strategies in today’s business world. It’s used by e-commerce sites to sell products, marketing departments to build relationships with customers, and recruitment teams to attract new talent. Focusing on the latter, the most popular social network for recruiting professionals is LinkedIn. It boasts a massive network of future employees for companies around the world. But, LinkedIn tends to be limited to professionals and white collar workers, meaning it is not effective at recruiting for all positions. Enter Facebook!

This past February, Facebook finally got into the job board game and opened up free job postings for employers. Since then, companies have scrambled to understand and try the new service and see if it works for them. If you’re still working to wrap your head around this concept, then keep reading this simple overview of Facebook’s job posting feature.

How do Facebook Job Postings Work?

  1. The administrator of a company page just has to go to the “Jobs” app in Facebook, which is usually located in the left menu of their newsfeed.
  2. Immediately at the top of the page will be a button to Publish a post. From there, the administrator can enter all of the details, including a job description (max 5000 characters), a photo to attract users and, if you’d like, questions to ask applicants before they apply.
  3. Once published, a link to a “Jobs” tab will appear in the left menu of your company page. That tab will have all of your company’s jobs for visitors to explore. Your job will also appear in Facebook’s main job board section, and link back to your page.
  4. For extra exposure, companies can pay to boost their job postings. The benefit of paying to boost on Facebook is that you can target specific people. For example, ensure it is only viewed by people living in a certain region who previously worked in a specific industry.
  5. When job seekers are interested in your job, they only need to hit an “Apply” button. Facebook will auto-populate their information based on their profile and allow them to edit it.
  6. The candidate’s complete application will arrive in your Facebook company page’s inbox, ready to review. The administrator can then send Facebook messages back and forth with the applicant to receive further clarifications and request a resume.

What Do You Need to Set Up Facebook Job Posting?

  • Company Page: You absolutely need a company page if you’d like to do get started. It is easy to set-up and doesn’t have to be complicated. In addition, you need to ensure that anybody who will be involved in the job posting process on Facebook has the proper administrative rights.
  • Proper Employer Branding: The previous point said set-up doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should be well thought out and more than just a name. Be sure to add pictures and information that show your corporate brand so job seekers immediately know what it’s like to work at your company.
  • A Second Company Page (optional): When you tell your marketing department you plan to take over the Facebook page to show your internal culture and recruit people, they may not be happy. Especially in B2C companies, Facebook pages target customers who may have different behaviours and interests than employees. If this is the case, consider a second page that is corporate and geared towards recruiting.
  • A Defined Process: Posting jobs to Facebook and receiving applications is different from traditional job boards, especially since applications only come in through instant message. Ensure you know how you’ll post, take in applications, and interact with candidates.

Do Facebook Job Postings Suit Your Needs?

There are endless job posting and recruiting tools out there and you clearly don’t need all of them. Facebook is no exception and should be evaluated accordingly. A few questions to ask yourself are:

  • Who are your candidates? As noted, LinkedIn is better for professionals. Facebook will include them, but will also encompass another demographic of workers. At the same time, many people boycott Facebook or, if they are on it, they do not want to use it for a job search.
  • Do you have the resources to manage it properly? The previous section discussed developing a defined process. Once that is outlined, can you follow it? Do you have enough time and ability to manage those applications?
  • Do you have too many jobs? Perhaps the biggest downside for many recruiters is that Facebook has no integration with Applicant Tracking Systems. Part of its value is the easy application and information to your Facebook inbox, but if you have hundreds of job postings, that is an administrative nightmare.

All social networks have their uses and benefits and whether Facebook works for you is a decision for your recruiting team. One thing is for sure, as the largest social network in the world, its free job postings are guaranteed to be the right opportunity for countless small and medium sized businesses.

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Using Analytics to Create the Best Careers Page

Using Analytics to Create the Best Careers PageThe Careers Page on your website is one of the most important online recruiting tools you have. It’s the place where you can be certain all candidates are going to get your sales pitch about working for your organization. You use it as the hub for bragging about your benefits, culture and opportunities. It also usually includes links to job openings so people can apply.

Such an important asset must be monitored, maintained and continuously improved to ensure you’re always delivering the right message to job seekers. The question is: How do you know if it’s working?

Measuring your Careers Page will apply the same strategy used by your web team to monitor the success of your entire website. Google Analytics or a similar tool should already be set up, in which case, it’s a matter of requesting the right information.

Set Your Goals

The first step to improving anything is understanding specifically what you want to improve. Simply saying “We want the best Careers Page” makes it very difficult to measure success. Work with your recruiting team to understand exactly what you want to get out of the page. Does it just need to tell people how awesome it is to work at your company? Do you want job seekers to find your page and apply to job openings or reach out to HR? Is it a place where candidates at the interview stage can seek additional information about the organization?

You should also set a strategy about how you want people to learn about your page. For example, are you making a push to promote your company through social media or do you want to understand how successful your in-house recruiters’ emails are? Your strategy may also focus on referrals from other job boards or search engines like Google.

Decide What You’ll Measure

Your goals will dictate what you want to measure. Very often, people will track the traffic on the site, and feel happy when that grows. But how useful is that? What if all of those visitors were living on another continent where you don’t do business? Perhaps you have keywords and content that’s causing an influx of high school students to end up on your page while researching an assignment.

Conversely, you can’t measure everything either. If we consider Google Analytics as an example, there are hundreds of metrics and reports to choose from. Asking your web team for everything will be a waste of everybody’s time. A few areas you may want to consider monitoring are:

  • Which sources are people coming from? Do they fit with any recruiting investments you’ve made?
  • How well are people engaging with your page? Do they stay on it for a long time or are they leaving right away?
  • Where do they move to after your Careers Page? To another page on your company’s website or do they leave it completely? Do they apply for jobs?
  • How many of your visitors are returning visitors versus new people?
  • What region are they from? Are your recruiting efforts being wasted by attracting people from the other side of the world?
  • How many people apply to jobs versus look at them? Are any people dropping off part way through the application process?

Once you understand your goals and are tracking them against specific metrics, you will quickly see more success in your Careers Page. If you’re still not seeing success in your recruiting goals, then your next step may be to re-evaluate your online goals, ensuring they all connect.

What goals do you have for your Careers Page? Share your experiences with our readers in the comments below!