Keep up with the latest hiring trends!

6 Books Every Recruiter Should Read in 2015

Books for recruiters

I think it’s fair to say that the entire population of our Dublin office are bookworms at heart. We’re always reading something! And we absolutely love it when, every so often, we read something we believe could be of use to our blog readers and the wider recruitment community. We thought these books matched that brief perfectly!

P.S. Click the book covers to buy the books from

1. ‘Nudge’ by Thaler & Sunstein

Books for recruiters

As fans of Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slow, we couldn’t wait to read what was heralded as a similar book taking a revelatory new look at how we make decisions. And when we eventually got our hands on it, it didn’t disappoint. Nudge did exactly what it said on the tin!

In a nutshell, Nudge is about choices‚¬€how we make them and how we can make better ones. Why is that important for recruiters to know? Well, as recruiters, we spend the vast majority of our day trying to move people to do things like; take a new job, consider employment with a new firm or apply for a certain role. If we understood why our candidates are motivated to do the things they do (i.e. say yes to one company over another or choose flexi-time over a higher salary), wouldn’t we be better equipped to ‘nudge’ them to do the things we wanted them to do? Answer: yes we would.

Nudge is a fantastic book for recruiters to read because it helps us to understand why our candidates are motivated to what they do, and it shows us how sensible choice architecture can successfully nudge them toward the best decisions – the decisions we want them to make. And it does so in a straightforward, informative, and entertaining way.

Our verdict: If you’re looking to transform the way you communicate with candidates (and let’s face it, who isn’t?!), then you need to run to bookshop or download this book immediately! As recruiters, it’s very important that we understand why potential candidates are motivated to do the things they do, be that clicking into one job ad over another or following one IT company over another IT company on social media. Overall, a well researched, well written, easy to read masterpiece EVERY recruiter should sit down with. That’s why we’ve named it Social Talent’s Book of the Year for 2015, the Economist and the Financial Times named it Best Book of the Year, and why it’s a New York Times bestseller.


2. ‘Creativity Inc.’ by Ed Catmull

Books for recruiters

Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of creativity is the accompanying tagline of Pixar Co-Founder, Ed Catmull’s first book – an all-access trip into the nerve centre of Pixar Animation, a New York Times bestseller and one of the best books of 2014 as voted for by the likes of The Huffington Post and the Financial Times.

When we heard this book was sure to appeal to readers of Daniel Pink (an author who’s work we live by and quote from on a regular basis at Social Talent) we were sold! Plus, who doesn’t love Pixar movies?!

But this book doesn’t just discuss the movies (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Up etc.) that have helped Pixar dominate the world of animation for nearly twenty years now. Oh no! The primary focus of Creativity Inc. is the art of creativity in business, and how to build a creative culture in the workplace.

It reveals the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so widely admired (and so profitable!), and discusses the philosophies, Ed believes, protect the creative process and defy convention, or as he puts it “the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible”. Philosophies including:

  • Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.
  • If you don’t strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
  • The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
  • A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organisational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.

Forbes have said it just might be the best business book ever written, while Seth Godin (one of the Top 11 Twitter Accounts Recruiters Should Start Following in 2015) wrote, Too often, we seek to keep the status quo working. This is a book about breaking it.

Our verdict: If you’re looking to inject some creative thinking into your recruiting efforts and take them to new heights in the process, then this book is for you.  It’s a super interesting read, housing plenty of ideas all recruiters could learn a thing or two about the art of creativity from.


3. ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg

Books for recruitersOk, so not only is this one a New York Times bestseller (it’s spent a total of 60 weeks on the list), but it’s also an NPR bestseller, a Washington Post bestseller, a Los Angeles Times bestseller, a USA Today bestseller and a Publisher’s Weekly bestseller! Basically, this book is loved by a lot of people around the world and we’re no exception!

The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. Yes, in the same way Nudge teaches us why people are motivated to do the things they do, The Power of Habit explains, using scientific discoveries, why habits exist and how they can be changed – something every recruiter/HR professional should be keen to understand.

But don’t worry, this book doesn’t blind you with the science of it all (“Thank God”, I hear you sigh), instead Duhigg presents the outstanding research into habitual behaviour, in the form of truly engrossing narratives from the boardrooms of some HUGE companies and the side lines of some major sports teams. There’s even a couple of stories the front lines of the civil rights movement!

If you understood why your candidates do what they do – their cues, their routine and their reward for carrying out their ingrained habit – you’d be much better informed as to how to make things like visiting your company’s careers page, part of those habits in future. The Power of Habit will help you understand, and it’ll also help you to understand yourself and your own habits along the way as well.

Our verdict: We think our guy Dan Pink sums this one up perfectly: You’ll never look at yourself, your organisation, or your world quite the same way.


4. ‘Think Like a Freak’ by Dubner & Levitt

Books for recruiters

When we heard the authors of Freakonomics had written a brand new book, we wondered if it would be possible for them to change the way we see the world just as much as Freakonomics had. I mean they pretty much exposed the hidden side of just about everything in that book and it was amazing! But could a second, similar style book live up to all that?!

Turns out it can. And oh boy, can it!

Think Like a Freak takes you inside Dubner and Levitt’s thought process (an unusual and unconventional one!) and teaches you to think a bit more productively, more creatively and more rationally all at the same time, by offering a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems. Believe us when we say, this one retrains your brain in the best way possible!

As always there are some alternative and ultimately hilarious examples of this new way of thinking along the way, including the story of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria.

What are some of the steps toward thinking like a freak? Here’s a flavour for you:

  • First, put away your moral compass‚¬€because it’s hard to see a problem clearly if you’ve already decided what to do about it.
  • Learn to say I don’t know‚¬€for until you can admit what you don’t yet know, it’s virtually impossible to learn what you need to.
  • Think like a child‚¬€because you’ll come up with better ideas and ask better questions.
  • Take a master class in incentives‚¬€because for better or worse, incentives rule our world.
  • Learn to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded‚¬€because being right is rarely enough to carry the day.
  • Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting‚¬€because you can’t solve tomorrow’s problem if you aren’t willing to abandon today’s dud.

Our verdict: Think Like a Freak promotes new and interesting ways to think – something that is always desirable and will help you create a unique personal brand online (the key to great social recruiting). If you think and act differently to every other bog standard recruiter out there, candidates can’t help but to notice you and be drawn to you.


5. ‘The 10 Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences’ by Matt Watkinson

books for recruitersQuite often you’ll find that the problems we have in the recruitment industry, have very often already been solved by other industries. And The 10 Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences is living proof of that. Because although it was originally written for salespeople, this book is incredibly relevant to recruiters and how we view and manage the all-important candidate experience.

You won’t find any waffle or jargon here, just straight-forward practical advice that shows you making improvements your candidates will appreciate, doesn’t need to be complicated nor does it need to cost a fortune. It’s as simple as that.

Our verdict: We enjoyed this book so much that we decided to base two entire webinars on its teachings and how they can be applied to recruitment. Take a look for yourself to see how Johnny applied each of the 10 principles to the candidate experience and why:

6. ‘Made to Stick’ by Chip & Dan Heath

Books for recruitersHave you ever wondered why certain ideas like urban myths stick around for so long, and why so many people believe in them so much? What makes the idea of things like urban myths so sticky’ in peoples’ minds? And how could you go about making your ideas that sticky? These are the questions brothers Chip and Dan Heath set about answering in their fantastically thought-provoking book, Made to Stick.

Over the course it’s pages, Made to Stick reveals the true anatomy of ideas that stick in people’s brains and the vital principles behind them that help them win every time. Crucially, it also explains how we can apply these rules to make our own messages stick in other peoples’ brains and why that knowledge is indispensable (particularly if you’re a busy recruiter!).

Our verdict: Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate ideas. So, if you find yourself trying to sell a job/employer brand to candidates on a daily basis, as most recruiters do, this book is not to be missed! Made to Stick explores really interesting ways of getting people to grasp your ideas.

Find out how the likes of IBM, IKEA and Siemens
drive hiring excellence with SocialTalent