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CONTAINS IMPORTANT CANDIDATE INSIGHTS! 8 Notable Recruitment/HR News Items - 8th June 2015

In the news this week:

Career Progression Most Important to Job Hunting Millennials

candidate insights

9 out of 10 Millennials have cited rapid career progression as a top consideration when choosing their next job, according to research. Additionally, 53% of those born 1980-1999 say they have been disappointed by a lack of personal development training when starting a new job. However, just 15% of employers felt that personalised training programs were a priority for keeping employees engaged.

The research from Robert Walters, which examined the working habits and attitudes of Millennial professionals from a wide range of fields and regions, also revealed that 38% only receive formal feedback once a year, though 60% would prefer feedback every 1-3 months.

Overall, the study revealed that this desire for career progression is central to attracting and retaining Millennial employees, as well as keeping them engaged in their role. Andrew Setchell, Director at Robert Walters says, “Millennial workers have much in common with their older colleagues in terms of how they are motivated and what engages them at work. However, employers risk disconnecting with their Millennial workers if they fail to acknowledge the importance Millennials place on career progression.” And as Millennials are now the largest generation in the workfore according to the 2015 Mary Meeker internet trends report, this year, I think it’s pretty important you make the effort to give them what they want!

Facebook Tests “Saved Replies”

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Facebook is testing a new feature called “Saved Replies,” which will allow business Page owners the ability to write, save and then re-use canned messages when communicating with their customers over Facebook.

The feature, which is available now to a select group of business owners via the messaging interface on Facebook Pages, offers a simple tool that lets a Page admin create a new reply, save it for later use, and even search through their list of replies to find the one they need. This latter option is especially helpful for those who have a longer list of replies and don’t want to scroll to find each one.

Saved Repiles Interface - Facebook

Businesses are initially offered a couple of sample replies they can use out-of-the-box or customise, we’re told, or they can simply create their own. After set up is complete, to use a saved reply, you just click on it from the list and it automatically appears in the body of the email. You can also access the option from the messages reply box, where a new option lets you click a small icon to respond with a Saved Response.

Also handy is the fact that the replies themselves can be personalised using auto-populating placeholders similar to what you would use with form email messages, for example. There are personalisation options that let you insert a person’s first name or last name, the admin’s first or last name as well as the website URL.

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Saved Replies appears to be in limited testing right now, but it’s not unusual for Facebook to test a new feature with a smaller group of users before a larger, public rollout, of course.

Recruiting-wise, this new option will be excellent for company’s where the recruiting/HR team are not in charge of the company’s Facebook page. Instead of letting the marketing/social media team respond to anyone enquiring about a job with your organisation through Facebook, the recruiting/HR department can write and save a canned response for such queries. We’d recommend using the message to send them your direct contact details or to direct them towards a more suitable URL link like your careers site where they can learn more information about the hiring process.

Graduates Reveal the Worst Job Interview Questions They’ve Been Asked


In research conducted by London law firm, Thomas Mansfield, graduates were asked to relay the worst questions they’ve received this year using placards to pose with. The results were a collection of rude, sexist and racist questions asked by potential employers, with one job applicant, with a BSc in Physics, being asked: “Can you wear more make-up next time?”

Other ridiculous questions included a woman with a degree in Journalism being asked: “Can you flirt with customers to make them stay longer?” and a male BA History graduate being asked: “Is that a hickey on your neck?” referring to what was actually a birth mark.

One notably illegal question asked, was to a woman with an MSc in Personnel Management: “Are you planning on having children soon?” As many of your will (hopefully) already know, under discrimination law and the Equality Act 2010, interviewers and employers are not allowed to ask either female or male applicants about their plans for children in the future. Meredith Hurst, an Employment Lawyer at Thomas Mansfield, commented that: “Without even realising it, employers can ask seemingly innocent questions and break the law in the process. However, with employment law information so readily available online, there really is no excuse for insensitive questions or illegal practices.”

Other questions by employers to graduates included a dark-skinned applicant with a business administration degree being asked: “Will you be going back to Jamaica to work?” despite actually being French, and an MSc Economics graduate who was asked: “When was the last time you did drugs?”

Also asked was a graduate with an MSc in International Events Management, who received the question: “Would you do this for free?” and a female graduate with a BA in English Literature who was asked: “What do you think about dating someone in the office?”

The moral of the story is, think twice before asking certain questions of a candidate in job interviews. If you feel like it could be construed as offensive in some way, it probably is offensive and is best to be avoided!

Rejoice! Facebook gets GIF Support


That’s right my fellow kid-ults (adult kids), you can now post GIFs to Facebook and have them display not only inline, but in the mobile app as well! But there are a few posting rules you need to follow if you want them to work.

cat-using-computerThe first thing to keep in mind is that the feature works with GIF links, not GIF uploads. At least for now, attempting to upload your favourite GIF will not result in a usable, playable GIF on Facebook. Instead you need to paste a GIF file link into the “status update” screen. For most services, you’ll see an inline, real-time preview of the GIF embed. In our tests, GIF links pasted from Tumblr didn’t preview in the status update preview, but showed up just fine on the page itself.

First, the good news. GIF links you paste on Facebook work on mobile too. The latest version of the iPhone app supports GIFs perfectly. When scrolling 3025932-inline-i-facebook-paperthrough your feed, there will occasionally be an icon letting you know that a GIF exists (this seems to depend on the size of said GIF) and you can tap on the image to get the GIF to play. This is a common lazy-load feature that many other sites use in order to minimise the processing power needed to load lots of GIFs.

Now, for the bad news. For right now, GIF links only work for personal profiles, not brand pages. BUT, we expect Facebook will eventually allow Pages to show GIFs too.

Average Time Candidates Spend Getting Ready for Job Interviews Revealed


According to a new survey carried out by CV-Library, job candidates spend an average of one hour getting ready for a job interview. The study also revealed that women take longer than men to get ready on the day, with the average female candidate spending 53 minutes to get ready, compared to their male counterparts 44 minutes. Only one in 10 respondents said they would spend more than two hours getting ready.

Research from the jobs website also found that the average job seeker chooses their interview outfit two days ahead of time and spends around £100 on new clothes to meet a prospective employer! In fact, more than a third (39%) of male candidates would spend between £100 and £200 on a new interview outfit, compared to seven per cent of female applicants.

And it seems that men are generally more concerned about their appearance for interview than women with men most likely to get a haircut and buy a new suit. Almost 70% of men said they go so far as to ensure their socks are interview worthy too. In fact, of the 3,000+ people surveyed, 42% of men said they called ahead to enquire about the dress code, while only 29% of women would think to do the same.

Additionally, the survey found that seven in ten male candidates would still be inclined to wear a suit jacket on a hot day, compared to 45% of women. Most men were in agreement with the choice of shirt, saying they would choose a white shirt or a plain blue shirt for the interview. Unlike Richard Branson, only 16% of men would risk going tieless.

Lee Biggins, Managing Director of CV-Library said, “While your CV will dictate your suitability for a role, employers will use a job interview to learn more about you as a person. That means they’ll be paying attention to your presentation and appearance to ensure you’ll be a good representation of the brand. Just like everything else in life, the results of an interview will directly reflect the effort you put into it. Invest sufficient time in preparing for an interview (including your style!) and you’ll put yourself ahead of the competition.”

Google Claims Progress on Diversity Hiring


Google has updated its annual diversity report with new data, claiming “early progress” in its efforts to integrate more women and minorities into its tech-pro ranks.

According to the company’s data, women constituted 21% of Google’s hires over the past year, which increased the overall number of women “in technical roles” by 1%. Google claims that its campus-outreach efforts are responsible for the increasing percentages.

Black and Hispanic employees constituted 2% and 3% of the company, respectively; Google claims the hiring rate for those groups exceeds that of the overall hiring rate. “On the technical side, our Black and Hispanic communities grew by 39% in the U.S., compared to 28% tech growth overall,” read the official Google+ posting on the matter. “Our non-technical teams in the U.S. grew by 17% last year, while the Black community in grew by 38% and Hispanic by 22% in non-tech.”

However, despite those suggestions of growth, the actual number of employees who fall into those demographics remains strikingly low.

Last month, Nancy Lee, Google’s vice president of people operations, wrote in a blog post that the company would do 4 things to boost its diversity going forward:

  • Prompt employees to take diversity classes
  • Expand its hiring programs to more colleges
  • Make computer science classes available to more kids
  • Encourage business owners to participate more online

Whether those initiatives (and others) will translate into a more diverse employee pool remains to be seen; but in the meantime, Google is claiming progress.

Stop Using ‘Best’ to Sign-off Candidate Emails

candidate insightsHow do you end your candidate communication emails? “Thanks”, “Regards”, “Yours sincerely”, “Looking forward to hearing from you”? Well, if you tend to use the word “Best”, according to, it’s time you stopped. Because, while best may seem “inoffensive”, “harmless enough” and “appropriate for anyone with whom you might communicate”, best as a sign-off has also become “completely and unnecessarily ubiquitous”.

According to the site, the problem with best is that it doesn’t signal anything at all. “Best is benign,” says Judith Kallos, an email etiquette consultant. “It works when you apparently don’t know what else to use.” Others have called it charmless, pallid, impersonal, or abrupt. Caity Weaver, writing for the Hairpin, said it’s like “the black tank-top tucked in the rear of the display” at Target. “A few years ago, best seemed kind of uncaring — like turning your shoulder to the person without thinking,” says Liz Danzico, the creative director at NPR, who occasionally blogs about email communication. “Now, it’s like a virus.” And so it’s mutated: “All my best,” “all best,” “very best,” and so on.

So if not best, then what?

Answer: Don’t sign off at all. With the rise of Slack and other office chatting software, email has begun functioning more like instant messaging anyway. “Texting has made email even more informal than it is,” says Barbara Pachter, a business etiquette coach. In conversations with people we know, complimentary closings have started to disappear. Tacking a best onto the end of an email can read as archaic, like a mom-style voice mail. Signoffs interrupt the flow of a conversation, anyway, and that’s what email is. “When you put the closing, it feels disingenuous or self-conscious each time,” Danzico argues. “It’s not reflective of the normal way we have conversation.” She ends all her emails, including professional ones, with the period on the last sentence — no signoff, no name, just a blank white screen.

Will you start doing the same? Let us know in the comments below.


…And finally, The 2015 Social Talent Sourcing Challenge is here! 

That’s right folks! Sharpen your sourcing skills and put yourself to the test – for this week only, between June 8 and 12th, the Social Talent Sourcing Challenge is open! It’s a 15-minute, 10-question challenge that is actually pretty damn hard… Are you a good enough Sourcer to win it?

You could win this beauty! Enter the Sourcing Challenge today!

You could win this beauty! Enter the Sourcing Challenge today!

Enter the Challenge here to show off your mental muscle, and you could win a brand-new-in-box Apple Watch, AND a 12-month license to the Black Belt in Internet Recruitment programme here at Social Talent (you can nominate the license to a colleague or friend instead, considering you’re awesome). Get your team involved in the challenge, tweet yourselves prepping and completing the challenge and we may just also send you over some cool Sourcing Ninja swag as well! We’ll publish the leaderboard next week. Good luck everyone!

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