Some prospective employees are a bad fit. Some don’t even exist at all. Make sure your job prospects are worth interviewing using the Internet.
Look at Work Samples
If you’re hiring someone who produces actual work, ask for some examples. If you’re hiring a copywriter, ask for links to “articles” that “they” have “written.” Follow the links and check out the content. Sometimes it’s not actually there. Seriously. Someone asked to write guest posts for my blog. Someone included links to article they had published in various publications. But someone’s links didn’t actually work when I clicked on them. Except the link to Billy Bob’s Conspiracy Theory Blog.com, where bad spelling is a must, and fiction is the new fact.
If they have a portfolio, you need to know what they’re capable of! Look through it carefully! Resume alone doesn’t determine the quality of the work someone actually produces, so you need to use their results as a metric just as much. Intern MG checked out Dorgus’s links. They were … total Dorgus. Nothing. This guy was either completely nuts, or didn’t exist. A robot. A phishing scam. Intern MG knew he had to make sure this guy was a bogus Dorgus, so he went one step further.
Use Social Media to Look Deeper
Also check out your candidate’s Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter presence. Especially Linkedin. It’s 2017, and if someone has a profile, read it. It will give you some idea of what that person wants to convey to the world. If they don’t have a profile, it could just mean they’re a private person. Or an undercover CIA operative. Or a robot. Or a vampire who hasn’t yet purchased WiFi. But don’t make assumptions; this is all just speculation.
The first line of defense against hacks, bots and applicants with bad hair is the cover letter.
Not only can you use Twitter and Facebook to make sure your candidate is real, but once you do find if they exist, you can see if they’re aligned with your company culture. Are they knocking back brews and jumping off hardcore punk show stages in every picture? If you work at a small/indie millennial-style-beanbag-chair startup, this may be the perfect candidate for the job.
Be careful when drawing conclusions from social media, though. What you care about is on-the-job performance. That hardcore, mohawk-wearing mosh-pit denizen might do some of the best work you’ve ever seen. So even though Facebook and Twitter can give you an idea of personality, never use that to disqualify.
Unless their Facebook feed is full of status updates documenting how they sabotaged their last boss when they were given a work assignment they didn’t like. I’ve actually seen people post things like that, not realizing that stories like that don’t exactly convey integrity and desirability in the job market.