February 20, 2023

Secrets to Candidate Success: Ghosted, Catfished, or Blocked? Don’t Ruin Your Job Search Like a Bad Date


Episode Highlights

Read from Talking Points, Not Scripts


Suspicious Background Noise


Interview Catfishing


Stock Photo LinkedIn Profile Pics


Fake LinkedIn Profiles & Blocking


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On this week’s episode of Secrets to Candidate Success, Camille and Kierra welcome their recurring guest, Matthew Mulcahy, to discuss some Valentine’s day themed topics like catfishing, blocking, and ghosting stories. They provide candidates with tips on how to improve and avoid these occurrences.

Episode Transcript

Hey everybody. Welcome back. We have our newly branded show. We now go by Secrets to Candidate Success, so secrets to candidate success with Camille and Kierra. We’re dedicated to helping candidates understand the process from a recruiter’s perspective. In this segment, we’ll be sharing tips and tricks as we experience them. In honor of Valentine’s Day we’re all wearing our pink, celebrating the day of love.

So we wanted to discuss some fun, interesting candidate and recruiter topics that are pretty much on the opposite side of love and Valentine’s Day, like catfishing, ghosting, blocking, fake candidates, all the good stuff. We’ve got our reoccurring guests back, Matt Mulcahy, to join us, so we’re excited to tackle this topic with him.

Thanks for having me back. Of course. So some interesting things that we’ve experienced in interviews is when candidates are reading from scripts and you can kind of hear them reading through it. They’re stopping at like where there’s periods, end of sentences, as well as Googling during the interview. So maybe you ask them about like a certain tool, certain database, kind of share that with you.

You know the question, hiring managers. Tell me about your experience in Excel and you do a quick Google search just to see what some formulas in Excel could be. So probably not the best idea to do that in an interview. So some tips, you can use talking points, but don’t use a full script. You can have some words and guidelines written out for yourself, but just don’t read off of it in an interview.

Yeah, and we can definitely hear you typing. And you know, it could be appropriate in some instances, but just know there’s got to be some nuance there. uh uh Another thing that I’ve noticed on this topic is just some like suspicious background noises happening during interviews. Whether it sounds like someone might be like taking a interview from a call center. Or something else, just like weird going on.

I once talked to three candidates kind of all in the same day, or a couple days around each other. And I started to realize that they had similar work history. The same companies, but just at different times. And on the third call I realized that I heard the same low battery smoke detector beep, and they just had to be interviewing from the same place. So I ended up actually calling out that person and I was onto something because they immediately hung up on me. So, you know, what I would recommend is just to take your interviews from a quiet, distraction free environment. If you’re on video, make sure there’s like a neutral background or not people walking or talking behind you.

I get if you work onsite in like an office environment, you may need to coordinate a space that’s appropriate, but just be transparent with the company that you’re interviewing with and see if you can maybe make it a phone call or see if it can be before or after work hours. So you know, you can take it from home or at least somewhere quiet.

Yeah, I think that is a good point to make that you could be a great candidate, but if there’s other factors that are distracting while you’re interviewing or taking calls, I think that can really hurt your chances that moving forward or even getting picked just because of that. So, just make sure you plan ahead.

Use a friend’s house, make sure you’re somewhere quiet, when there’s no distractions. I’ve also had experience with TextNow numbers. I don’t really know how it works, but there was a candidate that I was calling, I called I think twice because they had told me to call back. And both times it went to a voicemail that said, this is the text now number.

And then when I actually had gotten on the call with the individual, it kept cutting out and then I actually lost service with them. So, just make sure you’re also using a reliable phone when you’re doing these interviews. If you need to borrow one, that is fine. Like, just make sure that it’s reliable because it automatically ruined our conversation because we weren’t able to have a good conversation, due to the connection.

I know that one of you have had an experience where the candidate showed up for an interview and they were a different person. I want to hear about that and that experience in itself. Sure, sure. One thing just to add to before we move on to the catfishing portion of the show is just like, technical problems are going to happen.

We get that. But just try and minimize that risk as much as possible. And so, yes, I have had the experience where someone showed up actually on their first day of employment who was not the same person who had interviewed for that job. And looking back on it, there were probably some orange to red flags that we probably should have noticed in the video interview process. Just like lots of excuses of why the video couldn’t get turned on. But yeah, person showed up day one, definitely wasn’t the same person who had interviewed, so I know that can happen.

And so, I never really understood the point of catfishing an employer like that, like just do your best that you can in your interview. If you’re lying about your skills or experience or having someone else interview for you, you’re really setting yourself up to fail in your actual job.

Yeah, I mean, if you need someone to to do the interview for you, you’re probably not qualified for the position, and that’s going to be easily discovered as soon as you start. And you aren’t going to last there long anyways if you aren’t skilled or have their requirements. And especially if you’re not the same person that they’re talking to, they’re looking for a fit for their team. If you’re somebody else, that’s obviously not going to work. I’ve also seen stock photos used in LinkedIn profile pictures. And it’s very obvious when they’re used because they honestly don’t look, very real. I know Matt has dealt with that a few times. And we did a reverse image search just for a little bit of fun in the day and we found them on the internet.

So it’s very easy to figure that out if you are using someone else’s photos. I know another kid I talked to was using a photo of Jack Black, and I was like, all right. I’ve seen that picture before. Just make sure you’re using your pictures and the picture is of you, if you are going to use one.

Yeah, and I’ll add to that, Kierra, when we were talking about those stock images, the reverse image search actually took us to an article that was about professional headshots for LinkedIn profiles, which just makes it that much funnier. Yeah. Yeah, that was funny. That is funny. And I wanted to add when I was sourcing the other week, I came across some candidates who had like engagement photos and like wedding photos as their professional headshot on LinkedIn.

So just a reminder, just to make your LinkedIn headshot professional. Make sure that there’s no one else in the photo except for you. Just one person. Just make it professional. Yeah, just make it professional. Don’t include anyone else in the photo. Yeah, I was doing a search recently for Android software engineers and tons of people just had the Android Green Robot logo as their photo, and it just made me wonder like, are these real people or what’s going on here?

Yeah. If you’re a recruiter looking for somebody to hire, it definitely makes you question if that person is going to be real or not, just from a recruiter standpoint, but also from a candidate standpoint. It gives an idea that you are serious about your search.

Not saying that you’re not if you don’t have a photo, but I just think it shows that you are really taking time in your LinkedIn to make sure that you have that professional headshot. I also have had an instance happen where I reached out to a candidate for a job and they replied with a different candidate’s information, email, phone number, and said that person was looking for a job,

And when I said I didn’t think that was a good fit for this particular role and asked that candidate what they were looking for, because they were open to work. They immediately blocked me. So it makes me think that the person that I was reaching out to was not the actual person that they said they were.

So it is pretty obvious when you do things like that, that you are not that person. So I just want to let you know that like it is important that your profile does display who you are. But yeah, not only that, I know that there’s been instances where voice mailboxes have said a different name than the candidate you think you’re contacting.

So make sure those are also matching up, because it just is really off-putting when we’re giving you a call and it’s not the same name that you have listed on your profile. I know Camille has had some experiences with some forwarding noises. Can you kind of go over your experience with that?

Yeah, so just when you’re calling, I know usually most times for the first recruiter screen, you don’t know what this person’s voice sounds like. Most times, unless on LinkedIn, you know what they look like. So you don’t really know what to expect when someone answers the phone, but just sometimes it keeps on forwarding and you’re not sure if that’s going to a different cell phone, a different work phone, is it going to another person? Is it catfishing? You have no idea

And I’ve also run into a lot where they don’t have a recorded voicemail message or the voicemail box is full. So like either you can’t even leave a voicemail and you’re not able to get ahold of them by email. So I think the biggest tip there, make sure you have your voicemail box set up.

Make sure it’s professional, saying, “Hi. Sorry I couldn’t get to the phone.” State your name, state your phone number. Just make it very professional and make sure it’s the right name because I have called people and then their voicemail will say someone else’s name. I’m guessing that it’s like their partner’s phone that they’re using or something, but I have no idea.

So just to make sure if you are using someone else’s phone or something, just disclosing that information just because as us to a recruiter, that can be really confusing to know who you’re calling and to leave a voicemail or not, or if you got the wrong number.

Yeah, I think all of those are great points to make. Matt, did you have anything else to add before we wrap up? Yeah, sure. I think just also using your full name, first and last name on your LinkedIn profile can really help. I get their certain circumstances, maybe security reasons or something. But if you can do it, just put Matthew Mulcahy, you know, whatever your first and last name are. Just having your last initial can be okay. But best to use your full name if you can.

I agree. Thank you so much for joining us today. Remember to check out all of our content on talentinsights.hirewell.com and follow us on LinkedIn for more content. Have a wonderful rest of your day. And Happy Valentine’s Day. Happy Valentine’s Day. Thanks for joining us, Matt. Thanks. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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