Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Dear Blog: How to Evaluate Candidate Blogs

Honest to blog, more and more people are hitting the keyboards to put their opinions down in digital ink. This can be a real resource when it comes to finding and hiring the best candidates. The blog of a top notch candidate can really tell you a lot about their skills, experience, and personality. Just like watching a video resume, a blog is a little window into what the candidate is really like.

Plus, in today’s digitally-driven universe, you can’t afford to ignore the social media breadcrumbs candidates drop along the application process. A recent survey showed one in four employers pegged the cost of a bad hire at over $50,000. That’s a lot of money flying out of your company if you ignore all the information available about talented candidates. A candidate’s blog can be as effective as a reference check for seeing if a candidate can back up their skills and fit into the organization with ease.

So pull up a chair and get a cup of your favorite tea, because it’s time to start reading. Here’s what you should keep in mind when evaluating candidate blogs:

Look at the Quality of Thought Leadership
A good candidate blog is filled to the brim with quality thought leadership in your field. Look at the blog to see what topics the candidate decides to write about. Are they blogging about industry-related trends? If they are, your candidate is likely to be extremely passionate about your career sector and more likely to stick around for the long haul.

Look at what opinions they’re expressing and see if they would be a good fit for your organizational values. If your candidate has a blog post outlining feelings about an industry issue which are 100 percent opposite from how your company approaches the topic, think critically about whether this will be a good fit. Your company needs skilled workers, but you also need talent in your company who will stand behind your mission statement.

Even if your candidate’s blog isn’t on an industry topic, watch out for what language they use. If it’s unprofessional and inappropriate, this might say something about the candidate’s larger personality. If every other word is a curse word, it’s a good bet the candidate doesn’t restrict their swearing to the blog.

The language a candidate chooses to use on their blog will tell you a lot about how they conduct themselves in public. They will, after all, be representing your company. Make sure they’ll be making a good impression and not creating a public relations disaster.

What’s Your Brand?
Is your candidate aware of their brand identity? Great candidates know that everything they say and do is part of their larger brand. Their social media profile, video resume and blog should all reflect the larger story they want to tell interested employers. Look at how they’re deploying their brand online and what avenues they’re using to establish their narrative.

For example, if their brand is all about being a great communicator, look at what they’ve chosen to share. Does their blog include a link to a well-spoken video resume where they look and sound confident? Make sure your talent is backing up their brand with concrete examples of their value.

Spell Check
This is a fairly obvious point, but you should look critically at blog content for spelling and grammar mistakes. Everyone is human and typos are bound to happen. However, if there are consistent grammar issues this might point to a larger problem with written communication. Considering the importance of written communication in the workplace, especially as email and social media become more important modes of communication, workers need a good grasp of the fundamentals.

A well-written blog can give employers a great deal of top quality information on applicants. With online media driving all aspects of our daily lives, these written records can let you know if the talent you’re considering will be a good fit for the company.

What are some things you look for in candidate blogs? Share in the comments!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Search Engine People Blog

Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).