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How NOT to recruit talent

Insider views on recruiting practices that DON'T work

LinkedIn logo

Recruiting is a crucial process for any organisation. A successful recruitment strategy can bring in the right talent, which can make a remarkable impact on the company's success.

LinkedIn has been a game-changer in the recruitment space, providing a platform that connects job seekers with potential employers. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the success of recruitment via LinkedIn is not solely dependent on the platform's features, but it also depends on the job seeker's attitude toward the application process.

While acting as business consultants, we strive to assist our clients in attracting and hiring the best candidates for their organisation.

How NOT to recruit talent

Recently, while conducting a recruitment campaign on LinkedIn for one of our clients, we discovered a concerning trend among job applicants. A significant number of candidates were disappointingly qualified for the position, and many had applied without thoroughly reading the job advertisement.

To gain insight into this phenomenon, we conducted a test by posting a job advertisement with specific instructions at the bottom of the ad, indicating that candidates should avoid using the "Apply Now" button and instead submit their resumes and cover letters via email.

The results were staggering: "Less than 1% of applicants followed these instructions."

The rise of remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has only made LinkedIn even more popular for job seekers, as it provides a platform to connect employees and potential employers globally. Consequently, this has also led to an increase in the number of job applications that recruiters receive for open positions.

The increase in the number of applications can be both beneficial and troubling. On the one hand, recruiters have a broader pool of candidates to choose from. On the other hand, they also have to sift through a high volume of applications, making it harder to identify the best-fit candidates.

Therefore, job seekers who stand out from the competition by tailoring their applications to the job requirements will have better chances to move on to the interview phase.

Tailoring an application involves matching the job description's requirements with one's skills and experiences and showcasing them in the application. However, the results of the recruitment campaign conducted by our consultants suggest that pretty much, nobody takes this approach.

The use of the "Apply Now" button may be part of the problem, which has shown us how not to recruit talent. While this feature on LinkedIn can be helpful for job seekers, it may also promote a 'careless click-and-send' approach to job applications. This approach involves sending out applications to multiple job postings without considering the specific requirements of each job.

The results of the test conducted by our consultants demonstrate that many job seekers are taking this approach. The fact that less than 1% of applicants followed the instructions in the job advertisement indicates that many job seekers are not taking the time to read job postings thoroughly.

This trend could be due to the increased competition for jobs, which could be leading job seekers to submit applications quickly without spending enough time tailoring them to the job requirements. However, this approach is not a winning strategy for job seekers as it does not maximise their chances of being selected for an interview.

Furthermore, it is not a winning strategy for organisations neither, as it results in a higher volume of low-quality applications, making it harder to identify the best-fit candidates. Our consultants' experience suggests that this trend is not limited to LinkedIn and is prevalent across all job search platforms.

To address this issue, job seekers should take the time to tailor their applications, which will increase their chances of being selected for an interview. With the recent popularity of AI tools such as ChatGPT, it's becoming more easy to handle the process of tailoring applications, bringing a wealth of knowledge into the applicant's hands.

Organisations can also take steps to incentivise job seekers to tailor their applications. For example, they can include specific instructions in their job postings, similar to the test conducted by our consultants. Additionally, they can provide more detailed job descriptions, which clearly outline the job requirements. This is particularly important because more explicit job descriptions will attract better fitted applicants, it just makes sense.

"Our experiment indicates that job seekers often use a high-volume approach, failing to customise applications to specific job requirements."— Julio Gomez.

We are committed to assisting our clients in hiring the best fit candidates for their open positions, and this type of approach does not align with that goal. We will continue to find ways to incentivise candidates to read job advertisements and apply with a tailored approach.

We also encourage all job seekers to take the time to understand the requirements of the position and tailor their applications accordingly. This will not only increase the chances of being selected for an interview, but also ensure a better fit for both the candidate and the organisation.

In conclusion, the recruitment process via LinkedIn can be a highly effective tool for both job seekers and organisations. However, its success depends on job seekers taking a tailored approach to their applications. Job seekers who take the time to understand the job requirements and tailor their applications accordingly will be more likely to stand out from the competition and secure their desired job. Similarly, organisations that take steps to incentivise tailored applications will attract higher-quality candidates, improving the recruitment process's overall success.


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