Should You Hire a Candidate Without a LinkedIn Profile?

A little bit of Penna insight and thinking.


27 Feb 2017

Advertising, Social, Staff Recruitment, Talent, Hiring

Should You Hire A Candidate Without a LinkedIn Profile?

In 2017 it is very rare to find anyone who is not on multiple forms of social media, whether that be Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or the lesser-spotted Google+. Social messaging platforms that enable private conversations between a select group of friends like Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger- collectively dubbed dark social - are now being added to the mix.

It is estimated that by 2018 there will be 2.67 billion social media users worldwide, up from 1.91 billion in 2014. Of millennials, 75% have created at least one social media account, 50% of Generation X, 30% of baby boomers and even 6% of those aged 65 and over. So why do some professionals choose to only go to the dark side?

It’s a question that many people in our industry ask. For example, we find it incredulous that any professional would not even have a LinkedIn account – how can they survive without it?  If everyone did it would certainly simplify our social attraction campaigns!  So does it really matter?

If I have 400+ friends on Facebook and nine of them that I know of are not on LinkedIn that’s only 2%; although if I sent out a survey I expect it would be much higher. Go back to our parents’ generation and the captains of industry would have met for a round at a prestigious golf club to network and seal vital deals over a handshake at the 19th hole. So is LinkedIn the new golf club? Would you or should you disengage with someone who is an ideal candidate just because you can’t look them up with a quick LinkedIn search?

There is no single, simple answer, as there are multiple reasons why people may choose not to engage with social media. People who choose to not actively engage in social media do so for their own reasons. They may be in a senior position and feel it is not appropriate, they are not comfortable with the amount of personal information that can be shared, they are afraid of getting things wrong, or they simply just aren’t interested.  If you are targeting a younger audience, then this is especially true; there's increasing evidence that Gen Z (current teens) are much less comfortable sharing personal information widely, hence their preference for dark social platforms such as Snapchat.

So just because someone opts not to have a visible presence on social media platforms or only uses dark social does not mean that they are a bad person, have something to hide or are scared of the digital world. They have just made a personal choice. Our challenge is to understand this and ensure our campaigns also reach this minority through other means. With more and more people abandoning social media due to an onslaught of trolling, fake news and political punch-ups, this will become increasingly important.

Ruth Hancock
Digital Operations Manager