Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

3 Useful Lessons Job Interviewers Can Learn from Zuckerberg’s Congress Testimony When Next Interviewing Millennials

By: Ben Jardine

This week we witnessed how a fundamental lack of knowledge of the basics of social media operations can make Senators and Congressmen in the USA appear to be stuck in the mud when trying their hardest to grill Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.  

On what should have been a well-researched and rare opportunity for law makers to highlight the fragility that exists for members of Facebook, what we witnessed instead was a circus of ill-informed and absurd questions aimed at Zuckerberg. Today we will look at 3 lessons we can learn following this week’s Facebook Congress testimony charade when next you next interview millennials.


The unfortunate encounter between Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Zuckerberg illustrated how a lack of understating of how Facebook generates revenue can boomerang back at you:

Hatch: “So, how do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, we run ads.”

Hatch: “I see…that’s great.”

We are all perfectly aware of the usual areas recruitment personnel and job interviewers tend to research when prospecting potential new recruits. When it comes to recruiting new employees, most of us tend to go to LinkedIn which is a good place to start. But what next? Have you ever considered researching your potential new employee’s company? Read on to see what other type of areas you should be looking for:

  • What services does the candidate previous three companies offer?
  • Is the latest company they are working for/have worked for making significant net profits per year?
  • Do their previous companies have any major clients?
  • Are some of these clients direct competitors to your business?
  • Will some of these clients be vital assets to your business?
  • Can you find any contributions/materials posted online that your interviewee has made?


When watching the Facebook Congress testimony this week, one couldn’t help but notice how the law makers got it wrong throughout when using a tone of voice that came across as bullish and abrasive. Yes, it was a hearing after all regarding the public’s personal data being shared with third party companies. But, importantly, millennials, like multi-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg can pick up on this very quickly which may make them less likely to disclose vital information. When you next interview a candidate, always consider your tone of voice, the old school mentality of good cop, bad cop, in an interview situation is so dated it really doesn’t achieve much. Consider getting to know your potential new employee better, that way you are likelier to see if they are a good fit for the role you are advertising. The ‘small talk’ in the beginning is good to do, but the shift to ‘serious interview questioning talk’ is also very off putting for some. Make sure you make them feel relaxed throughout your interaction with them, so that it doesn’t feel like an interview but a chat instead. You never know, conversation might flow which will make them feel at ease with you and they might even tell you how they’ve made a few wins on the other day, or that their favourite show on TV is  Keeping Up with the Kardashians (try not to judge them) or that they love to bake on the weekend. All of this will make them feel safe and happy to be around you and ultimately your company.


Whether we realise it or not, all of us want to feel that we a contribution to someone’s day. Can we make them feel we can learn from them? Is it necessary to do so in a job interview? Are we really meant to show the candidate that we lack some knowledge? Are they going to want to work for us? YES, YES, YES and YES! You should always make sure you leave them with a positive impression of the business which you represent as the job interviewer. And here are a few reasons why:

  • A suitable candidate is likely to have to choose from a pool of companies, and they will want to know that they can contribute in some way to your company.
  • Even if it’s an unsuitable candidate for your business, they will still be able to speak to others about their interview experience with your company. You just don’t know if the ‘others’ are: potential new clients you’ve been chasing for the past year and/or potential new candidates that would have contributed immensely to the growth of your business.

This week’s Facebook Congress testimony taught us a lot of lessons about the fragility that comes with owning a Facebook account, and importantly about the valuable connections you should aim to achieve with anyone that walks through the doors to your company. Research, Respect and Learn from your candidates to grow your business further.