Today’s job market is drastically different than it was 10 years ago, including a significantly altered interview process. Younger generations of job seekers have come to accept no acknowledgment to emails or resume submissions, as well as extended interview cycles (up to a month or more) in the hiring process. However, candidates who haven’t been in the job market for some time may be mystified by the experience and puzzled by the lack of human element, especially as more and more companies move to an Artificial Intelligence (AI) hiring structure based on data.
It begs the question – how can Recruiters at staffing firms help potential job seekers, particularly candidates who have not been in the job market for a decade, navigate the change? Here are 8 Trends to bring you up-to-date on how finding employment has changed since you were last in the job market.
- It’s No Longer One Resume Fits All
Candidates have learned to create resumes that fit different roles – that’s because key words are often how recruiters or sourcing tools will find you. A resume for an IT Specialist might have a Help Desk focus while the same candidate might have another resume more Desktop oriented when looking for a role requiring more in person support. Think of your resume like a pair of shoes – you have different shoes to wear to different places, so too will different versions of your resume take you to different opportunities.
- Your Digital Footprint Lives On (and on) On the Internet
If you spend time online, it’s likely employers will find you. Make sure your profiles on social media have privacy protection and don’t include photos, posts or memes you wouldn’t want an employer to see. This includes all posts which never really expire – such as college photos or verbal rants. Watch your use of hashtags or anything you say in a conversation that may not be private. Google yourself and see what comes up – a prospective employer is likely to do the same. Digital dirt derails a job seeker’s success and he or she never really knows that was why they were passed over.
- Get Ready for Your Close Up
Interviews are no longer always face-to-face, especially when distance or relocation is involved. Companies will conduct video interviews as a first screening level so you should have a device or desktop that can accommodate interviewing over the web. Phone interviews have also become a standard pre-requisite to the in-person interview. Get your tech gear in order and apps up-to-date before you start submitting resumes so you don’t have to scramble should you get a reply to your application.
- Newspapers are Out, Job Boards are In
Employers have abandoned the traditional newspaper classifieds and now work hard toward having an employer brand. They cultivate people who want to work at their companies by giving you an inside glimpse of their offices and day-to-day work life. You’ll find openings on company sites and LinkedIn as well as mainstream job boards like CareerBuilder, Monster, Glassdoor etc. and also on specialized boards like Dice or Coroflot. There are also specialized job boards such as Idealist targeted at working in nonprofit, or job boards for specialized populations like Veterans such as GIJobs. Create alerts on job boards using the keywords most appropriate to your skills so that you can see when new posts go online.
- Keywords are King
Job seekers will find job opportunities through the use of keywords and those keywords should definitely appear on a candidate’s resume. Since very often a robot or applicant tracking system (ATS) sees a resume before human eyes, the appearance of the right keywords for a particular position is crucial to getting an interview. Think carefully about what words convey what you do and want to do.
- Culture Trumps Skills
Make no mistake – skills still matter, but cultural DNA has become a powerful deciding factor in hiring. It’s about knowing if a candidate will fit in to the company culture by his her or work ethic, style of work, interpersonal skills and overall personality match. As job seekers consider new employment opportunities they should be equally concerned that when accepting a job offer, the company culture feels like a good fit. This can be explored through a company’s social media on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Gauge the organization’s own personality while they are considering yours.
- Broaden your Social Circle
A job candidate’s networking now goes beyond people you (really) know. It includes people you know and have never met, people who know people you know and people you want to know. The best way to find those people is through LinkedIn. Every job seeker should have a carefully crafted LinkedIn profile with a great headshot, good summary, content that includes a current resume that can be opened and viewed and recommendations/testimonials from people who have supervised them, worked with them and/or worked for them. It’s not your resume, but it is a comprehensive supplement that can provide a bigger picture of who you are and your capabilities. It’s all about casting a wider net for opportunities that can best be done by increasing your LinkedIn connections and going outside your comfort zone. Perhaps even more important, a candidate often has greater accessibility to senior leadership either through a Twitter feed or LinkedIn commentary. Use social tools to gain proximity to hiring authorities, but don’t abuse the perceived connection.
- Know Before You Go
This last one is all about doing your due diligence before the interview. There is often a “ton” of information about an employer, their people and press coverage all via the internet. You’ll see what the company says about itself and you’ll also see what others say about them in reviews and by using hashtags. As a job seeker, you can’t afford to arrive to an interview unprepared – you should always be able to answer the question, “Tell me what you know about our organization.” Finally – don’t be discouraged or disappointed if you don’t get replies to your applications. Companies are still working at improving their candidate experience and candidate engagement interactions. However, if you are working with a Recruiter like myself, be sure you have access to him or her before and after the interview. Use the Recruiter’s insight and guidance to put your best foot forward. You want that relationship to be a partnership. Yes, a Recruiter works for a client company, but she or he absolutely works for YOU – you are their special commodity in this world of Talent and knowing you, placing you and helping you at each stage of your career should be like having a GPS when you’re lost on a highway. So, if it’s been awhile since you were on that road to a new job, I hope you get to your next career destination without too many wrong turns – I wish you much success.