Technology has radically changed our day-to-day life over the last few decades. Job seekers have new tools and new challenges as they navigate the job market.
Video interviewing, interview scheduling software, and the internet have helped organize the process of hiring new candidates. This has saved precious time and money for hiring managers. Here are some of the more subtle ways the job search has changed over time:
You can find openings much easier - if you know where to look
Before social media and the internet, hiring managers and recruiters would have to hope that qualified candidates would see a sign in a window or glance at the right page of a newspaper.
There was a small pool of local people to choose from, and often managers found themselves interviewing the same few individuals for every new opening - or worse, settling for a less-than-qualified candidate because the position needed filling soon and no other options had presented themselves.
The internet has truly revolutionized recruiting. Now companies can list openings on job sites like JobSparx, take out city-wide ads in magazines with consistently updated information, and link potential candidates directly to their website to begin the application process from home.
That doesn't mean it is all good news. In some ways the crowded field of options for applying may be overwhelming, and on sites like Indeed there are scammers and dead positions to look out for lurking among the real jobs. It also means that as a job seeker you are competing with other qualified candidates from a larger area.
Improvements to video calls have made long-distance interviews and training possible, which has opened up the option to companies of hiring people without ever having met them in person! This is great news for companies, and for job seekers who are looking to relocate and want a stable job before they make the trip, or for college grads who have a week left of finals but want to get down to applying in their hometown. But on the flip-side it does mean competing for your a job down the street from you with someone from another state.
The quality of the video has improved a lot and is much cheaper than it used to me. Gone are the days of frozen, or fuzzy video, and most candidates are likely to have a laptop with a decent webcam lying around.
It is so much easier to schedule interviews
Before email and cell phones, scheduling an interview was a laborious game of back and forth calls and frustration. Need to move that interview back an hour? Hope they pick up the landline or hear your voice message in time! Now the hiring manager need only tap out a quick email on there phone or computer and the job seeker can reply whenever they receive it with a response.
Interview scheduling software can even automate emails and replies, allowing for a better organized workday for the hiring managers, and less hassle for the job seeker. This enables them to shift their attention to preparing for the interview and making the best hiring choice possible for the business.
Candidates now need to be a good culture fit
Before social media made it easier, there wasn't a good way to tell if a candidate would suit the culture of the company. Candidates would apply for and accept positions based entirely on the pay, benefits, and commute. Likewise managers would hire based on resume bullet points like the college attended and years' experience in the field. Personality of the candidate and culture of the company was only ever considered if there were serious objections.
Of course those looking for career advancement care about salary, benefits, and time off. They want to ensure they’ll be compensated fairly for their time and treated well, should they accept an offer.
However, job seekers have also taken a deep interest in what that company is like as a whole. What are the current employees like? What values matter most to upper management? How are problems solved? Is it a collaborative office or is individual problem solving valued? Do they allow team members to work from home? How is work delegated?
These questions are all worth considering, in addition to the basics about pay and time off.
From a hiring manager's perspective, the candidate needs education and experience, but if they are going to upset senior employees and ruin team projects it isn't worth the expertise. With the time saved by technology in other areas, managers have time to more fully train employees with a little less in the way of skills, but who fit with the company culture better. Skills can be taught, a good attitude just can't be.
In this economy - candidates are in charge
Hiring managers are stretched thin now trying to fill positions when employment is at record lows. Sometimes there just isn't a qualified candidate in the pool of unemployed applicants, so recruiters have to get creative. These days the hardest to fill positions are more about finding already employed candidates and bribing them away from their current positions.
This is why allowing them to do a video interview when it’s conducive to their schedule has become a popular option.
Instead of forcing a candidate to take time off from work or make up an excuse about why they’re stepping out of the office for two hours, they’re able to record an interview from the comfort of their own home at a time that works for them. This shows that the hiring manager respects their time and sends a subtle signal about what it would be like to work for that company.
Recruiters and managers have also started focusing on hiring quickly once they know who they want. In years past you might wait a month between your first and second interview, and if you didn't make the cut you might never be contacted at all! This put the job seeker in a constant cycle of waiting and frustration. In the current job market hiring managers have to move quick to snag talent before another company does.
Employer branding is a big part of the interview now.
With every major company displaying their company history and information on what they do online, it is easy for job seekers to find out as much as they want before the interview. This means hiring managers expect candidates to have at least a cursory knowledge of what they will be responsible for and what the company does.
Back in the day, it was understandable not to know that a company named ABC Plastics was a real estate company named for the owner Abner Plastics, but if you walked into an interview today and proudly explained that you have 50 years of experience in plastic manufacturing and sales they would know you hadn't done any research and show you the door.
Networking is invaluable.
Thanks to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter your social circle is all connected and visible to others. This can be ruinous if you have embarrassing photos from last year's Christmas party or angry rants on various political topics out where anyone can see them. But it also can be an advantage when looking for a job. Knowing things is useful to your job search, but knowing PEOPLE is better.
Most positions are filled without ever being advertised. Usually someone who already works for the company who knows it is vacant (or soon will be) makes a recommendation. No one wants to work extra hours because there is a missing member of the team, so if they happen to know that their cousin's girlfriend is looking for a job and has the skills they will go out of their way to make sure someone they know and like gets the position.
Recruiters use LinkedIn and other sites to search through their connections for leads when they hear of an opening. Updating your profile with optimized keywords and skills listed can bring a job offer right into your messages.
Employers want workers who can use the newly emerging tech.
Ever had to help your parent use a basic feature on their new smartphone? Imagine doing that every day while training or working with a new employee. Hiring managers are aware that they need to be hiring people who can keep up with new software and hardware as the job description grows and changes. Showing how technologically capable you are during the interview process can be the difference between getting hired or not.
Algorithms are increasingly choosing who gets an interview.
You may be interviewing with a human, but rest assured a computer program was a big part of your making it that far. From the google search results that are constantly catered to your search history, to the programs that big companies use to search for keywords through the thousands of resumes they get every day.
Data is the future, and getting a high score from the program that evaluates you can make or break your career so learn to know what they are looking for. Cater your resume and cover letter to match keywords from the job listing, and make sure everything is spelled right and formatted.
Technological advancements have allowed the talent acquisition process to become much more streamlined and pleasant for both hiring managers and job seekers alike.
An increase in available data has also enabled it to become a more accurate process as a whole. Video interviewing and scheduling software enable hiring managers to save both time and money, and social media has become a powerful networking and branding tool for professionals from all industries.
With such drastic advancements in a relatively short amount of time, it’s exciting to think about how far the process will move forward in the next decade or two.
Interested in using these new technologies in your job search? Start by visiting JobSparx.com to see open positions in your field and apply for them directly. JobSparx doesn't send your resume to anyone without your permission, and all the jobs on our website and in this magazine are carefully screened to ensure no scams or fake positions are posted.