How can we prepare for this world of continued uncertainty and change? – Teri
Yes, there is ongoing change, and hiring is no exception. As a job seeker, you need to continually adapt your job search to successfully get hired when hiring processes and trends change. Some changes happen slowly, almost imperceptibly. For example, previous generations reviewed job postings in newspapers, but then postings moved online. It still feels like the same process, which makes print-to-digital seem like a little change. You just need to look in different places and get yourself comfortable with the technology. Then your job search efforts should pay off, right?
Actually, no. Refocusing from print to online job postings helps if that’s the only change happening. However, today’s employer is not just posting differently, but also posting less. Business needs change too quickly for the traditional hiring process, and employers are already trying to do more with less staff (including less staff to post jobs and to review resumes coming in response to those jobs). There are other, more efficient and effective ways to fill jobs than by posting them. All of these changes make a job search focused on job postings less effective.
It is not enough to modernize old job search tactics. That’s just maintenance – like upgrading your car to the latest vehicle. But even the best car won’t help you travel to space. Space is a new destination that can’t be reached by car, and sometimes the market has shifted in a way that is not satisfied by old hiring. Don’t just incrementally improve on traditional hiring. Look at changes and trends emerging on the employer side, and refocus your job search strategy to meet these business needs.
1 – Instead of looking for job openings, identify pain points
Another reason for fewer job postings is fewer jobs overall. Instead of hiring a full-time employee to fill a job, an employer can hire a consultant (rise of the gig economy), or outsource the function to a third-party (IT outsourcing is on the rise) or automate the need (rise of the robots). As a job seeker, you are not just competing with other candidates, but also other solutions.
MORE FOR YOU
Therefore, don’t assume that what the employer needs will only be advertised via job openings. Instead, look for pain points that you can alleviate, whether there is a job posted about it or not. If you uncover a substantial pain point (or several) and make a compelling case that hiring you is the better solution over automating, outsourcing or contracting it out, then you win the business – i.e., get the job.
Some pain points will be advertised in job postings. In addition, tap your network to hear about needs before they are formalized (and before many people have a chance to learn about them). Stay updated on industry news and trends, so you can see if a company is expanding in a specific region and needs to hire there, or if a new way of doing business is emerging and needs people to support its adoption or if a customer segment is going untapped and needs someone like you to open that market.
2 — Instead of improving your resume, increase your social proof
Job postings aren’t the most efficient or effective way to identify candidates because technology makes us more directly connected to each other. An employer doesn’t have to wait for you to respond to a job posting. They can find you by researching profiles on LinkedIn or sending a mass email to all its employees with a nice referral incentive or searching the Internet for thought leaders in a specific area. If you’re that good, they can find you.
Sure, it helps to have an amazing resume because you still need to present it during the official interview process, and the act of drafting it is a nice review of your experience, accomplishments and skills. But an amazing resume is not enough (so just get it done quickly). Now that you know employers go on the offensive to proactively find candidates, increase your probability of being found.
Nurture your connections, especially former supervisors and colleagues, since they know your work and give a strong reference. Be responsive to unsolicited or opportunistic calls – if you hear of a lead that’s irrelevant to you, it will still likely be helpful or at least interesting to someone else, and you’ll be a hero to both the prospective employer and the unexpecting candidate by putting them together. Get involved with your industry and professional associations, so you stay in front of people active in your field, and you hear about those pain points (see point 1!).
3 — Instead of focusing on what to say during the interview process, focus on what to do
The employer is not filing a job, but rather resolving a pain point. The hiring process is less about choosing from available applicants and instead identifying ideal applicants (whether available or not). The interview process is similarly changing from a passive conversation to an active interaction. More companies are asking for a sample work product or using case-based interviews to test how a candidate thinks.
As a job seeker, knowing how to ace a job interview is, not just about saying the right things, but also doing the right things. Curate a portfolio of your work. If you’re changing careers, blog about your new area of interest so you have a published example of your expertise and insights. Don’t just tell the employer you can do something; show them with tangible examples.
Today’s job seeker needs to be more entrepreneurial
Curate a portfolio of past work. Get referrals. Identify pain points, where you can deliver the solution. Similar advice to building your own business should be applied to today’s job search.