Five Trends Job Hunters
Should Brush Up On
Should Brush Up On
By Andrew Seale
As the digital environment shapes and reshapes the job search sphere, prospective candidates will have to keep pace – whether it be digging around for a little behind the scenes info on a company or brushing up on your face-to-face interview skills. In an effort to hash out the new norm, we took a look at five trends affecting the job market in 2016 and beyond.
Job seekers will do more research
A recent poll by Glassdoor, a platform for employees to anonymously review companies and post salaries, found that more than 77 per cent of job hunters are reading reviews and ratings about a company or job they’re applying for.
“Companies that are not digital-friendly are losing out because there are candidates that no longer have a traditional computer or laptop, they do everything now by mobile device whether that’s a tablet or phone,” says Gena Griffin, with a global recruitment firm.
On the job hunter side, that digital dynamic also means there are more ways for someone looking for a job at a particular company to engage that business through social media and keep on the hiring manager’s radar.
“Companies have created capture tools – messages or alerts – that can let potential candidate know when a new role becomes available,” says Griffin.
Reputations matter more
“When it comes to social media, don’t kid yourself, the firms are checking and why wouldn’t they,” says Sharon Irwin-Foulon, executive director of career management and corporate recruiting at Ivey Business School at Western University.
She likens it to a judgment check. Recruiters and hiring managers are increasingly looking to elements like social media to get an idea of candidates.
“They ask ‘what has this person put out to the world,’ ” she says pointing out that it’s especially important in client-facing industries. “They just want to feel that the candidate understands they have a reputation to manage.”
But what if you don’t have a social media profile? That could raise a red flag says Griffin.
“You may be overlooked purely on the basis that one of their automatic processes may bypass you completely for not having something like a LinkedIn profile,” she says.
While 68 per cent of those polled by Glassdoor consider salary and compensation among their top considerations, perks and benefits weren’t far behind with 57 per cent putting them near the top of their list.
The past few years have seen businesses get creative with their workplace culture in an attempt to woo top talent. Netflix for instance, added unlimited employee maternity and paternity leave for the first year after a child’s birth or adoption and Airbnb now gives employees an annual $2,000 travel bonus.
But not all perks are well thought out.
“We haven’t seen a cookie-cutter approach,” says Griffin. “The companies that actually ask and listen to their employees about what the things are that matter most to them, those are the ones that get it right.”
For job hunters it’s worth poking around on company websites and platforms like Glassdoor to get an idea of what that internal culture is like. But if it sounds too good to be true, it might be.
“Companies are investing a lot more money owning their messages, there’s a real interest in employment branding with more time and money being put into it,” says Irwin-Foulon. “But they’re (also) doing a better job about saying ‘this is what’s fun about our company but this is what’s really tough about it.’ ”
Brush up on your on-screen looks but forget faking it ‘til you make it.
Perhaps the biggest change Griffin has seen to the interview process over the last year is the use of video.
“It’s a quickly emerging trend,” says the recruiter. “Many companies are now embracing and conducting preliminary interviews via video conferencing.”
Part of that has to do with the convenience factor but it also lets employers and candidates alike get more of an understanding of the type of person they’re working with.
But it’s not replacing the in-person part. In fact, Irwin-Foulon has noticed businesses are investing more money and time on face-to-face.
“In recruiting, we give exposure points, so the more exposure you get to someone the more they let their guard down,” she says. “It’s not likability, in the 90s that was a big thing, being likeable, now it’s that, in time, people’s authentic self show – (it’s especially important) for long-term hires.”
Out with the old.
“Cover letters may have seen their day,” says Griffin. Not outright, she explains, but in their current form of being affixed to the front page or sent as an attachment in an email.
“The only (real) place for a cover letter if you’re approaching a company cold,” she says. “It explains why you’re interested in that company but anything beyond that becomes superfluous.”
Irwin agrees in a sense, saying the emphasis is no longer just on having a stellar resume and well-written cover letter that shows you can communicate without using emojis and LOLs.
“Your resume and cover letter needs to speak to your credo, your truths, whatever your message is about your reputation but all your behaviors are being held up against that or with that,” she says.
And finally, says Griffin, businesses have changed their attitudes about how long you stick with a company to match the ebb and flow nature of the current workforce.
“Five or six years ago, if somebody didn’t have a company on their resume where they had been for four or five years that maybe was a bit of a yellow flag,” she says. “Now we’re seeing a tolerance for a two year window – that’s the new definition of being committed to something and I think that’s where we’re at.”