These last couple of weeks I’ve been actively helping a lot of candidates figure out their job search strategy and the changes they need to make to the way they go about their job search.
Overall I’ve found it an eye-opening experience!
When I think about the ways recruiting has been transformed in the last years, it’s true to say that a lot of changes have happened “behind the scenes”. That’s to say that if you’re a recruiter – or interact with a lot of recruiters – then you’ll be aware of these changes. But if you’re a candidate without close recruiter contacts, the chances are you’ll not have fully appreciated changes such as:
The growth of the “hidden jobs market” – far, far more hiring is now being undertaken by internal recruitment teams researching and approaching the candidates they would like to hire for their openings, without those openings ever being publicly advertised. So as a candidate, you need to be investing the time to ensure your social profiles are keyword rich and optimised to be found by recruiters in your professional niche.
The increasing importance of employee referral programs – the combination of the reach of social networks and the power of candidate matching technologies has greatly increased the impact of employers’ referral programs. Where once these were employers’ preferred source of candidate but only able to deliver a trickle of applicants, today they have become a far more significant source of hires. As well as ensuring your social profiles are optimised, you also have to expand your networks as much as possible so that you increasingly appear as a potential match for new openings. You have to be well connected to stand any chance of being picked up by an employee referral scheme.
Hiring has become far more targeted and your application strategy should reflect this. Back in the boom hiring years, companies were often hiring waves of employees at a time. There was a degree to which companies would create jobs to fit the profile of a strong candidate – or at least would keep your details on file and shortly thereafter be in a position to need someone with your broad skillset. Today hiring is completely different.
Companies are looking to fill very specific openings – and are therefore seeking a very specific skillset and experience profile. For jobseekers, this means it’s imperative that you invest more time in tracking down roles for which you are an ideal fit; and invest more time in crafting tailored applications that present you in the best possible light for each opening. Applying en masse to jobs is simply no longer a credible job search strategy for anyone aspiring to any kind of professional or executive position.
Your social profiles can make or break your application – you have to assume that any recruiter looking at your CV / Resume is going to simultaneously have your LinkedIn profile open. Discrepancies between the two are going to be noticed. Recommendations or errors on your profile could be every bit as influential to the recruiter as the actual application you submitted. Plus you have to assume that all other social activity could come into play in their decision – so vet yourself and your web presence proactively before you submit a single application.
Back to Candidate blogs
I could go on – and indeed I think I will in a detailed video tutorial in the coming months. From all these interactions in the last weeks, I’ve become convinced that the biggest problem here isn’t that job seekers are in denial. There’s no sign that candidates are just behaving as if nothing’s changed in the last years and refusing to adapt. No, it’s rather the case that most candidates don’t have the insider insights to know what it is that has changed – and therefore to be able to think coherently about how their job search needs to be adapted. I hope the above thoughts have at least given you some inklings as to where your focus should now be. Would an insider briefing be beneficial to you? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.