Searching for a job is stressful.
Searching for a job in the age of AI résumé reviewers, online assessments, and automatic “no” piles is excruciating. And we haven’t even scratched the surface of anxiety around the pandemic.
Technology has drastically changed the job search process, even in just the last five years, and job seekers now find themselves questioning how to adapt to a tech-driven recruiting environment. What makes adapting so hard? In large part, it’s because so much of what happens, happens behind closed doors. We know that AI is helping with hiring decisions, but what does that actually mean, and how does it change your job search?
1. Companies are building profiles on you
You probably know about software that can scan your résumé for keywords. But when recruiters are considering you for a job, they aren’t just looking at your résumé. They’re now relying on tools that build full profiles on job seekers just by scraping publicly available information such as social profiles, old blogs, awards, academic histories, old résumés on LinkedIn, etc. These tools allow employers to build a profile about you without ever meeting you, and that profile could be drastically different than the one you’re hoping to convey with your résumé. The kicker? Employers believe that those sources can be even more informative about who you are and what you do than an actual conversation.
2. Skill assessments are digging deeper
Traditional strength and personality assessments aren’t going anywhere, but they are becoming more sophisticated. To better understand whether or not a candidate is the right fit, employers are using assessments with more intelligent algorithms that can determine how you’ll perform in a specific job environment. Some address cultural fit, and some are built to measure technical skills.
3. Employers want you to show, not tell
Chances are, you’re familiar with the “scenario” type of questions in an interview that asks how you would react in certain situations. Pretty soon, you may have to show, not just describe, how you’ll handle on-the-job-scenarios. Companies that have substantial resources and that are hiring en masse are taking it a step further by using VR to build workplace scenarios. This technology is helping employers get a more concrete picture of how you’ll react to customers, the fast pace, technology requirements, etc.
The missing human connection
What place does human interaction have in recruiting? With AI screenings and other tech-based decision making, the human connection is becoming harder to establish, and companies are making judgments without ever having met the candidates.
This concern doesn’t stop after the hiring process is done. Companies everywhere are adapting to accommodate remote work, meaning technology is replacing face time in the office too. Slack, videoconferencing, and email help close the human connection gap, but employees must create new intentional habits when using these tools to support collaboration. Combine these changes with the rise of the gig economy—another game changer in the workplace—and workplace culture becomes even more fluid. With these new elements, employers, employees, and job seekers must actively work to establish a human connection.
Making it work
Job seekers shouldn’t lose hope. The recruitment technology advancements up to this point mostly benefit the employers, but there are ways that job seekers can make these changes work in their favor in 2020.
1. Proactively manage your online presence
Knowing that employers are looking beyond your résumé and building a profile of you based on your online activity, it’s up to you to control what material they can find. Beyond the obvious steps of cleaning up your social profiles, think in terms of creating more content that can actually support your overall image. For example, share your thoughts on industry trends with LinkedIn posts, start a blog, or create an online portfolio to showcase your past success.
2. Take advantage of the transparency that is available to you
Some new recruiting technologies may actually mean you spend more time putting together the perfect application. If you’re going to invest your time in applying and interviewing, it’s important to make sure that a company is a good fit for you. With so much information available such as employee reviews, company Instagram accounts, and best-workplace rankings, it’s easier than ever to learn about the organization’s culture.
The people that are most successful in finding the right job are proactive about thinking through how their preferences intersect with the environment, culture, and opportunities that a company offers. Take inventory of your wants and needs and do your research to find jobs that match.
3. Reinvent your idea of job seeking
Ready or not, this new tech-driven way of recruiting and hiring is here to stay, and we’re likely just seeing the beginning. It’s up to job seekers to figure out how to make this new ecosystem work for them. Companies might have more tools and resources at their disposal, but job seekers have options too. There are career-mapping and skill-building assessments to help you take control of your career path. Keep an eye out for other tools that will make the job-seeking process more productive and insightful.
Technology is driving change in the recruiting process. And although it seems to benefit companies first, job seekers should still be encouraged that companies are making more intelligent decisions about hiring.
If a job seeker is ready to take an active part in the hiring process, then they are likely to benefit from this new tech-driven environment just as much as the company.
Ron Mitchell is the CEO of Virgil.