A Guide for HR Managers: Why Job Searching Isn’t What it Used to Be

Recently, an article on open hiring went viral. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s where companies hire on a first-come, first-serve basis. There’s no resumes, background checks or even interviews – you literally put your name down on a waitlist, and when your number comes up, the opportunity is yours. ‘It’s a way of zeroing in on a candidate’s future potential, as opposed to focusing too much on their history,’ Says Mike Brady, the CEO of Greyston Bakery, who has pioneered the approach since the early 1980s and have seen great results. 

Greyston Bakery’s approach might be innovative, but it certainly doesn’t resemble the way most companies hire these days. Recruitment has become increasingly tech-centric (if not entirely tech-driven), with the average candidate needing to apply through a bevvy of job boards, keep up to date with LinkedIn and other social media, and pass through multiple digital assessments and checks. With the recruitment tech market now worth a staggering $2.5 billion, it’s fair to say that hiring certainly isn’t what it used to be. 

But while, as HR Managers or Career Transition professionals, we might be used to using this type of tech every day, it certainly doesn’t mean our people will be. And this is particularly concerning given the current economic environment: businesses might, for the first time ever, be put in a situation where they simply can’t redeploy some of their longest-serving staff. Staff that have been with the business for a decade or even decades. Staff for whom this technology seems baffling and slightly terrifying. 

So if you’re an HR Manager with redundancies on the horizon, here is an insight into exactly what’s changed (and how fast), and how you might be able to support your longest serving staff in catching up and making the most of their transition. Given the difficult job market at the moment due to Covid 19, it is more important than ever to be helping your people understand this new world of job search.

The golden old days

While job boards might seem like second nature these days, the reality is that they haven’t been around that long. Seek, Australia’s most well-known job board, was founded 21 years ago, but wasn’t used prolifically until about 2005, making it relatively new to those who have been with the same company for a while. 

Before Seek, and largely, before the internet, job searching was a very manual task indeed. You’d see a vacancy advertising in the newspaper, and you’d post (or later, fax) in your resume and hope for the best; often not hearing back for weeks or even months. Alternatively, you’d get a job through family or networking (it was common for fathers to secure roles for their sons). Around 80 to 85% of all jobs were found through either family, friends or community networks. 

The first wave of change: Job boards and LinkedIn

In the mid 2000s, everything started to change from a job search perspective. Suddenly, instead of looking to the newspapers for jobs, we started looking online: in 2004, job search giant Indeed was founded. By that time, our local alternative, Seek, had already attracted hundreds of thousands of users. A few years later, we got more giants of the online job search space: Glassdoor was founded in 2007, Adzuna in 2011 and Jora in 2012. 

Yet no company really turned job searching on its head like LinkedIn. Founded in 2002 and reaching 10 million users by 2007, LinkedIn created a whole new ecosystem for people to showcase their professional talents and network with potential employers. And within just a decade, LinkedIn’s effect on the job market is huge: there are currently 14 million open jobs advertised on the network (many exclusively so), 90% of all recruiters use it, and a staggering 35.5 million people are hired through the platform every year. 

Despite its popularity, a lot of people, especially those who might have been at one company for a while, have long viewed LinkedIn as unnecessary, or simply as a tool to look for a new job (which they haven’t needed). Ensuring that your exiting staff understand the importance of LinkedIn, and are set up to use it, is an essential part of helping them with their transition. 

The second wave of change: More complex hiring tools

How you search for a role isn’t the only thing that’s changed when it comes to job hunting. What happens after is also drastically different to what it used to be. 

Back in the days when you’d post in a resume, the next step, if you were lucky, would be that you’d be invited to an in-person interview. But now? Not so much. 

Many jobs now require candidates to progress through multiple digital recruitment stages before they’re invited to meet someone. These can include anything from video interviews or pitches to online tests. The technology that has enabled this is relatively new – video interview platforms such as SparkHire were founded just 8 years ago – so anyone who has been with a company for a decade or longer would be unfamiliar with the technology. 

During the past few months, due to COVID 19 restrictions the use of video interviewing, on tools such as zoom and Microsoft teams has increased dramatically, leaving many job seekers feeling anxious about how present their best on video and be competent with all the new tools and platforms.  As well, jobs requiring a group assessment centre process have also had to move online, so not only are candidates interviewing via a video they are also having to participate in an ongoing group assessment which can be even more daunting for first-timers and those who haven’t been looking for work in years. 

And while a lot has changed from a candidate perspective, just as much has changed for recruiters; a fact that can be baffling to those who haven’t looked for work in a while. Gone are the days of ‘piles’ of resumes, with recruiters sifting through them and selecting their shortlist. Now, most companies have complex applicant tracking systems ( ATS)and online talent communities they nurture over time such as LiveHire  The ATS receive and sort applications, and can even rank their suitability for the role according to answers they provided and certain keywords. Candidates are now entirely managed through these systems, and often don’t understand how to structure their resume in a way that will help them make the most of the systems.

As such, helping your people understand how applicant tracking systems work, what to expect, and how to structure their resume will help them get started on their journey to finding new employment. 

The third wave of change: Advanced talent pipelining

For those who’ve been in their roles for a while, it can be hard to understand the myriad of technologies that now overlay the process. But what can be more baffling to understand is that looking for a job is no longer simply a matter of ‘looking,’ – jobs find you. But how does this actually work?

According to research compiled by the Harvard Business Review, the majority of people who found a new job recently weren’t looking for one. With the plethora of digital information now available on potential candidates, many companies are filling their pipelines with ‘passive candidates’ – those who aren’t looking to move right now but might be open to an opportunity in the future. In order to fill this pipeline and help with planning, many businesses advertise roles they don’t currently have, in the hope they’ll attract the right people who might prove useful in the future. 

To make this process even more confusing, this talent pipelining work is often done overseas, typically in Asia or India. Talent scouts overseas (whom are used by up to 40% of companies), search LinkedIn and other social media sites to find candidates, and then contact them directly to see if they’re interested in roles. For hard-to-fill roles like coders, the search can be even more complex: sometimes, scouts scan websites for programmers’ digital footprint, use user-tracking measures to identify who they are, and then contact them accordingly.. 

Supporting your people to find jobs that would otherwise come to them can be a challenge. However, one of the best ways to do so is to ensure, at the very least, they show recruiters on LinkedIn that they’re available and looking for opportunities and have a great profile to showcase their transferable skills and strengths. 

The future – data and AI 

If the ‘now’ of job searching seems confusing, the future could be even more daunting – but at the same time, exciting. 

With advances in data analytics and AI, job searching could soon be less about a resume, and more about what data is available to assess your performance and your potential. 

Forbes posits that in the near future: 

‘Job descriptions and resumes will no longer matter. Target candidate profiles will be created by analyzing massive amounts of data, and machine learning will parse through this data to understand what experiences, traits and career paths will allow for the highest odds of success in the role.’ 

The odds of success will then be compared against your own data, collected through games and assessments. You’d then be profiled as a match – or not – for the role. 

The world of data and AI-led job matching may not be upon us yet. But as an HR Manager, it’s helpful to let your transitioning job seekers know the importance of data and prepare them for the fact that assessments and games may form part of recruitment processes. 

How to help your longest-serving staff keep up with the pace of change 

The good old days of job searching may be a thing of the past, and that can be a little intimidating for those entering the job market for the first time in a while. But with proper support and education, your long-serving staff can re-enter the job market feeling confident that they’ve got what it takes to find, apply for and land a new role. 

Career Money Life is offering a program of daily webinars on all these topics with industry experts as well we have created a Job Search and Job Management tool specifically designed for transitioning employees who might be looking for a role for the first time in a while, Career Money Life’s tool combines expert guidance and resources with a job-search notification and tracking system so your people can understand and navigate the current job search environment. 

Along with the job search tool, employees are able to access 450 + different suppliers and thousands of different services to help them best navigate their career transition. 

Career Money Life’s portal is currently available to organisations for free and we have very cost-effective webinar coaching packages available. Get in touch to learn more about how you can support your people through the transition in the most personal and beneficial way.

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