Raise your hand if it’s been a while since you’ve looked for a new job. Even if it’s only been a few years, much about the process has changed.
If you’re on the fence about a new position know that now is a great time to search. With the unemployment rate at historic lows, 3.3% both nationally and in Lancaster, and more jobs than seekers, it’s a searcher’s market.
Many in today’s labor market didn’t experience the difficult time people had finding a job during the recession. At the peak, July 2009, there were seven unemployed persons per job opening. To say competition was fierce is an understatement. Today that number is 0.8. The number of openings has exceeded the number of unemployed people for 20 consecutive months, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. In October 2019, 7.3 million job openings existed.
While the talent pool is smaller, and it’s easier to stand out, you still need to know where and how to look as recruitment has evolved.
Monster’s Media Alliance/Relationship Manager Andrea Flanders says that previously the majority of job seekers would go to a destination site from a desktop or laptop to locate job availability or industry information. Today 90% are passive seekers, destination sites are not in as much use, and digital technology advances have aided the migration from desktops to mobile.
“People are on the sites that interest them, whether news, social media, sports or another site and expect relevant information to be supplied to them,” Flanders says.
Retargeting helps recruiters and employers stay top of mind with passive candidates by serving company and brand information messaging through other sites. Geofencing is another way companies reach potential candidates. Virtual geographic boundaries are used to deliver targeted messaging when a mobile device is within the perimeter.
Most job seekers, active or passive, are viewing positions while at work from a mobile device which ensures privacy. Flanders says the most active times are Monday to Wednesday between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. with peaks between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Another change involves transparency. “Even five years ago employers and employees had little insight into each other as companies needed only to promote opportunities,” Flanders says. “Nobody cared what the company was if the job was right.”
Today, who a company is and what they represent has taken on greater significance to candidates who view the company as important as the position, if not more so. Companies posting blind offerings can see up to a 90% candidate drop-off. Job seekers want to know about a company’s culture, environment and application process.
Previously an employer’s view of a potential hiree was limited to their resume and an interview. Social media has changed that by providing more information from which an employer can make a better decision about a candidate’s fit. Whether searching out social media profiles is acceptable is not the issue — it isn’t — but it happens. Job seekers need to be aware that whatever they post can be, and most likely will be, accessed and assessed.
Prior to beginning any search, seekers should scrub their profiles of any questionable material, make sure their privacy settings are airtight, and be very mindful about any future postings.
Workers of all ages are digitally savvy, and mobile apps have risen in prominence. One reason is that 65% of people don’t have email configured on their phones, according to a Monster study. This huge shift means it’s much harder to reach people quickly by email who may only check their account sporadically. Much preferable is contact through text.
For today’s seekers Flanders offers the following advice. “Sign up with multiple job boards and sites, but research the privacy of those job boards. Be aware that many sell your information resulting in an overload of spam and emails.”
Using job site and job board mobile apps and signing up for text and/or email notifications provides time advantages and opportunities to learn about new positions quickly.
And don’t forget about the newspaper, which offers valuable local and regional information and opportunities. If interested in working for a smaller, local company rather than a large multi-national conglomerate, newspapers can be key in these searches.
Research is paramount. Review potential companies for matches and fit on an employment reputation and review website such as Glass Door, or online. A quick checklist of topics would include location, work-life balance, company information, reputation, values, advancement opportunities and social media.
And when ready to apply often the process is easier through a job board, sometimes needing nothing more than a swipe on a mobile device.
What’s next in hiring? Video. In two to three years, candidates will upload a video, in essence recording their elevator pitch. Seekers should get used to telling their story, what they stand for, and are looking for, not just listing their qualifications.
Job searchers hold the advantage today and can afford to be selective, but preparation is still vital. Use every digital technology at your disposal to help you research, search, be found and apply.