In 2007, Facebook was still a nascent social media website for college-age kids that had only recently allowed high schoolers to join. The iPhone would be released in June, baseball’s Mitchell Report would incriminate boatloads of steroid-abusing superstars, and Shia LaBeouf’s Transformers exploded onto the scene.
Fast forward to 2018, and you’ve got the iPhone X, Bitcoin, and a reality star as President of the United States.
But that’s not all that’s changed: the way that HR professionals hire people has changed dramatically as well. The fundamentals haven’t changed of course – after all, you still have to have qualified people at every position – but the way in which these people are found is constantly evolving.
1. Social Media Allows Job Hunters to Isolate the Ideal Candidate
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have one thing in common: they connect people with others of similar interests. It makes sense then, that those looking for jobs would contact others of similar pursuits to ask their advice in their pursuit, as well as any hiring tips on possible opportunities.
But the bridge goes both ways. Not only are job seekers using social media to find jobs, but HR professionals are using social media to find the job seekers. In fact, a 2015 study by Adecco found that the more social media accounts one person has, the more likely they are to be contacted about potential jobs. In other words, the more you’re connected, the easier it is for people to find you.
Unfortunately, this method has backfired for a lot of potential employees while saving recruiters a lot of headaches in the process. A candidate with a glowing resume must now be conscious of the fact that with a few clicks, a recruiter can access all of their public pictures and connections online, for better or for worse. While this has cost more than one recruit an opportunity, it has helped many HR pros identify possible weaknesses in future candidates.
2. Job Boards Have Become More Sophisticated
The classifieds section in a local newspaper used to be the method of choice for cold-calling potential job opportunities, but that was replaced in the digital age with online advertisements. Still, even as recent as 2007-2008, users still had to wade through miles and miles of text-based websites to find that one perfect opportunity sitting amongst the ashes.
Not so anymore. Now, candidates have the option to filter nearly every single website down to their exact specifications, only putting the filters and qualifiers on that match their interests. A person wanting to look for writing positions, for example, doesn’t have to wade through a sea of construction jobs to find their opportunity, just click a link and narrow it down, and that list of 30,000 goes to a few dozen per page. On average, users look at 16 different job boards every time they search for a job.
By the same token, this has also allowed employers to spend their resources looking in the right places. While generalized websites like Indeed.com exist as a wide net for candidates, niche employers often choose to list on sites they know their perfect candidates are on, which increases their chances of finding them.
3. The Hunter Has Become Hunted
In 2007, employers held all the power when it came to the job search. They usually had their pick of hundreds or even thousands of applications from people all over the country angling for their dream job. Employers could siphon through, weed out the low-hanging fruit, and interview and hire whomever they wished.
Today, the tables have indeed turned. Now, employers are the ones casting a wide net in search of candidates. While this is partly because applicants are aware of and thus available for, more opportunities, but also because several regular positions can be freelanced out.
Writers, programmers, customer support, and other positions can now be paid by the task rather than on salary, which helps clear overhead for businesses, but it also means losing star talent to competing firms. If businesses want to compete, they’ve got to pursue candidates with the same energy that candidates used to pursue them
4. Employers are Better Able to Filter Out the Fluff
Have an amazing cover letter and an equally impressive resume to match? That might have been enough to get job seekers through the door a decade ago, but these days, they need to also have a low-level understanding of keyword research to get their name through the digital fortress that is the HR office.
In an effort to save money, companies are now utilizing search applications that scan documents and look for certain keywords to filter out applications from non-qualified users. This cuts down on the amount of time recruiters have to spend shuffling through mounds of applications, so it doesn’t matter how beautiful a letter reads anymore. One of the best hiring tips for standing out in the crowd? Make it as easy as possible for a machine to find you, but job seekers shouldn’t forget to keep some of their personality intact.