Like many of you, I have been watching all the Apollo 11 Moon Landing documentaries and remembering the history and promise of the space race. Let’s take a little walk down memory lane and see just how much things have changed and how that impacts our bottom line. Remember grabbing a newspaper and going to the want ads? There you would find very neatly organized ads from all the companies with open positions. You picked one that sounded good, cut out the ad and sat down at your typewriter and wrote a cover letter. A quick copy of your resume on to some nice heavy bond paper and the whole package was stuffed into a neat envelop ready for the mail. Then you waited and maybe heard back, maybe not. The aggressive candidates got creative and looked for a contact person or maybe a phone number to make some cold calls to HR who were the formal gate keepers to the organization.
Art of Getting Hired
How much has that really changed over the past 30 years? Today there are job aggregators, online postings, career fairs and what seems like more headhunters than candidates. Everything is automated today. My car recognizes that when I leave work, I typically drive home. Automation software now offers to text my ETA to my family, starts my audio book on the car radio, changes the temperature of the house, opens the garage door and even announces my arrival.
On the job search side, you now click on “apply now,” submit a pdf of your resume and LinkedIn profile and then wait while the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) uses its AI algorithms to develop a slate. The creative and aggressive candidates can find out many details about a target company, read annual reports, talk to hiring managers directly, and present themselves as candidates.
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For candidates and hiring managers all this technology has left them with the same problem: how do we find the right people to solve a business need and how do we find the right role? Now more than ever, it is critical to make sure we are interacting with candidates on a personal basis, do real phone screens and ask critical questions, spend the time getting to know who the person is behind the online persona and figure out what your team will look like if you add them to it.
3 solid tips to navigating the current job market:
- Customize your material to the actual job posting
Today’s electronic world allows for and demands more customization than ever before. Make sure you understand what the job requirements are, the company’s culture and what things you can do to add value within that frame work. This needs to be about more than what you are good at. You need to adapt your resume, cover letter and approach to show what value you will create.
- Network, Network, Network
Remember that not every sales call is a sales call. Make the effort to keep in touch with people, offer help and be a connector. Modern social media gives us more opportunity than ever before to keep relationships alive and strong. Don’t be afraid to pick up a phone and offer to help someone, connect two people who can maybe help each other out and always look to find people in your network who will give you an unbiased view of yourself.
- Break old patterns
This rule applies today to not only talent acquisition and its world of candidates and job openings but all of life. Take things that you know how to do manually, find digital solutions that replace, emphasis and improve them. There is really no end to where you can take this tip.
All these tips plus my strategy to managing a future job search will be the subject of future posts.
I would love to hear how you have adapted and what your recruiting process looks like today. Leave a comment and thanks for the discussions.