Emerging Trends in Job Search for the New Year

We asked the experts for their predictions about what career management and job search trends will impact employees in 2016 and 2017. Here’s what they told us…

This is the first of a two-part series.

What the Great Ones Do

Ever notice how some people seen to anticipate what is about to happen, and they place themselves into the positions of greatest opportunity? Regardless of their walk in life, the Great Ones anticipate the future and position themselves to benefit from it.

“I don’t skate to where the puck is or was – I skate to where it will be.”
– Wayne Gretzky, known as The Great One, member Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999

The same is true when it comes to managing your career or conducting an effective job search. People who constantly scan the horizon to identify coming trends are able to see things before most people see them, and can position themselves in the places of greatest opportunity.

Emerging Trends in Job Search

Our panel of experts believe these nine will be the emerging trends in how people will conduct a job search in the near future:

1. It will be harder for job seekers to land interviews – Edythe Richards, Career Counselor in the Washington DC Metro Area. “There are two reasons for this. First, employers are utilizing a more cumbersome applicant screening processes. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) require more time to sift through all available information to source the best candidates, using more forms, questionnaires, etc. as part of the screening process. Second, employers are automating some jobs at the expense of employees. As a result, job seekers should invest ample time in self-assessment process, in order to understand how their skills and background best fit each targeted position. Then, effectively communicate their skills and experiences to employers.” A key outcome of this trend, Richards points out, is that résumés and applications must be more meticulously tailored to specific openings, in order to be selected for an interview.

2. A candidate’s job search experience will significantly influence his/her choice of employer. Millennials make up about a third of the workforce today, and that number is expected to exceed half the world’s workforce by 2025. According to Ultimate Software’s recently published Top Five Talent Acquisition Trends, Millennials value user experience and personalization more than previous generations, and expect the careers section of an employer’s website to be easy to use, work well on a mobile device, and be personalized for them. Thus, add candidate experience to the factors that will influence which employers attract the best talent.

3. If you want to break through in your job search, learn to pick up the phone and use it – Peter Levitt, President of Philadelphia-based executive recruiting firm Walker-Forest. Mary Francis (not her real name) was a senior ops exec in a southern state and had applied for a mid-six figure job. She never heard back from the employer. Sound familiar (the not hearing back part)? Levitt advised her to use the phone. “I can post a job on LinkedIn and get 30 applicants in 2 days. Like most recruiters I’ll call only the top five and perhaps one will be qualified. But if any applicant calls me, I will take the call. And I may have found the hidden gem when they call,” says Levitt. “Your application follow-up call is a sales call where you’ve got to capture the employer’s attention within 20 seconds or less. Plan your call as carefully as you plan a road trip; otherwise you are bound to get lost. Remember your name is not Shakespeare so don’t think you can just write your way into an interview.” Bottom line – too many people are losing the art of conversation and discussion because they don’t speak directly to the people they need to reach.

4. There may be more job openings than most people think – Bob McIntosh CPRW, MBTI, a Boston-based careers and job search author, blogger, and workshop leader at the Career Center of Lowell (MA). “There are more jobs available than job seekers think. Recruiters say they are discouraged with clients who are focused on the “purple squirrel,” while too many positions remain unfilled,” explains McIntosh. “One internal recruiter told me he has a list of jobs as long as a rap sheet, needing to be filled at his company. But the hiring managers are not pulling the trigger.” One reason for this, according to Edythe Richards, is that employers are afraid of making a bad hire. “The response from employers is a tougher screening process – more online assessments, forms, and more interviews – many requiring the job seeker to do extensive research and give presentations. From the job seeker’s point of view, this is extremely frustrating. All this work for a ‘maybe?’”

5. More technology will likely complicate the job search process and lengthen the search – Alfred Poor, Philadelphia-based careers seminar leader and America’s Success Mentor for Young Employees. “Because college students and recent graduates prefer digital communications over more direct contact (such as telephone or face to face), they are drawn to online job applications over more traditional methods. Applying online lowers all sorts of energy barriers. It takes less time to find an opportunity. It takes less time to apply. It takes less emotional investment because there is no direct human interaction. And there typically is no filtering, other than that provided by the applicant. As a result, if a job looks even remotely interesting or plausible, an applicant can just click to apply without really having to find out anything of substance about the position.” Poor explains how online application volume might also create hiring bottlenecks: “Individuals apply for many more jobs than they used to in the days of paper resumes and cover letters, or going into the HR offices to fill out an application. The percentage of totally unqualified candidates will continue to grow, which will require even broader use of machine screening of job applicants before a human ever sees their information.”

6. Referrals will continue to be a primary source of hiring talent – Martin Kral, Director of the Career Development Center at Western Illinois University. “I think we will see an increase in inside and outside referrals for open positions. Inside referrals are those employees who know someone they believe would be perfect for the position, so they inform HR or management. Outside referrals are people in HR’s or management’s network who know someone who would be a perfect fit for the employer.” According to LinkedIn’s 2015 US Recruiting Trends survey of 4,125 hiring decision makers across 14 industry sectors, referrals were the Number One or Number Two source of hires in three of the last four years. Kral adds, “You cannot be referred unless people know you and your talents. All the more reason why engaging a well-developed and active network is a best practice in conducting an effective job search.

7. Emotional intelligence will be more important than ever in getting hiredStephen Moulton, CEO of Denver-based Action Insight, Inc. “Employers are increasingly focused on how well candidates will fit their culture. People with more highly developed emotional intelligence (EI) have greater flexibility with people in order to more easily fit into an existing culture,” says Moulton, who specializes in helping employers improve their hiring and onboarding practices. Moulton says that employers will look for candidate who can demonstrate how they have successfully applied EI. But there’s another aspect of EI and job search that Moulton points out. “EI also plays a huge role in effective networking by helping people to develop the relationships they’ll need to call upon when they are seeking their next job. How can you expect someone in your network to introduce you to someone they know when little relationship-building between the two of you has taken place? Possessing the technical and social media skills to network is not enough. Effective networking in the future will rely more and more on EI and relationship-building.”

8. Job seekers who develop their likeability have a decided advantage over other equally qualified candidates – Mary F. Sweeney, Career Counselor for Boise State University. In selling, there’s a maxim about customers: people don’t buy from people they don’t like and don’t trust. The same is true in a job search – employers don’t hire people they don’t like and don’t trust. Sweeney explains: “Some candidates may not come across as being likeable during their interviews, and often that’s because they don’t adapt their approach in order to be more likeable in the eyes of interviewers. A candidate may think, ‘I don’t want to be someone that I’m not, so let me be me,’ expecting the interviewer to adapt to them.” OK, but if you’re a job seeker, don’t you want to be a better you in the employer’s eyes? “The foundation of a successful job search is understanding who you are and how the person across the interview table sees you. It’s not about how you see yourself. Once you understand how others see you, there needs to be a willingness to adapt in order to be more likeable,” suggests Sweeney. “Then it’s up to the job seeker to correctly assess what changes he or she must make to be more likeable to his or her interviewer.”

9. A better understanding of a job seeker’s individual value proposition will contribute significantly to a successful job search – Laura Poisson, President of Boston’s leadership coaching and development firm ClearRock, Inc. “In order to be effective, job seekers need to be able to communicate their value proposition in a concise and compelling way through a variety of mediums, such as on a resume, through LinkedIn, in short verbal snippets at professional functions, in networking gatherings, interviews, on video-resumes, etc. Clearly defining their value proposition – what they do well, how they’ve made an impact, they type of problems they are adept in solving – define their core skill set. Once defined, all the other steps of the job search to fall into place,” says Poisson. “Start by building a list of your proudest accomplishments and then analyzing them. First, what was the situation/problem, what actions did you take, what were the results of those actions and what skills and strengths did you demonstrate? After considering eight or ten accomplishments, patterns emerge and core personal strengths/professional skills are revealed.

It isn’t just in answering interview questions where the core skill set is applied. There are other places where clarity around core skills can drive the search, explains Poisson. For example, “if a job seeker wants to know which employers value his or her unique set of core skills, and what specific roles might be a good fit, use LinkedIn Advanced Search. Enter the core skills in the Keywords field, then press search. The search results reveal the profiles of individuals who possess the skills, the roles or functions they perform, and employers who value that particular skill set. The job seeker can now refine his or her search by developing a list of target employers and target job functions.”

For more articles like this one, please visit the Boyer Management Group blog. While you’re there, take a tour of our website to spot some emerging trends in job search and career management tools!

Boyer Management Group works with employers, organizations, and job seekers alike to help them become more successful. For job seekers, career coaches, and higher ed, we offer tools, assessments, books, and curricula to help connect people with careers. For employers, we offer world-class talent development, leadership and management training, acquisition and onboarding tools and programs to help employees and volunteers achieve consistent, optimal performance. To find out more, please email us info@boyermanagement.com, or call us at 215-942-0982.

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