POST WRITTEN BY John M. O’Connor
John M. O’Connor (Career Pro Inc.) is a multi-year career coach, outplacement and career services leader based in North Carolina.
Let’s do an unofficial history lesson on recruiting, résumés and replying to jobs. In the old days of applying for jobs twenty-plus years ago, we would work on résumé content. As a résumé writer, I would sit down with my clients for hours at times and interview them, listening for content that I could add to their brand new paper résumé. Yes, I said paper résumé. If I wanted to be pretty high-tech, I would call them. Back then, most phone calls lasted at least an hour. Additionally, I would ask for paper copies of evaluations, written recommendation letters and more. One of our big innovations was to fax résumés to employers for clients; the clever use of the fax machine helped people get interviews for a time. Wow. I know. That is ancient history.
Years ago, the contact information on a résumé had your home address, phone number and name at the top of the paper document. Fast forward to today and conversations with prospective talent can occur anywhere and everywhere. And the trends for résumés have changed, because now on most résumés, you have different information. Today your résumé usually does not have your address and maybe shows the city you live in, your cell phone number, your email and your LinkedIn URL.
New interview trends are already here, too, but if the labor markets continue to tighten — and even if they don’t — watch for social media to become more like professional media when it comes to hiring. You might not believe what is coming down the pike, and it really will push the hiring process beyond what seems to be the norm. Instead of doubling down on background checks and other traditional forms of candidate evaluations and candidate interview processes, companies now are going with or at least considering easing the process to bring in new talent, mostly younger, and making the interview process more accomodating.
The latest trend? Starting an interview conversation through texting. It is simple, straightforward and does not require a password and login to a social media channel.
Interviews follow such a traditional format and have so for years. Create a posting. Put it out on media, including LinkedIn, your company’s website, Indeed, Zip Recruiter and various other channels. Wait for people to apply to your applicant tracking system (ATS), then vet those résumés and find qualified people to start the screening process. Send an email. Schedule phone screens. Do phone screens. Blah.
What has changed? What has been made more efficient from twenty-plus years ago? Not much. In fact, the more the applicant tracking systems have invaded the interview process, the more complicated it has become for companies and prospects alike.
With all the complications with applicant tracking systems and with the millennial and Z generations not wanting to play the game as it has been played, here are some of the forms of interviewing that are being used and certainly being considered more seriously as we look into 2020:
• Facebook Live
• LinkedIn InMail
• Skype and live streaming via FaceTime and others
• Text messaging
In my coaching work, I suggest to clients of all ages to be ready to explain their value proposition, their brand promise and their advantages at any time and on any platform that a recruiter or hiring manager wants to use to engage with them. For example, in the last two years, my company has helped clients record interviews and load those on video platforms, assisted them in creating initial dialogues using LinkedIn and helped them engage with employer content in creative ways through Instagram and Facebook.
In essence, we help our clients take a closer look at social media as “professional media” and treat it that way. This is something I highly suggest that we all do. All the companies and all who are behind these platforms represent billions in revenue for those associated. For all of our individual brands, we should primarily view each as a potential engagement place for career advancement. In other words, the days of using social media as social without regard to business should be over for most professionals.
Even if hiring slows, initial inquiries for talent engagement and hiring the best will be put to the test and be filtered through so-called social media. Perhaps the simplest way to connect most immediately with people is through their phones. With the advent of FaceTime and texting-type capabilities increasing, the ability to share content and the opportunity to immediately connect will help organizations engage instantly with talent.
Who should this matter to as we move into 2020? Let’s simplify it into three groups.
1. Older Generations In The Workforce. To improve your ability to compete with all generations as an older-than-average worker, you need to be well-versed in these tools and easy to communicate with right now. You should be willing to present live and take and respond to texts quickly and articulately. You also need to be flexible enough to record content and engage with and create dialogue on nearly all social media platforms.
2. Younger Generations In The Workforce. For the younger-than-average worker and potential job applicant, you need to use your social media skills for professional ends and less for personal ends. As you figure out how to connect with companies, organizations and nonprofits through the various channels, watch what you post, be more on brand with your messaging and be professionally goal-oriented. Find creative ways to engage and create interest with target organizations.
3. Companies And Organizations That Recruit. Stop thinking about your precious but complicated applicant tracking systems and start thinking about tapping the talent pool that is highly engaged on various social media platforms. Find real people — real talent acquisition professionals — who want to creatively engage the next generation of workers who will make a difference for you. Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
John M. O’Connor is a multi-year career coach, outplacement and career services leader based in North Carolina.