By Annette Baron, PA, MBA, President, Eagle Research
As we move out of the recession that has held us hostage for so long, recruiters, companies, and job seekers are all seeking ways to leverage technology to strengthen their position by taking their tasks to a more comprehensive level.
There is a need to look at the situation with different eyes. Currently, and for the next year or two, jobs lag behind the economic upturn. Legacy companies, to whom we’ve looked as a mainstay of American culture, are struggling. Seemingly solid career paths have been disrupted with people taking breaks in employment and backward steps in responsibilities, title and remuneration. The usual metrics of successful careers has been overshadowed by the “back story” of companies’ lack of funding and work. As a result, recruiters and potential employers can no longer look at length of employment, promotions or salary advancement as the roadmap for a successful career. Recognizing that this broken career path is no fault of the job seeker, recruiters and employers need to find a way around these former benchmarks by finding new predictors of career success.
In this new age of recruiting, job seekers must be truthful on their resumes about listing lateral or reverse moves, gaps in employment, notes about past employers going out of business, entry level titles/positions in any new industries, part-time and contract employment and unpaid internships. Specific to the latter, unpaid internships are one of the best ways for otherwise overqualified job seekers to pick up new skills and strategies.
With the plethora of information available on the Internet, it should be no surprise that the recruiters and employers are harnessing technology to vet candidates. Questions that are being asked in these circles include, “How can we utilize technology to increase available candidate data during the interviewing cycle? How can we automate the tracking system and process? Do video interviews, either on demand or canned add to or detract from the interviewing process? How can we sequence this information to define interviewing in the technological age?”
These questions are complex and will require some time to sort out, but the bottom line is and will continue to be finding, hiring, and retaining employees who deliver a high return on investment. The trends that support this mission will succeed and the trends that don’t will disappear.
Mindful of the bottom line, staffing companies need to add services and technology that support best practices. In the new age, they should seek to combine behavioral interviewing and traditional criteria with a new understanding of the “back story.” Recruiters need to help client companies to recognize that there is more to finding the best candidate than “key words.” Being ethical and motivated, and having the soft skills necessary to communicate effectively is paramount. Having a history of building and creating—not simply joining—as well as overcoming professional and personal issues of the economy, family, and things outside of work factor into predicting a candidate’s future success. Personal attributes are becoming more critical to the interviewing process.
The newest trend in hiring points to assessments. In the recent past, hard and soft skill assessments have dominated. More recently, performance assessments have come into vogue, with job matching—often called benchmarking—making a significant appearance. The future of assessment tools is now where all four (hard skills, soft skills, performance, and benchmarking) intersect to form a fifth-generation assessment tool. In this fifth-generation view, scores from a 360-degree view are overlaid to benchmark where the best leverage is in terms of professional and personal attributes.
The use of technology can both help and hinder the recruiting process. For example, as recruiters move toward video interviewing, either live or pre-recorded, they inadvertently factor in the job seekers’ ability to manipulate a camera and set up a visually pleasing background. LinkedIn, now a staple of social networking, requires careful thought and monitoring in order not to become over exposed, causing dilution of worth in the working community.
A professional recruiter is a job seeker’s conduit to more than just a potential employer. A true professional recruiter is also a trusted advisor for career planning, methods, assessments, social networking, and branding under the new rules of engagement.