By Nancy Collamer, Next Avenue
With the job market heating up — a historically high 9.3 million job openings in the U.S. in April — what should you know about getting hired if you’re looking for work? Will virtual interviews continue? Is remote work here to stay? Are diversity and inclusion efforts just a fleeting fad? I have answers.
My information and advice come from what I heard at the recent Indeed Interactive conference, a virtual event from the employment website that featured economists, employers and recruiters discussing hiring trends.
Here are four of the key trends, along with tips on how to capitalize on them to power-up your job search:
Trend No. 1: The hiring process is increasingly automated and virtual. From interviews to onboarding, the pandemic proved that much of the hiring process can be conducted virtually, and there’s no turning back.
“Some level of virtual hiring processes will be here to stay for most organizations,” said Maggie Hulce, senior vice president at Indeed.com.
During the pandemic, recruiters also expanded their use of hiring tools that help them to automate the process of sourcing, screening and scheduling interviews with qualified candidates.
Still, you can expect some in-person recruiting initiatives, like job fairs, to resume once it’s safe to do so. Peter Sursi, former head of talent acquisition at the FBI, said: “People want to go to live events, so there’s no chance we won’t go back to in-person events. But since we now have a greater comfort level attending virtual events, I expect we’ll see a hybrid model going forward.”
My Tip: As the hiring process becomes more automated, it’s more important than ever to use referrals to network your way into jobs. That’s especially true if you’re an older worker with an eclectic resumé that might get tossed by the screening filters.
And take advantage of new tools that make it easier for recruiters to find you online. For example, Indeed now has the “ready to work” feature letting you signal recruiters that you’re available to work (like the “open to work” badge on LinkedIn.com). It appears to make a real difference: Indeed said 70% of recruiter outreach this past year through its site has been to people who marked themselves as ready to work.
Trend No. 2: Interest in remote work remains strong among many workers and employers. “The share of job postings that make some mention of remote work on Indeed.com has nearly tripled since before the pandemic,” said Pabwel Adrjan, head of Emea Research at Indeed Hiring Lab.
While it’s still too early to know how many jobs will remain all or partially virtual (and, of course, not all types of jobs can be virtual), the trend indicates that remote work will be “somewhat prevalent” once we get past Covid-19, the conference experts noted.
“Flexibility has always been important to job seekers, and whatever flexibility employers can add to their roles will help make them more competitive,” said Daniel Culbertson, an Indeed economist.
My Tip: When searching online for jobs that are fully or partly remote, use filters like “virtual” or “telecommute” to identify opportunities. You can avoid work-from-home scams and improve your odds of finding the best remote jobs by taking advantage of this free FlexJobs webinar, “How to Find and Land a Remote Job,” or by reading helpful books like Great Pajama Jobs by my Next Avenue colleague Kerry Hannon.
Trend No. 3: Diversity and inclusion have moved to the hiring and employment forefront. For years, employers have talked about diversity and inclusion, but the results rarely lived up to the rhetoric. In the aftermath of the George Floyd murder and the subsequent public outcry, however, employers are finally taking this issue seriously.
“It feels different this time,” emphasized Lance LaVergne, chief diversity officer and senior vice president at PVH Corp, a fashion and lifestyle company. “The demands and expectations from consumers, employees and other stakeholders have changed the game, such that companies are much more public and visible in their commitment to diversity. It’s no longer just a feel-good, right thing to do kind of effort.”
My Tip: Looking for an employer that truly values racial, gender or sexual orientation diversity? In February, Glassdoor.com (a sister company of Indeed) launched a feature that displays company ratings, CEO ratings and workplace-factor ratings by race/ethnicity, gender identity, parental or caregiver status, disability, sexual orientation and veteran status. In addition, salaries are broken out by gender identity and race/ethnicity.
For example, you can see how Hispanic employees at a company rate their company’s culture, how LGBTQ+ employees rate senior leadership or what the average salary is for those who identify as female, male or non-binary in a particular role.
Trend No. 4. It’s still not easy for older job seekers. While I was delighted to hear about the current added emphasis on gender, race/ethnicity and sexual orientation diversity initiatives, I was disheartened that age was rarely mentioned as an important part of the mix.
In fact, things may be getting worse for older workers.
During the one session that addressed ageism, “Recruiting for All,” Heather Tinsley-Fix, a senior advisor with AARP, emphasized that many older workers continue to feel marginalized by recruiters.
“In 2018, we surveyed workers forty-five-plus and found that sixty-one percent said they had experienced or seen ageism in the workplace. That percentage jumped to seventy eight percent in 2020,” noted Tinsley-Fix.
As the website for SHRM, the nation’s leading human resources trade group, says: “although many organizations have developed training initiatives for a culturally diverse workforce, few have grappled with age as a diversity dimension.”
Said Tinsley-Fix: “There are some professions, like health care, that do value experience, but overall, it’s not great, and something we need to pay attention to.”
My Tip: To combat ageism, follow the advice of Tinsley-Fix and highlight your aptitude and appetite for learning when applying for work.
For example, if you earned an online certification or mastered a new tech skill during the pandemic, putting those achievements on your resumé and LinkedIn profile demonstrates your commitment to being a lifelong learner.
And to really wow employers during interviews, use what’s known as the SOAR framework (Situation, Obstacle, Action, Result) to clearly demonstrate that you have proven soft skills — like sense-making and critical problem solving — which make you a compelling job candidate.
“The more parts of our jobs become automated, the more you need to stress those critical human skills.” said Tinsley-Fix.