The job market has changed a lot in recent years, and consequently, so has the hiring process.
According to CareerBuilder, both job seekers and hiring managers need to adapt to new norms and standards when trying to find a good employment fit.
"Job seekers may have more of an edge in today's market as employers grow increasingly competitive for labor — but need to follow new rules of engagement," Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder, said in a statement. "For employers, it's important to remember that the candidate experience starts from the very first click and can impact how effectively a company is able to recruit quality candidates, the popularity of its employer brand, the strength and quality of its referrals, and even its bottom line." [See Related Story: Please Hold: Hiring Process Gets Longer and Longer]
Here are the top facts job seekers should know when looking for work:
- It's not a quick process. Job seekers must understand that finding a job will likely take longer than they expect. According to CareerBuilder's research, from the moment a job search begins to the point of accepting an offer typically takes about two months. However, depending on the field and location, it can take even longer. The key is to keep a positive attitude if you aren't hired quickly.
- Put in the effort. On average, job seekers spend 11 hours a week searching for work. If you are spending less time than that, you are giving your competition a leg up.
- If you don't get an offer from an employer the first time around, it doesn't mean you never will. More than half of employers give past candidates who weren't hired the first time around a second look when hiring again. For job seekers, this means that it is important to stay connected by joining an employer's talent network or signing up for automatic alerts to notify you when that company has new job openings.
- Employers want more than a resume. CareerBuilder's research revealed that 53 percent of employers think a resume doesn't provide enough information to decide if a candidate is a good fit. Job seekers should also include a professional cover letter, a portfolio when applicable, recommendations and links to social media profiles. If you are giving them only your resume, you likely won't get a second look.
- Highlight soft skills. More than 60 percent of employers said finding out a candidate's soft skills is their top task when making a new hire. During the hiring process, be sure to highlight your less tangible skills, such as having a positive attitude, being dependable and working well under pressure.
- Don't get too attached to a particular field. With more than one-third of employees not working in a career related to their college degree, it is important to keep an open mind about the types of jobs you are looking for. More and more employers are focusing on the relevant skills candidates have and how trainable they seem. This gives job seekers more options than they might have originally envisioned.
- Don't take the first offer. With competition for top talent heating up, employers are willing to pay employees more than in recent years. This year, two-thirds of businesses plan to offer higher starting salaries. This puts job seekers in a better position to negotiate.
CareerBuilder also had some tips for how employers can improve their hiring processes:
- Make the application process simple. With so many employers currently hiring, many job candidates won't even fill out an application if it seems too cumbersome. Three-quarters of job applicants want to know how long it will take them to finish an application before they start it, and 20 percent are not willing to complete it if it takes them longer than 20 minutes. Research does show, however, that the higher the starting salary is, the more job seekers are willing to endure a lengthy application.
- Speed up the process. Having a slow-moving hiring process is hurting your chances of finding the best candidates. Two-thirds of jobs seekers wait less than two weeks to hear back from an employer before giving up on the opportunity and focusing their attention elsewhere.
- Beef up your online presence. The majority of candidates spend time researching potential employers after seeing a job posting. Nearly 40 percent of job seekers will disregard the job posting if they can't find enough information about the employer online. It's important that businesses have a detailed and professional website, as well as a strong social media presence.
- Post detailed job listings. A simple job description isn't enough to pique the interest of most job seekers. Details on salary and benefits, work-from-home options, photos or videos of the work environment, contact information for the hiring manager, the number of people who have applied, and information about the team structure and hierarchy of the role are other things candidates want to see in a job posting.
- Be mobile-friendly. If you are trying to attract millennials, it is critical that you spend some time ensuring they can get details on the job and apply from their smartphones and tablets. Research found that 10 percent of millennials drop a company out of consideration if they can't apply to a job via their mobile device.
- Spread job postings around. Because consumer audiences are very fragmented, it's important to make sure you are on the radar of everyone who may be a good fit. Job seekers use up to 16 sources when looking for work. You need to make sure you have a presence everywhere they are looking.
- Go through the process yourself. The only way to really know what the candidate experience is like is to test it out yourself. Put yourself in the shoes of a job seeker and try applying for a job to see how quickly it moves and where improvements can be made.
The research was based on surveys of more than 4,505 workers age 18 and over, and 1,505 hiring decision makers in the United States and Canada.