Are you a seasoned interviewee? Or sending out your very first job applications? Or maybe your interview skills are just a bit rusty as you try to re-enter the job market?
Whichever the case may be, there are several factors that have helped shape the hiring process in most companies that are actively recruiting right now that you need to take into consideration if you're searching for your next role:
First and foremost, the post-pandemic job market definitely looks a lot different. For most companies, a lot of adjustments needed to take place in their internal processes in order to keep their business functioning and growing. So, it's no surprise that adapting the hiring process to fit the emerging needs of a talent market in crisis also became crucial and for the most part, a lot of these adjustments have now become a permanent new way of doing things.
Secondly, the youngest generation of workers entered the job market right before or during the pandemic. The post-pandemic reality with return-to-the-office policies and face-to-face meetings being the norm is something that they have to learn and adapt to. This can have a huge impact on how employers looking to attract this particular candidate pool decide to structure their hiring process in order to best fit their specific needs.
In addition, the global job market has been on an ongoing rollercoaster ride for the past 3 years with inflation and recession featuring in most headlines almost on a monthly basis. As as result, workers have been left feeling insecure about their employment future and even frustrated for not being able to invest in their career as they'd see fit. This has a direct impact on job seekers' readiness for change as well as their requirements and expectations.
So, how exactly have these factors affected the hiring process in general? And what can you expect after successfully applying for a role?
Here's a handy list to help you understand the current hiring landscape and prepare you for your upcoming job interview:
Just your CV is no longer enough:
The current job market is a very competitive place. Companies of all sizes are either experiencing hypergrowth or establishing a stronger position in the market following internal changes. One thing they all have in common is that they want to hire the best talent out there that will support them in achieving their goals.
Hence why the importance of personal branding for job seekers has never been more significant.
Personal branding helps you stand out from the "pile of applications" but it also gives a voice to your expertise as a professional.
On top of that, your online presence is definitely something employers are looking into prior to hiring and strong personal branding provides your profile with more credibility. Take a proactive approach in building your online presence and let your brand do the rest.
The process will use a mix of communication methods:
For most companies, the common approach is to have the initial conversation with a candidate online (usually over video call) and should the outcome be positive, the hiring team will plan to meet in person for (at least) the final interview stages.
What that means for you as a candidate is you have to be prepared to "shine" online AND offline, regardless of your personal preference of meeting.
This may make interview prepping more challenging as there are some significant differences in online versus in-person communication.
Doing your research really makes a difference:
Companies spend a lot of resources on building their employer brand and, as previously mentioned, they face harsh competition for top talent.
Doing your due diligence when it comes to gathering information about the company and coming to the interview well prepared can make a huge difference to your interviewer as they will notice their employer branding efforts finally generating results.
Not only will your drive to work there help you stand out from other applicants but showcasing a real interest in their business and company culture will help you connect more easily with the hiring team.
The interview questions will be about what-you-know AND who-you-are:
Hiring is a huge investment for employers and getting it wrong can be a real drain on resources. That's why companies are putting more emphasis on culture fit than ever before.
This is also true for the majority of job seekers too: to ensure long-term job satisfaction and career growth, a strong alignment with the values, culture, vision and way of working of the company is crucial.
Therefore, it's no longer just about how good you are at your job but who you are as a person, how well you work with others and what unique personality characteristics you bring to the table. Unsurprisingly, you can expect more behavioral questions as well as sharing more personal information about things such as your interests, hobbies, books you like etc.
You win points by showing active interest:
One of the most prevalent goals of branding is to stay "top of mind". This principle happens to be true for job applicants as well.
Depending on the size and work style of a company, the hiring process may be candidate-driven and well-structured or it may lag a bit behind in those areas (for various reasons). If you are truly interested in a role, do not be afraid to show it.
Either by sending short thank you messages after an interview, reaching out for a quick follow-up on the progress or by directly asking for feedback and advice on your application - the more engaged you come across, the better the chances you will remain "top of mind" in the process.
Having said that, it's good to keep a balance and not overburden the hiring team with a barrage of emails. A hiring process can still take some time especially when multiple people are involved in the decision making.
In conclusion, the post-pandemic hiring landscape has evolved and adapting your approach to fit the current job market reality can help make or break your application strategy. However, it's also just as important to have your own expectations and requirements well clarified before you decide to invest so much of your time and energy into a hiring process.