The Next Sector Prime for Disruption: Jobs

It’s one of the better times within the past decade to be in the job market. Job openings hit a record high at the beginning of 2018, yet, finding the right fit for hirers and finding the right job for searchers remains difficult. It’s a frustrating situation for hirers and applicants alike, but it’s also one ripe for disruption. Here are some of the significant challenges that are holding recruitment back, and how the right disruptions can, and in many cases, is, changing how hiring works.

Changing Work Patterns

Work patterns are different from what they looked like 20 or 30 years ago. Job switches are far more frequent: one study found that people born in between 1960 and 1980 averaged two job changes by the time they were 32, meanwhile, younger generations averaged three or four. Freelance and contract work are more popular than ever, particularly among younger workers. 36% of Americans freelance, and at the current growth rate, freelancers will become the majority of the U.S. workforce by 2027.

For those hiring, the fact that workers expect to switch jobs more frequently means more time will be spent recruiting. Old-fashioned, slow recruiting methods can drain employers’ time and resources, alienate quality applicants, and create delays that result in other companies hiring the best candidates first. Recruitment is ready for a technological disruption that helps hirers and candidates find the right fit, faster.

Global Talent Shortage

For hirers, competition for the best candidates is fiercer than ever. A global talent shortage means that top-tier applicants have a range of opportunities to choose from. The global talent shortage makes finding the right fit particularly high-stakes for companies, and finding quality candidates if the first hire doesn’t work out is an additional resource drain. In a recent global survey of CEOs, failure to attract and retain talent was respondents’ top concerns in the U.S., Asia, and Latin America, and the second top concern in Europe.

Hirers need agile recruiting processes that help them snap up scarce talent before other companies beat them to it. But they also need better tools for measuring when a candidate is a good fit. Resumes and cover letters are still relevant, but companies are increasingly turning to personality tests, references and referrals, and other “fit” measures to find the right hire.

Out-of-Date Technology

Many hirers invest in applicant tracking systems (ATS) to track candidates. These systems are essential for companies who must process hundreds or thousands of job applications, but they’re still riddled with problems. Human beings at hiring companies don’t read about 75% of resumes sent in through ATS programs. That 75 % is screened out automatically when the ATS checks for keywords and other attributes. While this screening certainly weeds out many unqualified resumes, it can reject applicants who use the wrong synonyms for the program’s keywords or, use a serif font like Times New Roman, or even submit PDFs rather than Word documents. Some companies try to fill in information gaps by asking for more information through online forms, but these forms can be so time-intensive to fill out that those companies risk driving away promising candidates.

ATS technology was a necessary tool for dealing with the rise of digital job applications and the accompanying deluges of resumes, but hirers and applicants alike are looking for a system that is better at catching genuinely promising candidates.

Low-Value Social Networks

The job search process changed forever when postings and applications went online. Suddenly, hirers could reach a global candidate pool, and applicants could learn about opportunities and send in resumes with a few clicks of the mouse. Online job search and application networks such as Indeed or LinkedIn are valuable because they lower barriers to a connection for both applicants and hirers, but that dramatically increase in accessibility has proven to be a double-edged sword. A company posting to a general job board pays a significant amount for that privilege, but will likely receive a deluge of resumes in which qualified candidates risk getting lost.

Online job application platforms, like other online social networks, are only as valuable as the content their contributors share. Platforms like Monster remain low-value because there’s no strong incentive to contribute productively, resulting in high volumes of low-value content such as scam job posts and sub-optimal resume submissions. Some career coaches now advise eschewing online job boards altogether, claiming that they drain time with little reward.

Online job boards can still be a powerful recruiting tool–but only when they’re launched in a digital environment that incentivizes productive contributions. Some newer hiring platforms are using next-generation technology to incentivize value creation. BHIRED, a new blockchain-based recruiting startup, uses blockchain tokens to reward applicants for behavior such as sharing and verifying their credentials or receiving interest from employers.

Searching for the right job or the right candidate will most-likely always be challenging, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be significantly better than it is now; as work patterns and technology continue to evolve, look for even more disruption in the world of recruiting.

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