Many people are noticing a huge skills gap in the U.S right now. Basically, we have a lot of jobs available, but not the right kind of people to fill those jobs. And hiring is harder than ever.
As a result, employers and recruiters are getting more and more creative with how they find employees. Knowing these recruiting techniques can help you land your next job. Here are 7 of the most common ways employers and recruiters find candidates now.
1. Pay attention to social media
Social media is still a popular tool for recruiting, partly because it makes it easier for employers to get in front of passive candidates – that is, candidates who aren’t looking for a job. It almost goes without saying that you’ll want to make sure your social profiles are clean. If you think something you’ve posted could raise a future employer’s eyebrow, just delete it.
Beyond that, start monitoring industry related hashtags on Twitter. For example, if you’re looking for a job in electrical engineering, you’ll want to setup a search for #electricalengineering or just #engineering, with #jobs, #careers, #hiring and other recruiting related tags.
Also, search for recruiting related social media accounts for companies you’re interested in working for. Many companies, especially larger ones, have created accounts just for this purpose, where they post job openings, hold Q&A sessions about jobs, and share other relevant information.
2. Participate in online communities
For many careers, there are online communities related to the job. Employers may often post jobs on these, or keep an eye on them to find candidates. An easy way to find them is a quick Google search like this: intitle:forum [job title]. For example, if you’re looking for online communities related to electrical engineering, you’d do this search: intitle:forum electrical engineer.
This is a great way to network with potential employers and future colleagues, keep up with trends and find out about job openings before they get to job boards. Also, I recently noticed that Automattic, the company behind WordPress and other web products, mentions in their job description for “Happiness Engineers” that the ideal candidate is probably already helping out on their forums. This shows that employers see value in this kind of social contribution.
3. Participate in real life communities
This one is probably healthy for those of us that work remotely and spend lots of time in front of a screen. There are some great real life associations and communities out there. If there’s one in particular that relates to your work, you should consider joining it. You’ll make connections, and perhaps end up meeting recruiters who are out hoping to discover a gem. You can make finding a group like this really easy by going to Meetup.com. They’ve got groups related to just about any profession or hobby you can imagine, especially if you’re near a large city.
4. Get on the shortlist
Lots of time, things don’t work out when you apply for a job. Maybe it was a really tough choice, and it was just chance that you didn’t get the position. Or perhaps they just wanted to see a tiny bit more experience before hiring you.
Regardless, good recruiters are trying to build lists of the great candidates they’ve passed on, so that next time a similar position opens, they have candidates ready to go. If you want to be on that list, be cordial when they decline you as a candidate. Then, make it easy for them to keep you on their list by sending them occasional updates about where you’re at in your career.
5. Rock your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn continues to be a powerful tool for recruiting. But one thing to think about these days is that there are a lot of people on the network. Recruiters looking for a hire are probably spending very little time skimming your profile. Consider that the average recruiter spends just 6 seconds on your resume. You should assume they spend even less on LinkedIn. So, keep your profile as concise as possible. Use numbers to prove your point – don’t just say you grew sales, tell us that you grew them by $500,000 annually.
Finally, be sure that your LinkedIn profile and your resume square up. If there are positions on your profile that aren’t on your resume, or dates that don’t match up, you’ll want to fix the inconsistency, or be prepared to explain the difference in an interview.
Want more? Here are 18 steps to nailing your Linkedin profile.
6. Referrals still rule
Referrals are an extremely popular way companies use to find employees. What does this mean for you? Well, you’ll definitely want to spend some time on tips 2 and 3 to help grow your network. Beyond that, it’s good to keep in mind no matter where you’re at in your career. The people you work alongside today may be the ones helping you get a great job tomorrow. A lot of smart recruiters and employers will ask their best hires who their favorite people where to work with in the past, and keep these people on their shortlist.
7. Freelance your way in
Freelancing has become a more and more popular way for employers to fill jobs. It gives them several advantages, one of which is the ability to try someone out for a job, see how well things go, and then consider them for regular employment.
If you’re on the lookout for freelance opportunities you can do virtually, you might try signing up with Upwork or Toptal. For local opportunities, have a look at Craigslist. Ok, good luck with the job hunt. It’s a great time to be looking. With the right skills and a little strategy, now could be the time to land your dream job.
About the author: Paul Peters is content marketer and job ad writer with Betterteam. Before that he spent 6 years building an education startup, where he was was involved with many aspects of the business, including hiring and marketing. He lives in Whitefish, Montana.