Hiring networks have always relied on connections to find qualified candidates or promising job openings, so it makes sense that one of the greatest human connection tools ever invented–the internet–profoundly changed how hiring works. Applicants and hirers have more access to information than ever before, and there are many different tools and networks available for the inquisitive jobseeker. Here are three of them:
Social Media is increasingly becoming essential in the job-hunting world. In a 2015 survey, 92% of recruiters reported using social media as part of their hiring process. While screening via a social media account is standard at this point, companies may also use social media to share job postings. Companies use social media for digital networking, eschewing the anonymity of a general job board posting for the social networks of their employees and clients.
There is no central search repository for, say, jobs posted via Facebook, so job searchers who aren’t in the hirers’ immediate network often miss promising posts (and hirers miss promising candidates). If you are responding to a social media job post or hoping to find one, it’s more important than ever to make sure your profiles work-friendly and showing you at your best. While small companies might rely on social media posts, large firms or any group hiring a high-level position might eschew them because they appear too informal.
Job boards: love them or hate them, they’re a massive part of most people’s job search. Some boards, such as LinkUp.com, only post jobs that come directly from company websites, while job search engines such as Indeed.com cull millions of jobs from a wide range of sources. There are also specialized boards to help seekers find jobs within their specialty quickly, such as Idealist (which hosts job postings for nonprofits) or job boards run by professional associations.
Job boards’ greatest strength is also their greatest weakness: their accessibility. Anyone in the world can find a posting on a general job site such as Indeed, so hirers risk a time-wasting deluge of resumes. Many companies use screening questions to discard unqualified candidates automatically, but these screens can inadvertently hide promising candidates. Postings on more specialized job boards comes with the risk of an application deluge; however, they require both employers and job seekers to be in-the-know of where those job boards are (if they even exist for the given industry or position), which requires valuable connections. Both fake job postings and fake applications are also significant problems on many online job boards.
A few startups are using blockchain–the same technology underlying the cryptocurrency Bitcoin–to combat the fake posting and fake application problem on job boards. Blockchain-based CVs and other hiring records are permanent and immutable, which makes them far more trustworthy than easily faked non-blockchain submissions. Platforms such as BHIRED are using blockchain not just to store reliable records, but to incentivize quality applicant and recruiter behavior, such as verifying information in a CV.
Recruiters aren’t a strictly online job search venue–you’re still working with a real human being, not just a search algorithm–but like most other industries, recruiting is now highly digital. Many recruiters intake new jobseekers through only resume submissions, and as mentioned above, recruiters will undoubtedly scrutinize your social media presence to find candidates or vet their credentials.
Working with a recruiter can help you stand out in a crowded job market, signaling to hirers that you’ve been pre-vetted and the recruiter thinks you could be a good match for the position. Some firms only hire for some positions through recruiters, avoiding public posts altogether. Recruiters only get paid if they fill positions, so they’re strongly incentivized to put people in jobs. Of course, that payment comes from the employer, not the job seeker, so the recruiter is far more likely to prioritize their clients’ interests over yours. Recruiters are limited to the jobs available in their client networks.
A new strain of recruiter is emerging in particularly tech-savvy hiring circles–the AI assistant. A 2017 survey found that about 33% of responding companies already used AI at some point in their hiring process. An AI program taught via machine learning to recognize good matches between one set of data–a resume, and another–a posting– can help companies screen candidates, acting as a sort of “digital recruiter” as soon as an applicant sends in a resume. A recent CNBC article reported on HireVue–an AI program that video-interviews job candidates while analyzing both the content of their answers and more subtle markers such as their word choice and facial expressions. And Mya–an AI that so convincingly replicates the experience of chatting with a recruiter online that 73% of candidates believed they had spoken with a human being.
Are any of these the “best” way to find a job online? The answer depends on the applicant’s specific skill set and situation. Someone who needs to get hired as soon as possible may want to avoid a social media-heavy search, while someone having a hard time standing out on online job boards might benefit from contacting a recruiter. But new technological developments such as the blockchain job board show how online job search tools could gradually grow to meet more needs more effectively.