People often ask me for insider scoop on what to expect in the coming year when it comes to the job market. While of course the future isn’t entirely predictable, I’ve been noticing some trends that may help you out.
Expect a wildly unpredictable hiring timeline (and process).
At the beginning of the process, you might apply for a job and the employer sets up an interview within days. You might be asked to complete some sort of online assessment or pass a skills test. Or it could be months before you hear back, and they’re letting you know that they’re just now starting to review applicants. They may schedule a video interview. And then, even if they assure you they’re ready to hire quickly, weeks may go by between the phone screen and the first interview with the hiring manager. Or you might be asked to come back for a couple of panel interviews and to have coffee with a team member. And once you’ve made it through a few interviews, don’t be surprised if the offer isn’t extended immediately. You won’t feel very in control of the process—that’s the only guarantee.
Candidate takeaway: Perseverance and patience are key. Your search will probably take longer than you think it should. Don’t give up.
Culture fit matters A LOT.
Culture fit is not just for companies who realize that the culture of their organization can be good for profits by retaining great talent and building their brand, but it’s also good for job seekers who want to feel like they “fit.” Want to know what a company’s real culture is? Ask someone who’s recently left the company or ask a new hire what has surprised them most about the company’s culture since joining the organization.
Candidate takeaway: Go offline and research the culture of companies by talking to people. Create a short list of target companies and learn all you can about their hiring practices and how the organization is structured and where your skills fit.
Companies are using the hiring process to help them get clear about what they need in specific roles.
With the ever-evolving world, what an organization needs today isn’t what they’ll necessarily need tomorrow. Interviewing a pool of talented candidates can be a very informative process—and with that, it can shift what an organization thinks they need. I’m also seeing an increase in specific roles being created for talent professionals who bring highly specialized experience or a unique skill set to the table.
Candidate takeaway: Rejection at any step in the process is tough. Don’t take it personally.
There’s more transparency about salaries.
Don’t forget that many states have banned asking about candidates’ salary history and are now sharing salary ranges upfront with candidates. If a job you’re interested in doesn’t share what the salary range is, go ahead and ask early in the process. Why? It can be a waste of time for both parties if there’s a huge mismatch. (Check this link to see which states have banned salary history questions.)
Candidate takeaway: Be prepared to state an expected salary range and feel free to ask what the salary range is for a role you’re interested in if it isn’t disclosed up front.
The gig economy keeps growing.
Duh. What that means for job seekers is that there’s more career mobility than ever—so forget about landing a job and staying put for 5+ years. Roles evolve so quickly now that the job you’re doing today probably won’t look the same in a year. It’s why career ladders don’t matter to most millennials—they’re all about projects that matter and continuing to grow their skills and experiences.
Candidate takeaway: Look for opportunities to grow your skills or experience in new ways rather than just focusing on your next role.
You’ll likely see a job you applied to, and didn’t hear about, posted again. And again.
According to my recruiter resources, it’s usually because of one of two things. Either the organization truly didn’t find anyone who met their qualifications (the elusive unicorn) or the company is filling their talent pipeline for future hiring (meaning they don’t have a current role open but are actively building their pool of potential candidates). So if you see a job that was previously posted, do some investigating through inside connections to see if it’s worth the energy to reapply or if you need to move on.
Candidate takeaway: Job postings and descriptions are, at best, a snapshot of what’s available at any given moment. Applying for jobs online should be just one tool used in your job search.