At Priority Candidates, in our work with clients, we witness the candidate experience at the front lines. We consistently study the market and stay abreast of trends impacting job seekers, as companies aim to engage with potential talent while implementing technologies that sometimes take the human out of human resources.

In 2019, we see five trends that fresh job seekers need to consider as they navigate career planning for new roles.

1. Recruiting Automation – AI, Machine Learning, Robotics, Workflow

New technologies are constantly emerging in the recruiting space. Companies are adding new tools to their existing automated processes to increase internal efficiencies. At Priority Candidates, we work with clients to ensure that the “basics” work - such as a robust resume and a powerful LinkedIn Profile appealing to both automated and human handling.

We also stress readiness with Priority Candidates’ clients – active job seekers should be “ready” always to fully apply, regardless of the recruiting systems various companies use. From online assessments to video interviews to accelerated hiring processes – be ready for all scenarios. Most importantly, do NOT start your pursuit unless you are prepared and serious about finishing your application, and taking the next steps with the company.

Throughout your career, keep in mind, companies are investing in technologies to aid them in future searches for passive candidates. Be thorough, accurate and thoughtful about what you provide on the application and make public on LinkedIn. A strong, dormant application can pay dividends in future job scenarios.

2. It’s About Skills – All of Them

To navigate the AI-enabled recruiting environment you must be ready and able to objectively review your own skills and experiences as the ‘sum of your parts”. Keep in mind that companies are seeking to acquire talent with a proven mix of both technical and soft skills – and you should be ready to discuss your strengths, as well as your personal plan to strengthen and acquire emerging skills.

Be prepared to describe your talents and how you have applied them to real problems during previous projects and roles. Hiring managers will want to evaluate your inter-personal skills and your self-awareness, be prepared to concisely describe your strengths. Strive to present yourself as “self-aware not self-absorbed”, and practice with a trusted counselor or friend to find the balance.

At Priority Candidates, we help students map out a personal skills strategy, accentuating key skills and creating a concrete path to build new ones via hands-on training. Keep in mind that while technologies in the future will change, soft skills are a foundation for all collaborations. Decision makers want to hire collaborative teammates, not just technicians.

3. The Experience Factor

At Priority Candidates, we prepare clients to adeptly navigate behavioral-style interview questions. But before you get the interview, employers will want to know that you can do the job – and they will gauge this based on your relevant, documented experience.

The lines between education and hands-on work experience have become more and more distinct for educated people pursuing professional career paths. While a degree might have once guaranteed full-time work, internships are increasingly crucial to the marketability of a job applicant graduating from college. Today’s companies need to know that a candidate has experiences approximating their work environment.

Companies seeking new talent demonstrate a clear bias towards candidates who have held jobs, apprenticeships (a growing trend), internships or work-like project experiences. Applicants who have held multiple roles are most likely to be called for interviews.

Companies try before buying full time talent. Sometimes graduated job-seekers start in intern roles. Similarly, temporary engagements are replacing many entry level roles – particularly at technology firms.

At Priority Candidates, we believe this work starts as early as the freshman year in college. We guide clients to seek out enjoyable and meaningful experiences during both the school year and breaks, to create a work history and evidence of applied skill building - positioning them to land their first full time role.

4. The Nature of Work – Ready or Not?

The very nature of work is changing and is less traditional than that which professors or parents experienced. Companies working through transitions will want you to demonstrate that you will flourish in a variety of environments and cultures. Know your own interests to ensure that you will enjoy the role and setting you will be working in.

Before applying, consider these facets of the future of work and your reactions about them:

  • Are you ready to work anywhere, on any device, while being monitored for productivity and data privacy?

  • Are you comfortable with the company’s Code of Conduct?

  • Are you open to a new location? Being open-minded about location options will appeal to companies. Home is comfortable but better jobs may lie elsewhere.

So many possibilities, take time to explore your reactions to change.

5. Talent Acquisition - A Return to Civility

Talent is important and it needs time to grow. Recently, on-campus internship recruiting for financial companies had become so accelerated that sophomores were vying for Wall Street internships over a year, and more, in advance of the actual job. Companies such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have recently pulled back the reigns and this approach has become much less prevalent.

This change is an important restoration of the human factor in entry level recruiting. Candidates should expect to be treated fairly and respectfully in concert with companies’ needs for a speedy, efficient automated process to hire the best possible talent. For candidates, it pays to be prepared for the demands of the competitive process.

At Priority Candidates, we guide our clients to seek roles that are friendly, fair, and transparent. We encourage clients to gather perspectives from peers and sites like Glassdoor to determine if the company is a match for their values, and offers an environment they want to work in long-term.

Trends matter.

Plan personal strategies to find a first job that you are passionate about. Remember, learning to navigate the job-search process is a lifelong skill, and learning to master this skill now will certainly pay off in the long run.