Lessons of 2019

Couple dancing among falling confetti and streamer at party

As we begin not only a new year but also a new decade, I’d like to share with you the top lessons for job seekers from 2019. As you know, I talk to a lot of people in my work as a career coach, and this is what I’ve gleaned from those conversations. Please feel free to add your own in the comments!

Be prepared to make a video. Many companies are using videoconferencing as a means of evaluating candidates. But some are asking for candidates to make a video statement about why they are the best person for the job, and why they are attracted to the company. 

Virtual interviews are now the norm. Ten years ago, an initial phone screening with HR was common, but most interviews with a hiring manager or team were conducted face-to-face. What we see now is that phone/videoconferencing interviews are being used more frequently further in the process. It is not at all unusual for a candidate to have a phone screen with HR, two rounds of video interviews with a hiring manager, and then only be brought in for a face-to-face interview at the end of the process. While this is certainly less than ideal, it’s the way it is, so be sure you’re well prepared for it.

Your cellphone is okay. I used to counsel clients only to use a landline when conducting interviewing or networking calls. But as more and more people have foregone landlines, and as wireless technology has improved, this advice is now outdated. Just be sure you limit background noise, avoid taking important calls in the car, and go to a location where your signal is strong. 

Automation is on the rise. A client recently forwarded me an email with the subject line “JREQ12345 Finance Director.” She almost deleted it, assuming it was an automated “thanks, but no thanks” message. But instead, she opened it, and it is a good thing she did because it was an automated response asking her to schedule an initial interview. Lesson here?  Open your emails and check your spam folder. 

Social recruiting continues to be a major medium for companies. While at this point, it’s a no-brainer that companies source candidates on LinkedIn; other social media outlets became important recruiting venues during the last year. This means that more than ever, it is imperative that candidates proactively manage their professional brands. 

The role of “transferrable skills.” We’ve talked a lot about transferrable skills, but I don’t think we’ve ever really “done” transferrable skills on a broad basis. Many employers still want someone who has been doing the same role for a competitor. They need to give up this dream. In a tight labor market, coupled with significant retirements, hiring managers are going to need to look outside of their strictly-defined little boxes if they want to recruit top talent. 

Night Beach Party at Full Speed

Gen Z. Baby Boomers are retiring. Millennials are overwhelmed with student loan debt and with caring for both children and aging parents. GenX has always been apathetic. They’re not surprised by any of this. Oh well. Whatever. Never mind. Enter GenZ. GenZ workers don’t want happy hours or foosball tables. They’re also not particularly motivated by the idea of employment stability or developing a career at one employer. Gen Z wants to know what you’re going to do for the world. What is your plan for corporate social responsibility? Gen Z wants to work with companies that show employees empathy, and where individual uniqueness is celebrated, rather than stifled. GenX is rooting for GenZ. 


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