How to Hack the Internet for a Faster, Better Job Hunt
With today’s technology, employers use an impressive number of tools to find, analyze, judge and communicate with job seekers. If you’ve been on the hiring side of things at a mid-size or larger company, you’ve seen how many software solutions are bought and sold in an attempt to nail recruiting. Employers, with just a few clicks, can post an opening to hundreds of job boards, gain powerful social data on all of their applicants and hire consultants to help them find just one right candidate.
Why don’t job seekers have access to similar tech?
While there isn’t a one-stop destination or tool to match employer power, there is the entirety of the web at your disposal. As job seekers, there are a thousand things we can do to keep up with the hiring game. It just requires a little organization to get started.
Learn the company’s playbook, like they would learn yours
A company can and will learn everything it can about you from your resume and your online presence. A recruiter will look at your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook profiles when they’re public. They’ll probably do a Google search to confirm various details you put on your resume.
Luckily, these same resources are available for you, the job seeker, to learn more about them. Look at the company’s blog and social media accounts. Find vocal executives and employees on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Read articles they like, opinions they post and complaints they share. It’s the easiest way to determine if the company and its strategy are strong cultural fits for you. Additionally, you will learn the company’s pain points and will be able to address exactly why you’re a strong candidate to tackle challenges with them.
Read the press around them, like they read yours
If you’ve ever been written about in a news article, for good or bad, then a company can easily find those articles online. You can and should do the same in return. More than just looking at social media profiles, like we mentioned above, scouring news-specific sources will give you a relatively unbiased look at events surrounding the company and how others perceive it.
This is how you can determine if that company is going in the right direction and is worth your time. If the things you see in the press give you cause for concern, then you might not want to apply. If you do decide to apply, then these concerns are great things to bring up politely in an interview. Recruiters who dodge or sugarcoat your concerns might be giving you a strong signal that something is going wrong or that the company doesn’t know how to fix internal issues. Just remember that you should take the good with the bad by congratulating them on and discussing their recent successes.
Be alive on social media
Recruiters will look at your social media accounts, and there’s no way to stop them beyond making all your accounts private. Taking the privacy route, however, closes off a strong avenue for personal advertising. Treat certain social media (Twitter and LinkedIn, for example) as your platform for creating a strong brand around yourself. Get involved in conversations with industry leaders. Tweet your opinions about articles. Offer unique perspectives on the topics that interest you most.
Join professional communities for your field. Check out groups on LinkedIn and sites such as Quora and Growth Hackers. Post and reply to articles with valuable feedback. Brand yourself as a person who promotes conversation, adds value to the community and is an active participant. Recruiters will notice, especially if you tweet out the various conversations that you’re active in. It’s your best chance to create a positive first impression before you get the chance to talk.
Companies use expensive software to track your applications, collect and store your information and communicate with you. They invest in this software for two reasons: (1) they would be lost in a sea of disorganized information without it (2) they keep a live pipeline of their most impressive prospects ready for whenever they may need to recruit for an open position.
You can tackle those issues the same way with companies you’re in contact with, without the hefty price tag. Track your applications. Create a process to stay organized by saving all the information you’ve recorded in your research, categorized and sorted by company. Set next steps and due dates for important events and begin nurturing a relationship with different companies. Keep them in your pipeline as they keep you in theirs. You can take advantage of free online organizational tools to get your job search in order. The best companies and recruiting departments nail the organizational part of their process, and the same goes for the best job seekers and careerists.
Stefan Mancevski is a co-founder at JobHero, a free web and mobile job search dashboard for job seekers to organize, optimize and upgrade their job search. Check out the dashboard and more great job search advice at https://gojobhero.com. You can follow Stefan on Twitter at @smancevski and JobHero at @gojobhero.