Your job search is becoming less human. Here’s how to adapt.

Imagine you’re a job seeker looking for a job. You submit your resume to a company’s website.

Your resume is scanned by AI that is evaluating your resume against the job description. It’s also comparing it to the employer’s existing database of current employees’ qualifications. Your new format and design don’t matter. Neither does your keyword stuffing to beat the ATS.

The algorithm also pulls in a few publicly available data points about you, like your social media profiles. It scores you based on that data and your resume. Your score puts you above the competition. Your resume isn’t reviewed by a recruiter.

Next you get a text on your phone. It’s the company and they’re asking if you have time to answer a few questions. You answer a few basic questions about your professional experience and interest in the role. You realize it’s a chatbot half way through but you’re just happy to avoid the awkward phone interview.

You make the cut again. You receive an automated email with a link to an online video interview platform and instructions. You record your answer to common behavioral questions. It’s awkward to stare at yourself on the screen. There are no visual or verbal cues to see how your answers land. Your responses are recorded. An algorithm analyzes the video, reviewing your micro expressions and looking at 25,000 possible data points to evaluate your personality and fit within the company. Your video response is scored by the algorithm.

Then you get an email from the recruiter. You’ve passed all the steps. They’d like to invite your for a day in the life experience at their company.

The visit is the first and maybe the last opportunity you’ll have to interact with a person in the entire search.

Back to reality. The situation above isn’t totally hypothetical. It’s the new job seeker reality. Companies are adopting HR tech that uses AI and automation to make the hiring process more efficient. It’s also making the hiring process less human. In 2017 Companies like Unilever and JP Morgan started automating their hiring process. Here’s what hiring looks like at Unilever:

Candidates learn about the jobs online through outlets like Facebook or LinkedIn and submit their LinkedIn profiles — no résumé required. They then spend about 20 minutes playing 12 neuroscience-based games on the Pymetrics platform. If their results match the required profile of a certain position, they move on to an interview via HireVue, where they record responses to preset interview questions. The technology analyzes things like keywords, intonation, and body language, and makes notes on them for the hiring manager. All of this can be completed on a smartphone or tablet.

If the candidate makes it through these two steps, they are invited to a Unilever office to go through a day-in-the-life scenario. By the end of the day, a manager will decide whether they are the right fit for the job.

A fundamental shift in hiring is under way and it’s powered by machine learning. From resume screening powered by AI to interview chatbots to predictive analytics that determine who’s most likely to leave a job, the list of startups transforming the hiring process is long. Over half of HR tech investments in 2017 went to companies offering products and services powered by AI.

For example, Entelo is an AI recruiting platform that uses machine learning to determine whether you’re a fit for their organization. The company’s knowledge base provides a few hints on how the AI will score you:

All of these new HR technologies are changing how you get hired for a new job. To succeed you must learn the new tools and adapt. Here’s how to start.

Don’t stop at resumes 

HR tools are evolving to evaluate you on more than just your resume. Tools like Entelo assess your social media data as part of your potential employability:

AI Recruiting on Entelo

The more work and knowledge that you share online will benefit you. So start by producing small bits of content. Create a personal website, show off a portfolio online, write small blog posts, or share articles related to your professional interests so you can be found, and evaluated, online.

Be curious about HR technology 

Explore the range of new HR technology that’s being used in the hiring process. Get curious about how these tools are used. Check out new AI tools to help job seekers. Tools like Jobscan and VMOCK are valuable resources that use machine learning to help your improve your resume. There’s even a promise of a chatbot to help you navigate your career (though it seems like it’s in permanent secret mode, so no proof that it actually does that yet).

Next research which companies are using AI technology for hiring so you can prepare accordingly. Right now large companies with large resume volumes are the ideal customers for automation tools. Smaller businesses and startups aren’t there, yet. Most HR tech products list which companies use their services. Before you apply, email a recruiter or ask a current employee about their hiring process so you know up front whether you’ll be engaging with a machine or a human.

600+ companies in 140 countries use HIreVue.

Ask hard questions about AI and HR technology 

This tech is brand spanking new. There are plenty of ethical questions about the use of AI and reinforcing bias in recruiting that need sorting out.  Job seekers can start asking hard questions too. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking how.

How do these platforms reinforce existing bias? How is current employee data used in the hiring process? How are candidates being scored by the algorithm? How are candidates screened out of the process? How do candidates rank if they don’t have online profiles or publicly available data for algorithms to find? How can a job seeker beat the AI system? How much do recruiters and hiring managers trust their AI systems?

Then ask yourselves the hard questions:  Are you getting all the information you need in the hiring process – company culture, opportunity for growth, management styles –  to make an informed decision? Does an automated candidate experience make you more or less likely to want to work for a new company?

Become an actor

One question they get frequently, said Lindsey Zuloaga, director of data science at HireVue, is if an applicant is able to trick the A.I. Her answer: “If you can game being excited about and interested in the job, yes, you could game that with a person as well,” she said. “You’re not going to game it without being a very good actor.”

To succeed in the future of work you need emotional intelligence. As more employers delegate emotional intelligence screening to automated tools you need to ensure you’re expressing that emotional intelligence. Start by recording yourself so you know how you look, talk, and express yourself on screen. Pay attention to your tone, body language, facial expressions. Learn how to build your soft skills to improve your emotional intelligence. Then consider taking a few acting or improve lessons to get comfortable expressing yourself.

Cultivate those professional relationships

Interestingly none of the articles praising new HR Tech have addressed internal referrals, the secret sauce to getting noticed in the job search. Will recruiters eschew a recommendation from a human in favor of their AI scoring system? Do AI hiring platforms incorporate internal recommendations into their scoring model? We don’t know. So for now we can assume that internal referrals via professional relationships might be a way to beat the AI system ( or at least, get around it). More importantly though those professional relationships will take on greater importance the more automated the hiring process becomes. Conversations with people inside of companies give you valuable insights and a feel for company culture, making up for the insights you lose in an automated process.

Sharpen your persuasion skills 

We’re not in a fully automated hiring process (yet). Job seekers still have a chance to engage with humans during their search. But the hiring process is evolving and making some career advice outdated. When you finally get in front of an employer it might not be what you expected (i.e. those behavioral interview questions you memorized might not be so helpful).

However one thing won’t change: once you are in front of a human you still have to persuade them that you’re the best person for the job. Your job search is act of persuasion. Learn the new automated systems and then focus on building your persuasion skills. Reflect on what the companies needs and how you meet that need. Learn how to tell an engaging professional story that connects your interests to your future team’s needs. Show employers your intellectual curiosity and passion as you ask questions about the role.

In the end, we need to all pay attention to the way hiring is changing. With millennials looking at a lifetime of job hopping, we’re going to have adapt fast to new hiring processes. As this article so cleverly points out, those “first impressions so carefully emphasized by career coaches are now being outsourced to artificial intelligence.”

So join me over at FutureMe School as we rethink how job seekers engage with employers. We’re smashing traditional career narratives and we’d love for you to be part of it.

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