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Hiring Trends in a COVID-19 World

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Much has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly around the world in 2020. Many companies were forced to send workers home to work to ensure their safety. Some—those deemed as “essential”—kept operating but had to initiate a wide range of safety precautions.

2021 Covid Face Masks

In 2021, when it comes to hiring and the workforce in general, things just don’t look and feel the same. For job hunters this represents both challenges and new opportunities. Here we take a look into some expert insights about hiring trends in a COVID-19 world that military veterans should be aware of.

New Ways of Networking

Networking has always been an important aspect of the job search process. Since the pandemic, though, it’s not only increasingly important, but increasingly different. Face-to-face interactions have given way to digital meetings using tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and other channels.

 

Damian Birkel is the Founder & Executive Director of Professionals In Transition® Support Group Inc., a nationally recognized non-profit organization that has served over 10,000 people unemployed or under-employed people since 1992. It’s important for military veterans to find online groups to connect with peers and explore potential employers. This is where connections are made and jobs are found. In fact, says Birkel, “80 percent, some would say higher, of all jobs never appear on the Internet. Or, if they do, the lead candidates have already networked in.”


Veteran-friendly groups like Meritorious, which specializes in military veteran networking, Battle Buddies, a private Facebook group that provides training and support programs to transitioning veterans, or Put Veterans To Work, which offers resources for Veterans in active job search mode, can be a great place to become visible and make important connections that can lead to job opportunities. 

Uncertainty and Clunky Processes

While companies, recruiters, HR pros and hiring managers have learned to deal with the newness, nuances, and complexities of a new hiring environment things can still be somewhat clunky, says Birkel. That can be tough for some, especially those with a military background, to get used to, he says. 

 

“In the military there is a logical chain of command. There are also strictly enforced policies and procedures. Follow-through is a lifestyle. Sloppiness is not tolerated. But, in civilian life—especially with COVID and many people still working at home—trying to gather a group to make a hiring decision is worse than herding cats,” Birkel says. “It can feel like a very sloppy process to a returning vet used to living a process-driven and disciplined life.” This sloppiness, Birkel predicts, “will continue for the foreseeable future.”

 

It’s important for military veterans seeking jobs to understand and accept that they may experience bumps in the road. The ability to deal with this uncertainty and ambiguity is not only important during the hiring process but will be equally, if not more, important once on the job.

Artificial Intelligence and the Hiring Experience

Whether you know it or not, your application and even interviewing experiences are increasingly being powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

 

David Anderton-Yang is CEO at Voomer, a startup enabling people to prepare for artificial intelligence (AI) interviews. “In some cases, from sending in your resume to arriving for your first day on the job, your application is not reviewed by a human, only by AI,” he says. “This changes the way that you are assessed.” Consequently, he says, it’s important to understand how to navigate this new hiring environment.”

 

For instance, Anderton-Yang says: “If you are taking a one-way video interview, it’s important to know how to show energy and enthusiasm that will be spotted by the AI.” In addition, he advises, make sure that “you have a professional-looking background, you light your face well, and that you are moving your hands to communicate your enthusiasm for the job.” This, he says, will make the difference between an offer and a rejection.

 

“AI assessed one-way interviews, where the applicant talks to the camera alone, are becoming commonplace,” says Anderton-Yang. “Whether you are a coffee barista or an aspiring investment banker, AI video assessments are quickly becoming the norm.”

 

Birkel agrees, noting that many companies now send a link to candidates asking them to complete a video interview as part of their screening process. “If and only if you clear this hurdle will your chances of getting to talk to a real human happen,” he says. And, he adds, even then because of the pandemic, that interview is likely to be done via Zoom or a similar tool and not in person.

Changing In-Demand Jobs

A combination of both technology and the impact of COVID-19 has shifted demand for various types of jobs, opening opportunities for those who have knowledge, skills, abilities or aptitudes across a wide range of positions.

Edward Mellett is the founder of Wikijob, the UK’s largest graduate jobs website. According to their research, the “Top 15 In-Demand Jobs in 2021” are:

  • Artificial intelligence specialists
  • Computer programmers
  • Cloud computing specialists
  • Cyber security specialists
  • Full stack engineers
  • Data analysts
  • Technical project managers
  • Digital marketing specialists
  • Marketing strategists
  • Receptionists
  • Tax specialists
  • Teachers
  • Care workers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Skilled trades

 

MilitaryHire’s Veteran-friendly employers and deep pool of job postings covers the majority of these in-demand categories. Recognizing and leveraging these trends to get in front of the right employers, the right way can help military veterans apply their skills and experience in meaningful ways. How will you take advantage of these job search trends to land your dream job?

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