Anyone who has ever endured a months-long job search understands just how tough it can be to get through multiple rounds of screening and land a dream job. As days — and sometimes even weeks — go by without receiving any kind of response, it becomes all too easy to get discouraged.
When a single job opening can receive hundreds of applications, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that it takes most companies an average of 42 days to fill an open position. However, it also shouldn’t be a surprise that many are working to change that by implementing new artificial intelligence solutions.
Companies have begun to implement everything from systems that scan cover letters and chatbots for the initial screening process to software products that evaluate your posture and tone during an interview.
Though these advances can speed up the hiring process, they also present new challenges for potential job applicants. You may think you have what it takes to impress a human, but can you woo a robot recruiter?
SEO-ify your résumé
One of the most common uses of AI recruitment software is to evaluate résumés and cover letters. These programs scan submitted forms for keywords or pertinent pieces of data, and résumés fitting a company’s hiring criteria are then passed on to the (human) HR rep to set up an interview.
Of course, not all companies look for the same things.
As Jennifer Alsever notes, “Some 75 percent of [job success] predictors vary even among similar roles at similar companies. At one, the number of hours worked in college might be a predictor, while taking psychology courses, an indicator of teamwork, is a predictor at another. The match is crucial.”
In other words, building a résumé that accurately reflects your experiences and accomplishments is more important than ever before. To increase your chances of getting hired, you should look over your résumé and adjust it based on the job requirements or company culture of each position you apply for.
Utilizing the right keywords should be a central focus when updating your résumé.
According to ‘resume consultants’ Mark Slack and Erik Bowitz, applicants should include verb phrases and skills written in the job description on their résumé. “These are very likely to be the same keywords and phrases the hiring manager has programmed the ATS to pick up —‘project manager,’ ‘Final Cut Pro,’ or ‘social media marketing,’ for example.”
As with writing content for SEO, these keywords should be interspersed organically throughout your résumé. Use them where they are a natural fit.
Going overboard and stuffing your résumé with keywords will likely result in a rejection.
Finally, always double- and triple-check your résumé for spelling mistakes and formatting errors before submission. Such problems can confuse the AI program reading your résumé and cause your application to be eliminated.
Nailing the interview
You’re not necessarily done with AI after you’re called in for an interview.
Many corporations have begun using a software product that, during a filmed interview, “takes note of barely perceptible changes in posture, facial expression and vocal tone [and] turns this data into a score, which is then compared against one the program has already ‘learned’ from top-performing employees.”
In other words, the way you express yourself during an interview is used to evaluate your learning ability, cognitive skills, and emotional intelligence. This makes the ability to control your body language more important than ever before.
Positive body language cues include keeping your back straight and leaning slightly forward in your chair, as well as allowing your hands to move as you speak. Maintain a pleasant expression, and avoid any fidgety habits that show your nervousness.
The way you speak — including the use of positive language — is also a key evaluation factor for many AI programs. Even something as simple as using active verbs like “do” or “will”, rather than negative or disingenuous words like “never” or “can’t” can affect your hiring potential.
Vocal tone will also help you showcase confidence and affability so you can land the job.
The diaphragm is key when expressing our natural voice, says Professor of Communication Studies Preston Ni. “A person who uses the diaphragm voice commands attention, ‘sounds’ more attractive socially, and is more likely to be perceived as a promotable leader.”
Developing this speaking style through breathing exercises or even a singing class can go a long way in impressing an AI program.
Updating your online profiles
Though the idea of allowing artificial intelligence to play a role in the hiring process may be intimidating to job seekers, it is essential to remember that this same technology is also used by companies that are actively trying to recruit new employees.
A well-rounded online profile on a job hunting website that follows résumé best practices can easily send new opportunities your way.
As Indeed’s Raj Mukherjee explains, “Using natural language processing abilities, AI can pinpoint critical information and paint a more accurate picture of the ideal job for a particular candidate. The result? Job seekers see the jobs they need to see, and are provided with the information essential to making an informed decision — meaning less wasted time and better matches for recruiter and job seeker alike.”
This is one thing to keep in mind as you take advantage of LinkedIn and other platforms — such as Goodwall, for example — that regularly send “recommended” jobs your way. These tools are using AI to find the jobs where you’re most likely to be a good fit, and they often notify recruiters of the potential match.
Goodwall’s director of youth Marketing, Kevin Newman, illustrates this new dynamic among high school and college students, “Gen Z high achievers are getting highly valuable opportunities faster and earlier in their careers. Upwardly-mobile Freshman students in the New York area are getting internship offers a year in advance before they even set foot on campus. AI has enabled forward-thinking employers to sift through talent and engage with them faster. Since they’re able to move faster, they have more time to invest in each candidate and be more personable.”
By taking care of most of the heavy lifting on your behalf, they give you a much greater chance of a successful outcome before you ever submit an application.
Landing the job
Though artificial intelligence is already resulting in dramatic changes in how companies go about their hiring process, it is important to remember that many of the best practices for landing a job have remained largely unchanged. You still need to write a polished résumé and cover letter. You must learn to control your posture and facial expressions during an interview.
At the end of the day, companies are looking for the same thing as always — high-performing employees who will stick around for the long haul. As you make the necessary adjustments in your application process, you’ll be able to please both human and AI recruiters so you can land your dream job.
Do you want to take the lead in the digital era? Let’s bring business, technology, and experience together to shape your personal value proposition within the digital world and become PwC’s Next Digital Leader.
This post is brought to you by PwC.
Published October 11, 2018 — 14:07 UTC