First impressions are made digitally, not personally

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 5 million job openings in the United States.  Whether you’re hiring or looking for a job, the methods of landing a coveted position or finding the perfect candidate for your company have evolved. 

Those doing the hiring can get a good look at their roster of candidates long before they’ve walked through the door for an interview, thanks to social media platforms.

And candidates can make or break an opportunity by making sure those platforms showcase their best the minute they hit “submit” on the application forms.

Delaware Business Times asked business professionals for their perspectives on the changing dynamics on the hiring front and what tools are essential for today’s job-seeking professionals.


Paul Pomeroy
Managing Partner, ab+c Creative Intelligence

On standing out from the crowd:

As with everything else in our society today, technology is setting the course. In most cases, this means the job interview starts long before an actual in-person meeting. While resumes still have a place, how candidates present themselves online and via social media channels is the 21st century version of the first impression.

LinkedIn profiles need to be updated and filled with relevant career-oriented information. Social sites should be scrubbed appropriately to put one’s best face forward. In terms of being able to cut through the clutter to land an actual interview, a candidate should be clear and focused in how they present their interest in particular positions and how that interest is in line with their ultimate career goals.

While this can be customized per position, a blanket expression of interest in “marketing” or “advertising” is not enough to separate an applicant in a crowded and competitive field. And when it comes time for the actual interview, polished interpersonal skills are a must. While some workplace communication takes place online, most does not. How a person communicates in an interview is a reflection of how he or she will do so in an actual workplace setting and how they might fit, culturally, within an organization.

Chris Barton
Chris Barton
President, Barton Career Advisors

On the importance of social media:

Over the last decade hiring practices have evolved along with technological innovations and the emerging needs of businesses that are striving to compete in a hyper-competitive global economy. A number of tools are employed to screen and vet candidates including psychometric assessments, virtual web-based interview software and third party outsourced recruitment resources.

Candidates are encountering an increasingly more complex landscape for actively engaging decision makers, as the overall hiring system is designed to minimize human contact in its initial stages.

Today’s professionals looking for work need to be social media-savvy, particularly with LinkedIn, and work diligently and appropriately to break the relational barrier into organizations.  It is actually more challenging to get the interview than to survive the interview itself, although the interview presents the “stage time” that is so critical to advancing in the process.

It is advisable for job seekers to practice video interviewing, prepare for group scenarios and above all gain knowledge of some of the more common interview questions. The simplest questions are the toughest! A seemingly innocuous ‘tell me about yourself’ can be the end of the process for many candidates.”

Antara Dutta Founder & CEO Ayuvia, LLC Past president, SCORE Delaware

On knowing what you’re looking for in a candidate:

Amongst managing risks every day, [whether] as a small business owner, a corporate executive or a nonprofit administrator, recruiting and retaining human capital ranks high in priority.

While there are some commonalities in finding the best match for a large corporation, a small start up or a volunteer managed nonprofit, there are some evolving trends worth paying attention to:

Cultural fit — When hiring for large corporate organizations, cultural fit is front and center in ensuring team dynamics stay balanced with new comers. One way to ensure alignment could be using a panel of diverse members. Ranking three to five finalists with inputs from a panel is a great way to get a balanced perspective on cultural fit.

Drivers for change — When hiring for a nonprofit or a small business, it’s important to understand why someone is choosing to pursue giving back or joining a startup or a smaller organization that does not guarantee a long-term stable income.

Ability to cope with uncertainty — No matter what the role, or who the hiring entity is, a candidate’s demonstrated ability to cope with change in the past is key to success in the future. The pace of change in technology, globalization and economic trends impacts small and large employers alike. A candidate who has had the same job in the same company for more than ten years probably is not well equipped to cope with fast-paced change in the future.

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