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What are the Recruiters of 21st Century Looking For?

The famed COVID-19 pandemic has rolled over the world and made us sitting ducks in our own homes. Normal day-to-day activities from grocery shopping and office going to movie viewing and mall visits have evolved, perhaps irrevocably. Some things, however, remain the same.

People are looking for new and stable job opportunities in this time of uncertainty. Infact in the post-pandemic world, job hunting and recruitment activities have become especially aggressive due to the unpredictability of the impending future and the workforce crunch respectively. Around 50-60 percent of the workforce of the world is sitting at home attempting to forget the old ways of working while trying to gauge the job market where the demand for highly skilled digital workers has increased sharply. It is, therefore, critical to understand what the recruiters are looking for in this corona-scathed world and what types of skills can make sure you’re able to wade through these uncertain times in a boat of stable employment.

First and foremost, Adaptability is a quality that is a must nowadays in employees. Even before COVID-19 came along, the fast-paced digital world of the 21st century demanded an ability to constantly update your job skills as fast as Moore’s law dictated. Cloud Computing, the Internet of Things, and Quantum Computing had for a long time stopped being part of science fiction and started becoming a part of daily life.

The current pandemic situation has taken this trend and ultra-accelerated it to give us a workpool that needs to be updated every 6 months or even every quarter. Companies today are looking for people who are not only comfortable with the current tools and technologies but can also rapidly evolve themselves as new and improved methodologies emerge. With a need to move most of their work offline, corporations have invariably increased their demand for the so-called knowledge workers, who can contribute to the core operations of the company from anywhere anytime. To be an expert in a particular job field or sector was a desired quality a decade ago but right now people who can don many hats at the same time and update their hat wardrobe at the same time are the ones who are attracting top recruiters.

Secondly, we want to break a myth here. Recruiters are not so much looking for extensive experience as much as they are looking for the ability to leverage past experience in similar job positions. Let us explain. It used to be true a decade back -and still is to a minor extent- that to get a job in a particular field or sector you needed to have experience of the same job or a lower position to make sure you understood the inner working of the company. If you were applying for a Plant Manager position for instance you needed to have atleast 7-8 years shop-level experience in a manufacturing company. To become a Marketing Manager, you needed to have some Sales and/or Marketing experience. But what about products and services that are brand new? You can’t very well expect a person to have 7-8 experience in software like Opentext VIM (Vendor Invoice Management) that have only been launched two years ago. So, what are the recruiters looking for in these situations?

In a job role where cutting-edge tools and technologies have replaced brick and mortar services, recruiters want an applicant who has worked in the now obsolete version of the service. The statement might be confusing but is rather logical if you think about it. If you are looking to build up a Fintech (Finance technology) portfolio for your company, you would rely upon a person who has worked in a physical bank rather than a person who is entirely new to the financial sector. Many multinational banks in fact are currently looking for management graduates who have experience in a client-facing role to join their financial relations services.

Companies like Amazon, PolicyBazaar, and Levi Strauss that are looking to move a substantial part of their product portfolio to digital platforms desire employees who have demonstrated capabilities to adapt to new technologies. For example, a person who has worked in software management earlier -even if the waterfall model- would be best suited to upgrade to an Agile Model of software development as compared to a person who is not from the IT sector. So, if the recruiters are looking for a person who can manage their new-age digital banking solutions they would prefer a person who possesses the acumen of the financial sector as well as software management.

To that extent make sure you highlight your relevant experience to the recruiters through your work protfolio so that they know that you have multi-pronged experience and have worked in domains similar to their own. Infact you can try creating four or five CVs to highlight different highlights of your employment journey and the varied job skills you have, instead of putting everything inside a résumé soup.

Another very important and perhaps all-encompassing skill is the Understanding of Methodologies. Mentioning punchlines like hard-working and passion have become cliché as well as overused. Recruiters are not only looking for people who have knowledge of the latest tools and technologies. They want applicants who can demonstrate that they have actually used said tools and technologies in their work. And what better to display this knowledge than methodologies? If you are well-versed in a certain model of manufacturing equipment, software, or a financial model you are restricted in your job opportunities. If instead, you have worked with new-age methodologies like Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma Techniques, and Agile Development it conveys to the recruiter that you are flexible in your approach. It shows that you can easily understand and manage substantial changes in your sector because the methodologies are sector independent.

Most importantly methodologies demonstrate that you have a planned and structured way to approach challenges. If you can show a structured way of breaking down the problem in front of you in order to manage it predictably and efficiently you have already made a lasting impression in the recruiter’s mind. That’s what the aforementioned process improvement frameworks are good for and the reason they are so desirable in the current job market.

You can also strengthen your résumé by getting certified in these methodologies. Getting a six-sigma certification, project management certification, or even an agile certification is quite easy and straightforward these days. Companies like Microsoft, AWS, and IBM are motivating jobseekers as well as their employees to get certified in their respective cloud functionalities due to their high demand. You can take advantage of this situation and research certifications that are in high demand and the respective organizations that offer them.

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