Industry insights. And other brain fuel!

Get J2 updates delivered straight to your inbox!

Sign up to get the weekly Friday Food for Thought email & the quarterly PULSE email.

Sign Up For Updates!

Why Can’t I Find a Job if Tech Talent is in Short Supply?

tiles with figures on a table

By Andy Thatcher, VP, J2 Solutions

Unemployment is low, really low across all industries, but especially in tech fields. The overall unemployment rate, as reported by the Labor Department is at a 50 year low at just 3.7 percent. In tech fields, the numbers are lower.

There is a shortage of skilled people to hire for openings. Why can’t I find a job?

It would seem that with so many open positions going unfilled, that having stellar tech credentials would guarantee at least an interview. If you have been searching for work for any length of time, you may realize that this is not necessarily true. According to a corporate job opening attracts about 250 resumes. Only a half dozen may be offered an interview, and, of course, only one person will be offered the position.

tiles with figures on a tableIn addition to those staggering numbers, the changes in the job market are making companies very particular about each hire. In the recent past, a company would hire for the long term, counting on training a candidate with potential and having that investment pay off over the long term. Now, the relationship between employers and employees is based less on loyalty. Employees know that companies can and will terminate them if it improves the bottom line. Employees move from job to job over their careers, so investing in training is less appealing to most companies. The employer needs the assurance that you can and will hit the ground running, and be a productive addition from day one.

Here are just a few of the issues with getting hired today:

  • Is the position real?
    Perhaps because of the perception of a tight talent market, not all job postings are real. Unscrupulous recruiters may post positions to collect resumes to use for future positions. Companies may post bogus openings as a way to judge the available talent pool should a position become available. These postings are all counted as unfilled, making the talent gap seem much wider than it actually is.
  • Algorithms Screening Resumes
    In an attempt to find the perfect employee, companies are using technology to screen applications to decide which resumes to actually read. The screening algorithm uses keywords to determine the relevance of each resume, and if you don’t know and use those keywords, your resume will never be seen by a human being. You may be qualified for the position, but if you don’t use the right phrases, it won’t matter.
  • Generation Gaps
    Add to all of this the challenge of dealing with multiple generations of professionals. Millennials, for example, are looking for flexibility and work-life balance. If the hiring manager is closer to being a Baby Boomer, the idea of work-life balance may be a hiring challenge. Companies with older cohorts may balk at the notion, and as a result pass on younger workers with audacious demands for flexibility and meaning in their work.

You Can Get Help

One way to improve the odds of finding a great job is to create a relationship with a recruiting firm that specializes in technology placements. Technology careers are a bit different from other types of careers, and having someone who specializes is important. They will be focused on the actual open positions and have contacts with companies where your skills are in demand. Your resume won’t end up languishing in a stack of applications for phantom positions.

A specialized recruiter will be able to understand the keywords and skill sets in a way that another recruiter can’t. They will be able to make suggestions on tweaking your resume to best showcase your qualifications for each open position that allow you to stand out to the person making a hiring decision.

The relationship allows the recruiter  to know your strengths and preferences and gives them a leg up in choosing what type of positions you will be a great fit for.  They can provide solid advice on how best to approach interviews.  They can tell you a lot about a company, saving you some research time.

When deciding on a recruiter, ask questions. Make sure this person is serious about helping you be better than you were yesterday, and not just looking for another body to place in a job. In the midst of a tech talent gap, a good recruiter is a tremendous asset to help advance your career.