Should auld applications be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld applications be forgot,
And interviews, as well…

After the New Year’s celebrations settle, it’s time to get to work! The start of a new year is the perfect time to reset career goals and explore new opportunities. 2019 could very well be a pivotal year for many job seekers, but it’s important to go into the job market well informed about what to expect. 

2019 presents an interesting hiring landscape already, with factors bubbling to the surface that have been building steam for years. As a large number of workers age out of the workforce, talent shortages will continue to rise. Some reports notes that by 2025, “there will be more retirees in America than under the age of 18.” Simultaneously, companies are already dealing with a skills shortage – a lack of viable job candidates with the skills needed to fill important roles – due to the current high levels of U.S. employment. Combine all of this with a volatile stock market which may be signalling a recession on the horizon for the U.S. economy, and job seekers could be in for a big year of change.

To prepare those on the job hunt for a successful year, here are three trends job seekers should prepare for in 2019.

Doing More with Digital

Can you remember the last time you took a trip to a company’s office to grab a paper application? In the last few years, have you hand-delivered your printed resume to an employer? Aside from thank you notes (which are always a good idea and definitely better when handwritten), the majority of the job search process has gone digital. From online job boards to digital interviewing solutions, job seekers can apply to and interview for new opportunities without ever leaving the couch!

In the year ahead, this trend will continue at an accelerated pace, and a big reason for that is it just makes hiring easier. For job seekers, digital platforms provide a one-stop-shop for keeping track of career opportunities. For employers, these solutions can streamline their hiring processes – which may become increasingly important under current economic conditions. According to Glassdoor, “During a slowdown, the balance of job openings compared to job seekers rapidly rebalances, as hiring slows and unemployment rises in affected industries…Bigger applicant pools during recessions can make for more challenging work. Investing today in interview processes that work, technology that helps screen great candidates and having a clear employer brand that attracts the right talent can help prepare employers to hire effectively during a recession.”

AI is Expanding, but Humans Still Hire

With all the buzz about digital, an increasing amount of focus is also being placed on artificial intelligence (AI). Recent innovations have given AI platforms the ability to assist with “candidate ranking, resume scanning, biometric and psychographic systems used by employers for candidate selection.” All of this means that employers that invest in developing AI solutions should be better able to match job candidates to the right career opportunities. However, as with many innovations, the dawn of artificial intelligence has been a source of fear across many industries, as employers and employees alike grapple with a rapidly changing workforce. While increasingly automated systems may be able sort and identify candidates, nothing has been invented yet that beats the power of human connection in hiring.

Personality is Important

Yes, even though “robots” may be speeding along the hiring process, personality matters more than ever. With the amount of opportunities being delivered to increasingly engaged job candidates, breaking through the noise can be a challenge. That’s why being able to share what makes each job seeker unique – their career story – is so valuable.

Employers recognize the importance of personality, too; not just that gut feeling after a job interview, but truly getting to know candidates and employees on a deeper level. Personality or behavioral assessments are becoming increasingly popular tools for employers and job seekers alike. These short quizzes give employers insight into the way individuals work with others, what motivates them and may even inform their preferred management style. Job seekers are also finding value in these assessments, gaining a deeper understanding of themselves to best determine which career opportunities to pursue.

As job seekers look ahead to the future of hiring, it’s clear that digital innovations are paving the way forward. However, these very same tools are giving employers the chance to think about their workforce on a more meaningful level. Hopefully, 2019 will be the year that more job seekers than ever find the career opportunity that connects directly to their skills, interests and sense of purpose.

What trends are you preparing for in 2019? Join the conversation in the comments below!