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How to Win Over AI During the Hiring Process

This article originally appeared in The Sun in April 2023. 

ARTIFICIAL intelligence has hit headlines with Tesla boss Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak calling for a six-month halt on research into it.

But the tech is already used to screen job app­lications.

Here HR expert Tim Rowley, from the platform, reveals how to win over the AI hiring managers.

1. Include your LinkedIn URL in your CV.

AI bots can check your LinkedIn profile to verify content in your CV, confirm your contact details, and identify connections who can be strong references.

2. Use AI tools to optimise your CV and cover letter.

Tailoring these can take time, so explore AI chatbots and prompt them to help you alter the wording you use.

But ensure what the bots suggest is still accurate.

3. Put your skills in context. Nowadays bots are advanced enough to analyse your skills.

Ensure you list yours and also demonstrate how you use them at work.

4. Prepare for your first interview/screening to be by AI.

Consider using ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, to generate a set of common questions, based on the job description, to practise answering.

Bots can also be trained to evaluate your clothes so dress appropriately.

5. Maintain a professional online presence.

Because AI can alert employers to undesirable or inappropriate social media content.

If you’re interested in working with AI to make the most of your job search, join the PeopleCaddie Talent Network and receive notifications for jobs you’re interested in.

kmulletHow to Win Over AI During the Hiring Process

Unlock the Power of AI in Recruiting to Position Yourself for Your Dream Job

Are you tired of having to rewrite your resume multiple times or endlessly searching online for the perfect job? What if there was a way to make the process easier and gain an advantage over other applicants? The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing recruiting, and it’s not just employers that benefit – job seekers can use AI too! With AI technology at your fingertips, you have the potential to write tailored cover letters and format resumes specifically crafted to match job requirements. Whether you’re actively looking for a new opportunity, are working as a contractor, or want to stay on top of trends in the current workplace – discovering how you can maximize AI tools helps put you on track for success in finding your dream job. Learn more about leveraging this cutting-edge technology below!

Understand the Impact of AI on the Recruiting Process

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the recruiting process and changing the way employers hire. With AI in recruitment, employers can now quickly identify the best candidates within a large pool of applicants. AI-based applicant tracking systems can screen resumes, track candidate engagement, and even conduct initial interviews. The use of AI is not only saving time but also enables recruiters to make better data-driven decisions. As a result, candidates need to change the traditional way of positioning themselves to match the new AI-driven recruitment processes. Understanding the impact of AI on recruiting processes will give job seekers an edge in the job market and help them stand out from the rest.

AI Job Search Tips to Automatically Generate a Customized Resume & Cover Letter

When it comes to applying for a new job, having a customized resume and cover letter can be the difference between getting an interview and being passed over. But let’s face it – not everyone has the time or skills to tailor their application to each specific position. That’s where leveraging AI can come in handy. With the right tools, you can automatically generate a unique resume and cover letter that are tailored to the position you’re applying for. It’s a game-changer for job seekers who want to stand out from the crowd and increase their chances of getting hired. So why not let technology work for you and make the job search process a little bit easier?

Use AI to Research Companies and Spot Trends in Hiring Practices

As you prepare for an interview or networking opportunity, use this powerful tool to help you do your research. AI can be a game-changer when it comes to researching companies or people and spotting trends in hiring practices. However, it’s important to note that AI is not always up to date and may not be able to identify nuances in hiring practices that a human would. Therefore, while these tools can be incredibly useful, they should be used with caution, and combined with your own research for a more comprehensive view of a company or person. Nonetheless, the potential of AI in this field is undoubtedly exciting and worthy of exploration.

Utilize Text Analysis Tools to Perfect Your Pitch & Target Your Resume

If you’re looking to nail your next interview, text analysis tools might just be your secret weapon. These innovative tools can help you analyze job postings, company websites, and even your own resume to tailor your pitch and improve your candidacy. By using natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, these programs can identify important keywords and skills that you’ll want to incorporate into your resume and interview answers. With the market as competitive as it is, it’s never been more important to prepare for the interview process as thoroughly as possible. By utilizing text analysis tools, you’ll be in the best position to stand out from other candidates and land your dream job.

Take Advantage of Chatbots to Interact with Potential Employers and Answer Questions

With the rise of chatbots, job seekers have the opportunity to interact with potential employers and ask questions in a new way. These automated messaging systems are designed to simulate human conversation and provide quick and efficient responses. By taking advantage of chatbots, job seekers can show effort and curiosity, which are highly desired traits by employers. Don’t wait for an invitation to ask questions about the company or position. Initiate the conversation and demonstrate your interest in the company. Chatbots can be a powerful tool to make a memorable impression and increase your chances of landing a job.

AI is transforming the recruiting process for employers and job seekers alike. There are a multitude of ways that job seekers can leverage AI to give themselves an edge in the competitive job market. From automated resume writers to text analysis tools, there is a wide variety of innovative technologies available to job seekers needing to boost their chances. Taking advantage of the power of AI can catapult your career forward by ensuring that you have the tools necessary to stay one step ahead of others in your field.

PeopleCaddie combines revolutionary AI technology with proprietary algorithms to match contractors with potential recruiters and professionals within their field. Start taking advantage of AI in the job search today by joining our contractor network.

kmulletUnlock the Power of AI in Recruiting to Position Yourself for Your Dream Job

Part-Time Executives: Everything You Need to Know

One of the more significant effects of the pandemic on the business world was the mass rethinking of work-life balance that followed. For some, that meant carving out more free time, travel opportunities or work-from-home flexibility. For others, it meant answering a simple but hugely significant question: Should I continue working at all? Most of the attention around the topic has landed on rank-and-file workers, but they weren’t alone in pondering these thoughts. Many executives who had already spent years (and in some cases decades) serving in C-suite positions also sought change. On the surface, that might have seemed implausible: Companies typically have high expectations of the time and focus their leaders invest in their duties. But as employee empowerment has grown in recent years, business has begun adapting and developing new opportunities based on the shifting tides. In the same way that other workers have recently discovered more flexibility and fulfillment in contract work, many C-suiters are finding a new, gratifying professional path as part-time executives and through consulting engagements.

Why Part-Time Executives Are on the Rise

As front-line workers have used their leverage to push for – and earn – more consideration from employers in recent years, C-suiters have gotten in on the act, too. More executives are negotiating nontraditional arrangements with employers, especially as companies are discovering the advantages of bringing on “fractional” leadership.

“This is a solution to a problem that a lot of small- to medium-sized, rapidly growing companies have, which is they need certain sets of skills in order to grow effectively,” Jesper Sørensen, an organizational behavior professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, recently told the Wall Street Journal. “But oftentimes they don’t have enough scale to get the kind of experience and expertise that they really want.”

So will the C-suite of tomorrow resemble the contingent workforce of today? To a certain extent, yes. Fractional executives can bring extensive experience and valued thought leadership to businesses that otherwise might not be able to afford a full-time exec with similar expertise. And because fractional executives essentially operate as contractors, they reap benefits by working on their own terms, sometimes for more than one client at a time, while continuing to build their executive resume in positions such as chief financial officer or chief marketing officer.

The downside for an executive working on a part-time or contingent basis? Although wages can still be lucrative, companies are paying only for an exec’s time – likely something in the range of the going rate, but at a percentage of a typical full-time C-suite salary. Additionally, compensation for fractional leaders (like so many contractors) likely doesn’t include health benefits. Bonuses, pensions, stock options and other components of the traditional executive compensation package may also be harder to come by for leaders in a fractional arrangement.

The PeopleCaddie Advantage

Executives who might be interested in increased flexibility in both their lifestyle and professional opportunities might be reluctant to give up their benefits, and may also view part-time employment as a downgrade of sorts. But PeopleCaddie helps turn both of these potential disadvantages into plusses for aspiring fractional leaders.

A talent cloud that strives to find superb mutual fits between contractors and employers, PeopleCaddie uses a proprietary platform to put executives in front of top companies – many that are open, and even eager, to explore fractional relationships with C-suite leaders. PeopleCaddie also offers its contractors health insurance benefits, which would provide a semi-retired exec both schedule flexibility and peace of mind while allowing another C-suiter to earn like a full-time exec but engage multiple companies and expand their opportunities. Nothing “fractional” about that.

If you’re an executive looking to remain in the workforce under more flexible circumstances, PeopleCaddie can help. Contact us today to add yourself to our talent cloud.

sgruenPart-Time Executives: Everything You Need to Know

Talent Leaving California: How Industries Can Capitalize

If an observer following the headlines coming out of Silicon Valley in recent months didn’t know any better, they would have to assume the bottom is currently dropping out of the technology industry. An estimated 70,000 jobs were shed by Google, Microsoft, Amazon and other tech giants in 2022, and some predict that the sector isn’t finished making significant cuts. All of this means talent is leaving California. 

Yet a deeper analysis of the space reveals a less-discussed resilience (overall employment is down only about 5,000 jobs) and one gargantuan elephant in the room: a sweeping redistribution of tech talent that appears to be happening before our eyes. The recent migration of tech talent to Austin-area companies and startups is one example of this phenomenon, but lately, a new trend has emerged: traditional, publicly traded corporations best known for their work outside the technology space are suddenly showing interest in top tech talent – and receiving it in return. This competition is also a contributing factor as to why tech talent is leaving California. 

A Case Study: Detroit Automakers

Top American automakers, quite literally, have been nuts-and-bolts operations for decades. But recent advances in vehicle software, automation, and electric power – as well as the growing expectations of auto consumers – have forced Detroit to rethink traditional hiring practices. According to the Detroit Free Press, for example, General Motors confirmed that it has thawed an existing hiring freeze in order to make a run at the tech talent made available by the recent layoffs in the space.

“Two years ago, a software developer or engineer in Silicon Valley was not taking GM’s call,” Dan Ives, managing director and senior equity analyst at Wedbush Securities, told the Free Press. “Today, they are actively looking to work at GM. GM has fully bet on their electric vehicle future and under the hood they are a very mature company that is essentially an entrepreneurial startup-like in spirit.”

GM is hardly the exception to the rule. Not only are familiar automakers such as Ford, Nissan and Volvo vying to become the leader in EV and tech-forward automobiles, but newer entries like Tesla, Rivian, Nikola and Lucid are driving the demand for engineers, programmers and other tech talent in today’s version of the space race. And that’s just in the automaking space. Ives says that for every 10 workers cut loose by tech organizations, one or two will move on to “transformational industries,” including but certainly not limited to electric automakers.

The Next Move for Tech-Thirsty Hirers

As our world becomes increasingly computerized, digitized, electrified and automated, entire industries are being overhauled to make way for more productive, efficient and affordable technology solutions. Those developments will unfold within the tech sector, of course, but they’ll also extend far beyond. More businesses than ever now require tech talent to compete – and their corresponding HR departments and hiring staff often lack experience in identifying, vetting and bringing aboard those workers.

Simply put, these organizations may not fully understand their labor needs on the tech side. Companies unaccustomed to building out or incorporating tech initiatives into their core business run the risk of over- or under-hiring, particularly if they don’t have a firm grasp on their new hires’ capabilities and limitations. In cases like these, contingent labor is frequently a company’s best option.

Contingent labor offers a publicly traded company the freedom and flexibility to make adjustments to a workforce as needed, materially reducing its financial risk and allowing for quick responses to changes in the economy, market or organization. A third-party talent cloud such as PeopleCaddie can help your business identify and connect with top-quality technology contractors – and even assist you in creating a contingent labor strategy that meets your needs – no matter your familiarity or comfort in hiring tech talent.

PeopleCaddie can help your organization address its need for tech talent. Here is how our talent cloud can work for you.

sgruenTalent Leaving California: How Industries Can Capitalize

Remote Work Opportunities Decreasing

The pandemic has left us with no shortage of heartache – from health complications to lost business and more. One of the few gifts of such a dark period, however, has been the normalization of remote work opportunities.

With the days of the COVID lockdown dragging into weeks, followed by months of restrictions aimed at protecting the public and bringing the virus under control, business leaders quickly realized that remote work was a better option than no work at all. Even for companies that were set up with proper ventilation and the space to social distance, liability was a concern. And many employees had already made the decision that they wouldn’t even consider a return to the office until the pandemic had clearly blown over. Just like that, the Golden Age of Remote Work was upon us.

Or is it? Lately, as the Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates, companies have begun to tighten their belts and hiring has slowed, the tides are shifting again. The migration of employees from business HQ to the home office has begun to reverse, and remote work’s golden age is starting to resemble a short blip on the radar rather than a lasting movement. This abrupt about-face even has a name already: The Great Mismatch.

What Is the Great Mismatch?

It was only a few short months ago that we were discussing the unprecedented perks of workers’ newfound leverage, including signing bonuses, huge pay increases and flexible work schedules. As a bright macroeconomic climate has turned cloudy, the pendulum has begun to swing back toward employers. Companies that aren’t laying off are often pulling back or freezing hiring, and many are expecting the employees that remain to toss aside their pajama bottoms, close their Zoom window and make their way back to the office.

This has created something of a schism: Workers who have settled into a remote work lifestyle, and possibly even made related arrangements to accommodate the care of young children or elderly family members, are now finding telecommuting job opportunities fewer and farther between. Most employers agree that the needs of project collaborations and certain creative workflows are best met with employees on site, and thus prefer a traditional, pre-pandemic in-office work model.

How PeopleCaddie Can Help

The expectation is that the present economic uncertainty will persist well into 2023, and perhaps beyond, with the overall unemployment rate expected to rise north of 5 percent – still a relatively small figure, but nothing like the current 50-year lows. If this proves to be the case, it’s likely that employers will continue to limit the number of remote opportunities – particularly for new employees.

Yet while the number of remote-based open job orders that are published online has dwindled, it’s still possible to find work-from-home opportunities – particularly contract work – in most industries. One way to connect with top employers, discover the best gigs and be notified of openings right away is by joining PeopleCaddie’s contractor network.

When you build a PeopleCaddie profile, you join a network of over 100,000 contractors and, if you choose, become searchable by our client partners who regularly use our database to find new talent. When you land a contract through PeopleCaddie, you’re quickly onboarded, begin receiving a regular paycheck and access to benefits and, at the conclusion of your contract, receive a review from your employer that can help you build a first-class reputation and draw the attention of other companies in our network that are eager to hire.

Learn how to build your PeopleCaddie profile here, and start connecting with hiring managers and some of the best remote contract roles available.

sgruenRemote Work Opportunities Decreasing

Tech Layoffs: What Do They Mean for the Gig Economy?

The exponential advance of technological innovation, often stated through Moore’s Law, sometimes gets confused with the growth and financial health of the technology sector itself. As metro areas from Seattle to Austin to Raleigh are pegged as “The Next Silicon Valley” and today’s hoodied tech barons are seemingly all but licensed to print money, it can be easy to assume that rapid expansion and hand-over-fist profits are a simple matter of course in tech. As we’ve witnessed in recent weeks, however, the industry is no different than any other – subject to developments within its space as well as the whims of the economy at large. Huge tech layoffs – either already in the books or in the offing – at Meta (previously Facebook), Amazon, Stripe, Lyft, Shopify and other tech stalwarts demonstrate what should already be well understood: Big Tech may have enjoyed a huge, decade-spanning run, but it is hardly invulnerable.

“The technology sector has a dynamic history of expansion and contraction,” economist Charles S. Gascon wrote for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, citing contractions in the tech space starting in 2001, and again in 2009. So what do the current cuts in the sector – including that of almost the entire contract workforce at Twitter – mean for the future of tech’s job market, and specifically the gig economy?

Manage Costs and React Faster

Although recent tech layoffs among pure technology companies have been undeniably severe, given what we know now, they shouldn’t come as a surprise. Driven by an eagerness to capitalize on a COVID-driven boom in demand, tech was as bold as – and frequently bolder than – any industry in its hiring. The current sector-wide downsizing is, in large part, a correction to that response.

But, additionally, tech organizations are beginning to recognize an opportunity. By trimming staff employees, these companies are making temporary sacrifices to become more flexible and efficient over time. Because salaried employees translate to greater costs (insurance benefits, paid vacation and unemployment taxes, etc.) and slower hiring and onboarding, more companies are turning to contingent labor in an effort to manage costs more efficiently and position themselves to react faster to changing economic conditions.

In its 2022 technology industry outlook, Deloitte presciently noted that tech leaders, following the patch-and-plug approach of the pandemic, now have an opportunity to “lay solid foundations for future innovation and growth.” That opportunity still exists – by leaning into a more robust contract workforce. “With more experience utilizing a hybrid workforce under their collective belts,” Deloitte notes, “tech companies will evolve their cultures, accelerate experimentation with collaboration solutions, and develop better approaches to managing tax implications.”

Contingent Labor: A Flexible Workforce

In the world of industry – and particularly within the technology space – what goes down almost unfailingly must come back up again. Even amid the current tech layoffs, most projections forecast healthy growth for the sector and more jobs becoming available over the long haul. But in the short term, the current influx of employee supply will outstrip any growth and demand. That means companies have an opportunity to target tech talent not previously available – at least not at reasonable pay – while focusing on bringing those prospects aboard as contract workers.

Why hire a coder for a full-time position, committing your organization to that employee for the foreseeable future, if the project demands only three months of work? As companies encounter the need to flex their workforce to accommodate new business or project demands, they can rely on an expanded pool of skilled, highly qualified contingent labor to fill their needs through a lower-risk work arrangement.

Whether you’re a tech business striving to grow a more agile workforce or a technology professional seeking opportunities in the industry, PeopleCaddie can help. Our proprietary platform and bustling talent network can help employers connect with contractors, and vice versa, to ensure a fit that benefits both a business and its workers.

Joining the contingent labor pool can be a great way to secure work quickly. See how PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud places knowledge workers in contingent labor positions every day.

sgruenTech Layoffs: What Do They Mean for the Gig Economy?

Leveraging Contractors During Tax Season

The looming certified public accountant shortage is no longer materializing somewhere off in the distance. It’s here, and many accounting firms have found themselves looking to nontraditional measures to close the gap. Among small and midsize U.S. firms, an increasingly common strategy has been the recruitment of international talent to support seasonal operations. Although larger firms have tapped the overseas market of CPAs and auditors for years, there are potential complications – for all firms – that can’t be overlooked.

As more organizations employ international contractors for seasonal services, the pool of skilled and qualified prospects has dwindled driving up the hourly rate. Additionally, security matters are a legitimate concern when engaging international talent. Global talent options shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out altogether, but organizations should consider them a failsafe – a last hiring resort – particularly when domestic contractors are still a viable alternative. The key: planning ahead.

Every organization should have a general contingent labor strategy, but accounting and auditing firms also must respond to a regular seasonal cycle that allows for – and, frankly, requires – a certain amount of workforce planning. Here’s a basic blueprint for these firms to follow in order to best prepare for tax season:

Engage a Third-party Hiring Partner 

In-house networks can be limiting, while headhunters and traditional staffing agencies tend to be too transactional in nature. A talent cloud, on the other hand, can connect you with proven candidates, onboard them quickly and help you curate and maintain a contractor strategy that makes the most sense for your firm. Reach out today to ask how PeopleCaddie can help.

Identify Your Preferred Tax Season Contractors

Whether you landed on a do-it-all employee who is a hand-in-glove fit for your company culture or a hard-to-find specialist who perfectly fills a key role, targeting your most valued contractors and signing them on early – a year or more in advance – ensures consistency of product and prevents a mad dash for talent at the last moment. Work with your talent cloud point of contact to set up these engagements early.

Anticipate Your Business Needs

No matter the lengths an organization goes to precisely project its hiring needs over time, unexpected circumstances invariably arise. Today’s workforce may require expansion (or contraction) based on tomorrow’s business developments. Sketch out your firm’s current needs and build business projections that anticipate future initiatives. Begin identifying leveraging contractors during tax season can help your firm solve problems or shortfalls by creating a bench of talent that’s ready when you are.

Involve Your HR team

Those involved with hiring typically have a lot of experience anticipating future needs and figuring out how to meet them with staffing solutions. Be sure to include human resources in your business planning and discussions with a talent cloud – they can be some of your best assets in leveraging contractors during tax season.

Rinse and Repeat

Permanent employees take time to hire and onboard, and they require long-term commitments that, if overused, can put the profitability and financial solvency of an organization at risk. Contractors provide firms the flexibility to quickly scale up or down based on immediate business needs, and that freedom allows for the pursuit of more business without stress to your current workforce.

Interested in learning more about how you can leverage contractors? Contact PeopleCaddie to develop a strategy on how your company can use our talent cloud.

sgruenLeveraging Contractors During Tax Season

How to Be Successful as a Contractor in 2023

Far too often, independent contractors take an opportunistic approach to their job choices. Of course contingent workers should be ready to strike when the iron’s hot – including now, while the job economy still favors workers and while companies are increasingly leaning into contract labor. But the tendency to take a short-term, myopic career view can hinder contractor success, now and in the future.

Rather than limiting themselves only to whichever attractive job opportunities happen to arise at any moment along their personal timeline, contractors should be thinking about their career progression and actively plotting out a road map – even if it’s just a rough sketch – to their preferred destination. That may (and likely will) change over time. But without an initial sense of direction to help guide their decisions, contractors allow fate and circumstance to dictate where – and often how far – their career takes them.

Instead of this rutterless approach, as the calendar flips to 2023 and many industries turn to assessing their resources and projected outlays for the coming year, now is the time for independent contractors to take stock of their current path and career goals. The best place to start: with a partner who will have your best interests in mind and the tools to help you fulfill them.

How to Be Successful as a Contractor

Selecting an Agency Partner

Most contractors know that staffing agencies can help them find work. But how do you go about evaluating which agency is the best partner for you and your independent contracting career? A good staffing agency has the ability to connect you with plenty of new opportunities with preferred companies. A great agency partner will help you outline a career path and curate high-quality gigs and employers that help you stay on your track and maintain pace toward your goals.

PeopleCaddie provides independent contractors with a broad selection of excellent opportunities while also working with them to construct a career plan that helps them decide which of those opportunities are most professionally beneficial at any given time. Historically, contractors haven’t had the same career training and advancement opportunities as permanent employees. But for those with the same ambitions and interest in optimizing their career progression, PeopleCaddie can help position you to take the appropriate steps throughout your contractor journey.

Contractor Success Requires A Strategic Process

Contingent labor workers are often stereotyped as mercenaries, guns for hire who are willing to take on whatever work comes their way at the right price. But today’s contractor has a more sophisticated sense of their career, recognizing that a more strategic approach will yield not only the highest quality opportunities but those that allow them to build their skills and take periodic upward steps toward more lucrative and personally-fulfilling work.

By partnering with PeopleCaddie, contractors gain access to hiring and career professionals with the experience, expertise, and network resources to help them plot their next moves and land the gigs that propel them forward on their preferred career arc. Independent contractors can save their time and energy, avoiding the traditional laborious job search process and leaving PeopleCaddie to target opportunities that fit with their long-term goals.

Download the PeopleCaddie app now to begin outlining your career path and position yourself to make 2023 your most productive year yet.

sgruenHow to Be Successful as a Contractor in 2023

Gen Z’s Guide to Contingent Labor

Developing a contingent labor force with workers from younger generations isn’t exactly an unfamiliar concept to companies today. Gen Zers and Millennials now reportedly outnumber Baby Boomers and Generation Xers in the independent workforce, and members of Gen Z in particular are considered to have the flexible mindset and entrepreneurial spirit that aligns so well with contract work. But not every Gen Zer has experience as a contingent laborer, and many are generally curious about contract opportunities and the lifestyle they can provide. That’s why we’ve developed Gen Z’s Guide to Contingent Labor. 

More specifically, younger workers may feel an urgency to better understand independent contracting in this moment, with a volatile economy undermining job security across practically every sector. With that, below is PeopleCaddie’s “Gen Z’s Guide to Contingent Labor.”

Contract Work Isn’t Second-Class Status

Many members of Gen Z already intuitively understand this. Social media, influencer culture and new technologies are now empowering people to create thriving side hustles or even build their own businesses, and Gen Z has been on the forefront of that development. Similarly, independent contracting essentially amounts to running your own business – some contractors even establish LLCs – which comes with a cachet that didn’t always characterize freelance work in the past.

There’s Almost Always a Fit for You

Whether you’re interested in ongoing contract work, a month-long project or something in between, chances are there are companies in need of contractors that have opportunities that accommodate your timeline. Concerned that you aren’t experienced enough to qualify as a candidate? Many organizations are seeking non-entry-level prospects, but some are open to considering workers with only 2-3 years of experience. Depending on a company’s needs, someone working on a Master’s degree, like an MBA, who is focused on a specific niche may be the right fit.

Marketing Yourself Can Pay Dividends

By letting employers know that you’re interested in developing certain skills or gaining experience in a particular area, you can make yourself stand out among what may be a sea of candidates. Market yourself in your portfolio projects, note whether you can code, explain other skills that you bring to the table. Maybe a hiring manager will choose a different candidate this time around, but by highlighting your abilities and interests, you’ve planted a seed that may lead to a return call when that employer has an open role that suits your profile best.

Contracts Can Be Used as Stepping Stones

Members of Gen Z have shown far more interest as a demographic than past generations in finding and working with companies whose values align with their own. If you’ve identified an ideal employer but struggled to draw attention as a job candidate, consider taking on contract projects at other companies that can help you build the skills or experience to improve your stock with your dream organization. Reaching your goal may take some time, but short-term projects allow a contractor to expedite the process.

Are you a Gen Zer interested in joining the contingent labor workforce? Check out PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud.

sgruenGen Z’s Guide to Contingent Labor

The Perils of Flex-Washing to Attract Talent

Let’s face it: For companies currently scouring for new talent in this depleted job market, it’s rough out there. There’s a reason so many organizations are extending budgets and rethinking company policy to offer the best candidates higher salaries, perkier benefits, and more flexibility in their schedules and work environments. Attracting top talent is hard. But even if the struggle is real, some of those offerings may not be. It’s called flex-washing – the false advertising or misleading characterization of a company’s flexible work policies – and it’s more than just a harmless exaggeration in the battle to win coveted talent.

How to Identify Flex-Washing

As part of that ongoing fight, some hiring managers have been overzealous in their framing of “flex work.” A salary offer is a fixed, quantifiable number, and health insurance benefits, 401k, and paid time off are objectively measured. But just try pinning down the concept of “flexibility” in a job description. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of wiggle room there.

Keep in mind, remote work or hybrid work may appeal to a potential employee, but neither should be confused with flexible work. Even remote and hybrid models prescribe (or at least clearly define) the terms of a schedule or work environment, whereas the definition of flexible work suggests a more dynamic agreement. But it’s that very fluidity that can allow a hiring manager to take certain liberties in over-selling a position’s true flexibility.

Employees should be prepared to pepper a hiring professional with pointed questions about flex work. What are a company’s specific expectations for days and hours worked? In the office or remotely? Unlimited vacation sounds great, but how does it affect workflows? Are all these terms subject to change? Do they differ by team or manager? The more specific answers you nail down, the less likely you’ll feel later that you were sold a bill of goods.

Why Flex-Washing Hurts Your Organization and Brand

Just as any business with long-term aspirations wants to avoid over-promising and risking the dissatisfaction of its consumers, hiring organizations should be mindful of painting a too-rosy picture for job candidates for similar reasons.

Judging by the reaction to line-in-the-sand edicts from leadership at organizations such as Goldman Sachs – where only about half of the company’s 10,000 employees showed up at headquarters after being ordered back into the office last February – good employees with solid prospects wouldn’t likely take well to bait-and-switch flex-washing tactics.

Business must change with the times, and organizations reserve the right to update their policies – particularly when adjustments must be made based on extenuating circumstances. (See: Covid.) But a company that promises flexibility and isn’t prepared to follow through runs the risk of productivity issues, credibility loss with workers, and even employee churn. Moreover, damage to an organization’s reputation could make future hiring efforts even dicier.

How to Avoid Flex-Washing

Companies and hiring professionals that set out to intentionally mislead job candidates are probably rare. More likely, in a tight labor market, in which top talent is at an absolute premium, organizations are eager to put their best foot forward whenever they get a crack at a strong candidate. But as we’ve outlined above, there can be significant consequences from going too far to sell a prospect on a job.

To keep from crossing the line into flex-washing, start with a clear vision of where the company ultimately wants to go and be transparent about communicating it to your employees. If you’re reacting to changing pandemic conditions, let your workers know the challenges, disclose that the company may have to dynamically adjust and admit that no policy can account for every unknown circumstance. Review policies quarterly, stay agile in your decision making and keep staff in the loop.

You won’t seal the deal with every hot prospect, and you can’t please every employee with your policy. But, by and large, employees will respect and remain more loyal to an honest company, and your purposeful transparency will likely make them feel less put upon if and when changes need to be made.

Interested in learning more about how to manage your workforce? Check out PeopleCaddie’s blog.

sgruenThe Perils of Flex-Washing to Attract Talent