I chuckled as I read the recent story of a job seeker who built a bot to apply to thousands of jobs for him. A very intelligent and analytical person, he was on a mission to improve the process. He's not alone. Millions of dollars are spent each year on technology to improve the hiring process. I get pitched daily by companies who claim they have the next "breakthrough" in hiring. And, given our recent history, I can see why many are making the assumption technology will drive the next reinvention of the employee-employer matching process. Here's why...

The Evolution Of Recruiting

The graphic below outlines how finding employees has evolved over the years. In the last 20+ years, dramatic changes to the process have been driven by technology. Notice I didn't say "improvements" - that's because plenty of people will argue technology only created more problems. For example, we were in awe of the possibilities when online job boards were introduced by Monster and Careerbuilder. However, the overwhelming use of this technology by job seekers and recruiters alike created a new problem: too many unqualified people applying to jobs, forcing companies to automate the review process. Humans no longer look at your resume, bots do. And, as the poor job seeker above learned, the jobs he really wanted weren't even posted on job boards.

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Next came LinkedIn and the idea of using social media to make it easier for employees and employers to find each. Yet again, the technology created problems. Pressure to build the right profile to attract a recruiter's attention has given millions of professionals anxiety. Meanwhile, the best talent finds themselves being solicited relentlessly by aggressive recruiters trying to fill open positions.

In short, technology may be changing how we connect with employers, but I'd argue few people feel it's gotten better or easier - it's just different.

A Recession Is Inevitable...How Will Your Career Survive?

When it comes to our economy, there's no denying recessions are cyclical. Every ten years or so, we see and adjustment. One is on the horizon. The exact date unknown. But, when it hits, millions will lose their jobs and need to find new ones. The one thing that is certain is those assuming technology will help them find a job faster are wrong - dead wrong. You'll use technology, but it won't make finding that next employer any quicker. As the bot-making-job-seeker above learned the hard way:

  1. It's not how you apply, it's who you know. And if you don't know someone, don't bother.
  2. Companies are trying to fill a position with minimal risk, not discover someone who breaks the mold.
  3. The number of jobs you apply to has no correlation to whether you'll be considered, and you won't be considered for jobs you don't get the chance to apply to.

Job search is a skill, and most people don't realize this fact until they're in trouble.

Every Job Is Temporary - Act Accordingly

Anyone that wants to work for the next 20 years should invest time and energy into learning the right way to find a new job on short notice. For example, the worst time to learn how to use LinkedIn is when you've been laid-off. Think of it this way: you're a business-of-one. It's your job to make sure the business is marketing it's expertise at all times. Otherwise, you could lose your biggest client (a/k/a your current employer), and not be able to replace it fast enough.

There's A Big Difference Between Work "In" Your Career, Versus "On" It

Keeping your head down and doing a good job to impress your employer is a short-sighted career strategy. Just ask anyone who did this and found themselves on the end of a pink slip in the last recession. You need to regularly work on a plan to make sure your skills are in-demand in the marketplace and your network is aware of how you provide value. And, while you can use technology to help you, it will be your marketing technique that will ultimately decide whether you stay employed.