Industry Viewpoint

Hiring and Recruiting Trends in the Electrical Industry

The last time I applied for a new job, I printed out a hard copy of my resume and cover letter, stuffed it in an envelope, and dropped it in a mailbox. I even recall spending a few extra bucks to purchase high-quality paper to help make my submission stand out from the crowd. When I received an invitation for an interview, I actually got on a plane and flew to another city. When I arrived at the potential employer’s site, I was met by the human resources manager, who asked me to fill out a job application by hand. Next, I sat down in a face-to-face meeting with the hiring manager. After the interview, they called a few of my references to gain a different perspective on what type of person I was and better understand my work history.

Although this process is still being used today, some believe it may soon be obsolete. What’s more strange to me is that some electrical companies today even view e-mail as an old-fashioned form of communication in the hiring and recruitment process. Some firms have realized the best way to communicate with the 20-something crowd is via text messaging.

Mobile technology is one key factor that’s driving change. According to Pew Research Center, 56% of American adults own a smartphone, and 34% own a tablet device. In just a couple of years, International Data Corp. predicts more Americans will access the Web with mobile devices than desktop or laptop computers. Bringing this a little closer to home, EC&M’s website tracking indicators support the growth trends on the mobile front in the electrical market. Mobile page views on our website have doubled each of the past three years — currently making up more than 15% of total page views on our site. As mobile technology adoption rates continue to grow, companies looking for qualified job candidates should be modernizing their hiring processes to accommodate those on the go. One Midwest electrical contractor is doing just that by offering a mobile employment application app that’s linked with its applicant tracking system software. For more details on how electrical firms are responding to mobile hiring and recruiting trends, turn to page 18 and read this month’s cover story, “Goin’ Mobile.”

Another key factor that’s forcing the adoption of new recruitment and hiring practices is social media. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide new opportunities to employers and employees alike. Electrical firms are using these platforms to gain visibility in the market, cultivate their image, announce employee awards/ promotions, promote project success stories, and communicate career opportunities. This also allows prospective employees to get a much better handle on the culture within the company and the types of people who work there prior to even inquiring about potential new job opportunities. Social media is also being used by electrical companies to prescreen job candidates. An HR representative or hiring manager can learn a lot about a person without ever even making contact with them. A quick visit to a person’s Facebook page (if open to the public) reveals their interests, hobbies, and personal views. Their LinkedIn profile will likely provide a recap of their job history. Depending on a potential employer’s perception of your online presence, you could either quickly sail to the top of the candidate list or abruptly be eliminated from the running altogether.

It’s no secret that mobile technology has radically changed our personal and professional lives. So if you want to retain and attract top new talent, I suggest you sit down and review your recruiting practices with HR or the appropriate hiring manager to make sure you’re keeping up with your competitors in this fast-paced world that demands seemingly immediate response rates.

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