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Such is the rate of change in hiring practices: If you’ve been out of the job market for five years – which is the average amount of time people spend in a job in the U.S. – you may have fallen out touch. Your expectations for how things should operate in the job market will probably be outdated, and you’ll be the equivalent of a job-seeking dinosaur!

I exaggerate – We haven’t invented robot interviewers quite yet! However, we no longer have to decades for sweeping changes in hiring paradigms. These days, such changes are practically yearly events.

This means that, if you return to the job market in 2016 – even if you’ve only been out of the game for a year or two – what you find will look very different from what you left.

Here are a few pointers to help you align yourself with the new realities of the job market:

1. Hiring Processes Are Taking Longer

You’d be forgiven for thinking that, given the current speed of business, the hiring process would move at a lightning-quick pace. This, however, is a mistaken assumption: data from Glassdoor shows that interview processes are slowing dow. The average hiring process takes roughly 23 days to complete, compared to just 13 days four years ago. Be prepared to wait a little longer to get a job.

2. Screening Processes Are Tougher

It was never easy to get a job, but between 2010 and 2014, it became a little harder. According to the same Glassdoor report cited above, screening processes intensified in this period. For example:

  1. Background checks have increased from 25 percent usage in 2010 to 42 percent today.
  2. Skills test usage has increased from 16 percent to 23 percent.
  3. Drug test usage increased from 13 percent to 23 percent.
  4. Personality test usage has increased from 12 percent in 2010 to 18 percent today.

So, if you are coming back to the job market in 2016, expect a tougher screening process that includes more skills verification and cultural fit assessments.

3. You Are Much More Likely to Be Interviewed Via Video

Research from the Association of Graduate Recruiters found that video interviewing has become far more common in recent times. It was used by 6.3 percent of employers four years ago, but today it is used by 29.8 percent of employers.

DeskIf your last interview occurred half a decade ago or longer, you were job searching in the pre-video age. Expect it to be different today. This means you’ll need to be prepared to deliver your best performance not just in the face-to-face format, but also in the video interview format as well.

4. It’s Much Easier to Work for Yourself, Thanks to the Gig Economy

When you left the job market four or five years ago, online gig marketplaces places like Uber and Elance were just getting started. The traditional job market was still dominant – that is, you looked for full-time employment or started your own business. There was no in between.

Now, there is very much an in between, and it’s known as the gig economy. You don’t have to just get another job or start a business. You now have a third incoming-generating option available to you: joining an online gig marketplace and using it to find work on a gig-by-gig/project-by-project basis.

5. There Are Fewer Permanent Jobs Available

Research tells us that over the past five years, companies have become increasingly reliant on flexible labor – e.g., temps, casuals, part-timers, and virtual workers. This means it will probably be harder to find a traditional, in-office, full-time job. You may need to adjust your expectations and be willing to take up a series of temp jobs as a sustainable, if not completely desirable, career path.

As you can see, the job market has changed quite dramatically in the last few years. If you want to find gainful employment and secure your place in the modern work ecosystem, you may need to update both your approach to finding a job and your expectations for what a job looks like.



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