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What 85% of Tech Jobs look for in an Applicant

Published: 06/18/2022

Whether it be Design, Development, Project Management, or even HR, there is an overarching statistic that holds true in the entirety of the tech industry. According to Linkedin, 85% of jobs are filled through networking in some form or another. Additionally, CNBC released a survey that found that 70% of jobs are unpublished on job boards and are entirely reliant on referrals. Getting references is ultimately what sets successful tech workers apart from those struggling to get their foot in the door. After landing your first position, you will have access to a myriad of internal resources and a more expansive network of connections to get you the next job or promotion. However, it is landing this first job that takes the longest and is where many people burn out and take long breaks. This is also the phase where networking is the most crucial.

How the pandemic created this new hiring trend

Before 2020, networking was done through in-person events and it was at these events that business relationships were formed and job-seekers were able to increase their outreach. Nevertheless, the Covid pandemic put millions out of work and prevented industry professionals from meeting in person safely.

Covid also decreased the number of jobs available and a stigma against professionals who were laid off proved to be detrimental to reaching their career goals. LinkedIn states that after 2020, only 42% of professionals reached out to their network for job opportunities and only 35% have made introductions to new connections.

Yet the industry began to acclimate and following the initial hit of the pandemic, there has been a resurgence in tech jobs being filled through referrals and internal networking. Even though the rest of the world seems to be going back to normal, the new default in the tech industry is the predominance of networking in job acquisition.

Networking’s importance in the workplace

Oxford Economics posted a study on networking in the workplace. It found that the closing rate for meetings was 40%. This is a significant statistic, showing that nearly half of the time, successful agreements were created in face-to-face meetings. Furthermore, 75% of customers prefer in-person meetings, which further demonstrates the importance of these types of meetings.

Networking in the workplace is not limited to closing deals with clients. As you develop relationships with colleagues in your department and other divisions, you should always be on the lookout for mentors and opportunities for professional development. It is in this scenario that new job opportunities that are not publicly advertised are ripe for your taking. This is where we find 70% of unpublished jobs and it is your chance to take advantage of these opportunities.

Networking’s importance for your career

Networking is vital for those who want to move up in their career. According to LinkedIn, 70% of professionals hired in 2016 already had a preexisting connection at their company. It is still possible to get hired through cold applications but speaking straight from experience and from testimonials, it takes an incredibly long time to get a job this way. It is mostly due to luck and the very best designers and developers I know have tried cold applications and were unsuccessful for months on end.

It goes without saying that networking is important during your job search. Hiring managers value employees who can communicate fluently and are able to verbalize their processes and methodology. Particularly if you are trying to make a career change, your professional network can support you by helping you find connections in the industry you are breaking into. You must take your time to build relationships with those in your professional circle so that when it comes to switching jobs or looking for work, you already have a supportive infrastructure that you can tap into at any time.

The networking mindset

There is a negative stigma around networking. Business students, tech professionals, and even executives believe that networking has an artificial aspect to it, and doing it makes them feel “fake”. But up to this point, you should already be aware that networking is a necessity, backed by a massive amount of research and evidence.

Another reason why networking is challenging is the fact that professionals do not have the time to keep up with their networks. LinkedIn released a survey that found that 49% of participants said that they did not have the time to develop business relationships. Another supporting article by HubSpot discovered that 41% of people who do network want to network more frequently but simply lack the time.

The networking mindset begins like any other drive to learn. You need to specifically set a time and schedule for this task. Networking is not something that you simply do in your free time, as we have seen, it is a highly important part of career development and should be treated as such. Sometimes it can help to envision your future. Where do you see yourself in 3 years and how can you leverage your network to help you reach your goals. Then set a specific schedule to reach out to people and expand your horizons. With the world opening up now, in-person meetings are much more accessible, but the preeminence of networking online has set a new precedent in the post-covid era.

What this means for the future of recruiting

In order to get a leg up on the competition, you need to understand the concept of recruiting. As recruiting becomes more and more automated, job seekers are becoming more and more reliant on luck, and recruiting becomes a numbers game rather than specifically sourcing out the most qualified employees. Cecelia Harris, Senior Human Resources Consultant with HR consulting firm Arc Human Capital says that “75% of the candidates hired this year gave come from career boards.” This shows that the unemployment situation driven by the pandemic has spurred millions of job seekers to once again search for positions through traditional channels. It is in this environment that job seekers with referrals will be able to leverage their advantage over the throng that uses only cold applications.

Closing Thoughts

I initially entered the tech industry with the intuition that hard work was predominantly the factor that contributed to workers’ success. However, it is not as potent as I originally thought. Networking and soft skills are starting to bridge the gap between recruiters and job seekers, especially with the advent of hybrid and fully remote jobs. I was originally part of a group that hated networking, believing it to be artificial and was primarily done for self-gain. However, networking is dependent on the mindset, you need to talk to people with the intent to learn. By simply shifting your mindset, you’ll be more excited about networking and become more effective at building relationships that are beneficial for everyone.

Read More: medium

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