The job application process is evolving and shifting away from the traditional CV that has for so long played a central role in the hiring process. Today, new technologies and a focus on the candidates 'suitability' are revolutionising the way companies are selecting and hiring new talent. Here we explore how the job application process is changing and what this means for those currently looking to progress their sporting career.
The process of finding your next job is rapidly changing, in part due to the shifting of power from employers to candidates. The recovery from the pandemic has led to a surge in hiring activity, and the supply of jobs is now greater than the number of available candidates, resulting in a ‘candidate driven market’ becoming a popular term we are seeing in recruitment. If you’re currently applying for new roles, this puts you in a favourable position and provides an increased ability to determine your future career direction. Having more power in the recruitment process means you're better placed to choose the positions you want and which companies you want to work for. It may be that you receive multiple job offers, and a greater degree of choice means you don’t have to settle for roles or companies you’re not passionate about. With this power shift also comes an increased capability to negotiate salary, company benefits and potential career development plans. Preparing in advance for these negotiations is important to ensure you are clear on what you expect from your potential future employer.
"More power in the recruitment process means you're better placed to choose the positions you want and which companies you want to work for."
Talent shortages as a direct result of this new candidate driven market are forcing employers to widen their hiring criteria and potential pools of candidates. Increasing emphasis is now being placed on transferable skills rather than direct experience. Now is great time to transition into the sports industry from other sectors by demonstrating your competency in some of the 'in-demand' sports industry skills, such as analytics, digital transformation and many more. Sports industry organisations are in real need for innovative professionals able to support their future ambitions, and in today's market, candidates from wide ranging backgrounds, experiences and even location, are able to land opportunities that they may consider out of their reach.
Whilst CVs are still a valuable aspect of the application process, we are starting to see recruiters question whether they should be the main focus. From unconscious bias leading to stereotyping in the hiring process, to a lack of ability to convey candidate personality or cultural fit, CVs are arguably becoming somewhat outdated. There is more demand for authenticity in applications, placing greater emphasis on communicating your holistic background and personality and increasingly technology is being used to deliver a more rounded “skills-based” assessment of candidates during recruitment.
"Candidates may need to change how they approach the application process and be prepared for 'new' job application methods going forward."
As a result, companies are changing the digital tools and platforms they use, with some no longer requiring a CV, meaning candidates may need to change how they approach the application process and be prepared for 'new' job application methods going forward. If a cover letter is required, use this to stand out from other applicants and really demonstrate why you’re passionate about working for that sports company in particular. Think about why you think your specific skills and experience make you the right fit, and how you could add value by joining their team. Furthermore, the use of video interviews has increased by 57%, and pre-interview assessments are now often a requirement. If these methods are used, make sure you’re prepared and practice beforehand. There are a range of online resources that can help you do this and will make sure you’re better placed to successfully complete them and secure the job you want.
Artificial intelligence is infiltrating its way further into the recruitment process and is something candidates should be mindful of when completing applications. Natural language processing is increasingly being used to initially screen or assess candidates to quickly analyse applications for keywords and content deemed relevant to the job description, with 98% of large organisations now using automated systems.
Companies are also increasingly using artificial intelligence recruitment platforms, such as Applied, to anonymise applications and use predictive, skills-based assessments instead. For those wishing to apply for new roles, this highlights the importance of thoroughly reading the job descriptions to make sure your application is tailored to the specific role you’re applying for, to increase your chance of successfully securing an interview.
With 76% of candidates explicitly looking for what makes a company attractive and 55% of job seekers abandoning applications after reading negative reviews, employer branding is becoming an increasingly popular aspect of today’s recruitment process as companies compete for candidates’ attention. Mission, values and culture are being increasingly showcased as companies are understanding the importance of creating a positive first impression for potential job applicants. Therefore, if you’re currently going through the job application process, make sure to leverage this to your advantage.
Take time to research potential employers you’re interested in applying to so you can decide whether they’re aligned to the values and culture you are looking for in an employer. When looking to pursue your sports industry career, think about the things that are most important to you. For example, does the sports organisation you're applying to work with or partner with sports brands/events/organisations you’re passionate about? Are they an advocate for diversity and inclusion in sport? Does the company structure and its policies suit the way you want to work? Whatever it is, build an understanding as to what it would be like at the company and if it's somewhere you would likely thrive and ultimately achieve success. Identifying the right company for the right reasons will strengthen your application as the alignment will be evident and valued from both sides.
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