By Sjoerd Gehring, Global VP of Talent Acquisition and Employee Experience at Johnson & Johnson
Applying for a job is no easy task. When candidates submit a job application, it often feels as though it has disappeared into the hiring “black box.” Not only are candidates not given any information regarding their application, but they have to wait to hear back—often for a very long time. I recognize how incredibly frustrating this could be, but I assure you, you’re not alone. At Johnson & Johnson, we asked over 100,000 candidates what their biggest frustrations were. Over and over again, candidates told us that they hate the lack of control, the feeling of confusion and the way in which the process often feels so impersonal and ‘transactional.’ They told us they want transparency, progress updates, helpful content and real-time support.
At J&J, we tackled the challenge head-on. We embarked on a journey to re-imagine the hiring experience—and that’s exactly why we created a new candidate experience platform—Shine—designed to give candidates, control of their job search and make the experience more engaging. Candidates can log in to Shine after applying, and receive real-time status updates—along with career-advice articles and videos corresponding to each stage. And if they still feel like they need to talk to someone, that’s available through our Twitter handle, @JNJShine, where a member of the Talent Acquisition team is always available to give recruitment advice and answer questions.
While we continue to make the hiring experience better for our candidates, I wanted to share with you some tips that can help you differentiate yourself, while minimizing your chances of getting lost in the shuffle.
1. Engage with the company you want to work for on social media.
There’s nothing we love more than to see candidates who are just as excited about our company and our culture as we are. One of the ways you can make your interactions more meaningful both virtually and in person is by following and engaging with a company’s social media content. Not only does this give you great and non-traditional talking points at a career fair, but shows us your enthusiasm. You can even take things a step further by tweeting at a company. Many companies have their own twitter handle, monitored by their talent acquisition team, where you can learn more about opportunities and the latest company news. (Ours is @JNJCareers).
2. Connect with a mentor.
There’s no better way to understand a company or a role than to connect with someone who works there. Sometimes a great starting point is to contact your career center for a mentor recommendation. Whether you shadow someone at their job, have a brief phone conversation, or message them—it’s easy to find a willing mentor with all the technology available to us today. At J&J, we wanted to make the process easier for University students. That’s why we created a unique mobile app for both Apple and Android—BE VITAL—that matches students with J&J employees who have a similar background. University students are then able to connect with their mentor to direct message about topics, including establishing a personal brand, interview tips, and understanding a potential career path within our company.
3. Read career-related advice.
The more you educate yourself on a topic, the more informed you become. There’s an infinite amount of information available online–from advice on how to answer tricky interview questions to how to negotiate a job offer and everything in between. I recommend subscribing to career-focused sites and newsletters so that you can read relevant content delivered straight to your inbox. (Some of our favorites are WayUp, The Muse and of course GradLeaders).
As tedious applying for jobs can be, I encourage you to think positively and not to get discouraged throughout the whole hiring experience. I highly recommend engaging with a company through social media, connecting with a mentor and learning new career-related tips to maximize your chances of landing your dream job.
I hope we can cross paths along the way. To learn more about careers at Johnson & Johnson, visit our website: http://www.careers.jnj.com/
Sjoerd Gehring is the Global VP of Talent Acquisition, leading the global Talent Acquisition and Talent Mobility organization at Johnson & Johnson. He oversees J&J’s Employee Experience efforts as well as their Millennial employee resource group. Gehring is a regular contributor to TheMuse.com and has been featured on Forbes, Fastcompany, Inc. & Business Insider.