Recruiting Trends for 2017

The dust is still settling on the big moments of 2016, but here’s what we think is in store for recruiting in 2017 – creativity in technology use, hiring practices, and employee compensation.

Creative Technology

This probably sounds like old news since innovations in technology are always making headlines somewhere, but technology continues to bring changes to the recruiting world in a big way.

Candidate journey mapping is a way of illustrating and analyzing the experience of would-be employees as they initially come into contact with a company and eventually progress (or don’t progress) to full employment. This visual mapping tracks every interaction of candidates with the company and then proceeds to weigh the effectiveness of each step in the marketing and hiring process; initial advertising and marketing, job application submittal, phone calls and interviewing process, and onboarding procedures are all evaluated.  

Now imagine the change in mapping since the explosion of technology into the recruiting world – online advertising, mobile marketing, virtual interviews and job training… all of which now fall under the gaze of big data – and you have today’s recruiting environment.

The number of touchpoints candidates have with a company before being fully hired has soared. More data exists than most businesses have time or money to analyze, though the race to come up with new systems for data analysis fosters a perpetual churning out of new product.

Recruitment could become an entirely digital affair, with computers locating candidates, measuring suitability, conducting video interviews and testing, hiring candidates with the highest likelihood of success, and training new employees via virtual reality technology or more basic online onboarding programs.

The real trick continues to be finding the best ways to use technology – ways that most effectively facilitate the human element of recruiting. The human connection is still what builds a business; no computer program can replace the human ability to perceive emotion, understand motivation, or empathize with and respond to struggles and successes. No computer program can give you the information you glean from shaking someone’s hand or conversing with them person-to-person.

2017, we predict, will see more struggle to harness the power of technology, striving for a potent combination of technological leg work and human guiding and deciding. And for businesses who are struggling to pay for this latest-and-greatest technology, looking to bigger corporations to see what works and does not work could be the wisest move.

Creative Hiring & Creative Pay

This change makes a lot of parents nervous. Their college graduate calls home to talk about his or her amazing new job opportunity, and a round of wise-parent questions leaves the parents fearful and the graduate discouraged. The job is only for 18 months, and there is no guarantee or even hint of future employment after that time. There is a benefits package, but it’s not health insurance; it’s a gym membership, complimentary lunchtime catering service, and a Monday-Thursday work week.

And it’s exactly what their son or daughter wants.

With unemployment down and US economy up, analysts are declaring a candidate’s market. Fewer applicants for open positions means that applicants can be choosier. Companies are putting forth greater efforts to appeal to candidates, and what today’s candidates claim to want most, apart from competitive pay, is to fit into the culture of a job.

This movement has far-reaching ramifications and a whole host of new buzzwords. Improving candidate experience, advertising company culture and hiring for cultural fit, and matching candidates with companies who share core values, are all smaller conversations that fit into a larger one.

Companies are working as never before to market their brand – to define themselves in a way that will attract the right candidates. Candidates are looking for insight into what makes companies tick; they want to know what working for a company will look like, and if the core values of the company will match up with their own in a way that allows for long-term happiness.  

But let’s talk about “long-term”. Why are more candidates signing on to the “gig economy”? What is attractive about a short-term commitment?

For one thing, this allows both employee and employer to test drive a relationship before committing for the long haul. It takes time to see what a workplace is really like – what is required to promote, what behaviors are most rewarded, what the attitude of supervisors and coworkers is toward the work, what training looks like. Short-term jobs allow employees to complete the task for which they were hired; they aren’t stuck in a bad relationship with the pressure of poor references if they quit to look for something else.

Also, with technology working to make distance work more and more possible, the work-from-home or flex-scheduling options are looking increasingly attractive to millennial candidates. Why come to the office to work on a computer if you can be just as productive at home in pajamas with a cup of not-Folgers coffee? Advancements in technology also facilitate more freelance work, as the right combination of short-term gigs can build a career that better fits into individual lifestyles.

2017 will see businesses weighing the effects of non-traditional hiring and compensation.  

Are freelance or short-term workers worth the hassle of training and turnover, and can these costs be justified by fewer deadweight hires or long-term insurance plans? What is the real cost of added job perks (like gyms and catering services and flexible scheduling), and how does this fit with less interest in traditional benefits (like health insurance and retirement plans)? Does offering employees a more flexible schedule allow for an increase or decrease in productivity, and how does that balance out with employee satisfaction and decreased turnover rates?
Industry standards are fluctuating, as businesses pick and choose which new trends to try and which to toss. Recruiting departments may need to look to professional recruitment agencies to help them feel out new industry standards for compensation and benefits. Professional recruiters can also offer insight on how businesses can improve their marketing, communicate their culture to potential employees, and understand how the array of recent trends could help or harm their business specifically.

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