HR Experts on Their Hiring and Recruiting Predictions for 2018

Looking to increase staff in the new year? Learning what's on the horizon in terms of hiring and recruiting can help you attract top-quality employees.
December 18, 2017

If you're planning on growing your company in 2018, hiring and recruiting are probably on your to do list. In many cases, attracting and retaining the best talent is the key to elevating your business to the next level.

Before you begin the hiring and recruiting process, it may help to look at the state of the hiring and recruiting landscape. What are job seekers looking for today? And what's required for luring top talent to your business?

The following human resources experts weigh in on what to expect in the coming year when it comes to hiring and recruiting.

A Highly Competitive Hiring and Recruiting Landscape

According to recent reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate recently dropped to 4.1 percent. 

"The U.S. economy is essentially at full employment," says Nick Murphy, CEO of Mid-America Careers. "That means that the top talent your company is targeting are almost certainly employed elsewhere."

Pete Lamson, CEO of JazzHR, agrees. 

A potential employee's impressions of your organization will directly affect whether the person accepts your job offer.

—Leela Srinivasan, CMO, Lever

"Employers should expect and prepare for 2018 to be one of the most competitive hiring markets that we've ever seen," Lamson says. "Companies looking to recruit top talent must be mindful of the increasingly applicant-favored market as they approach the new year."

What Are Employees Looking for in a Job?

In order to lure top talent away from their current jobs and snap up desirable employees in between positions, it helps to understand what matters most to job seekers.

"Talented professionals have alternatives," says Murphy. "In addition to competitive compensation, they're choosing where they want to work from a whole host of options.

In addition to a healthy salary, potential employees seek the following top three attributes.

1. Flexibility to work where and when they want.

The percentage of job candidates citing flexible work options continues to rise every year, believes Lamson. 

"Nowadays, a majority of workers say they don't need to sit at a desk to get work done. Many younger employees, including Millennials, expect flexibility, because the technology they've grown up with has liberated them from offices, desks and traditional work hours," he says. "Flexibility continues to be valued as a benefit similar to health coverage, vacation time and parental leave."

When interviewing, it’s a good idea to ask candidates what traits matter most to them in a job, adds Andrew Machota, CEO of New Town Connections and a former executive recruiter.

“If a job candidate mentions family, flexibility and scheduling, the possibility of working from home is most likely something that would be a great incentive to this candidate,” he says. “If the person is a millennial who enjoys spending time volunteering and traveling, consider offering ample vacation time or the ability to work remotely.

"The more company owners get to know their candidates," he continues, "the better job they can do offering custom fit benefits that match what job seekers really want.

2. Work within a company culture they believe in.

"Job seekers want to work at companies with cultures they believe in amidst environments where they can make a difference," says Kerry Alison Wekelo, managing director of human resources and operations for Actualize Consulting and author of Culture Infusion.

"Aligning their career growth with missions they can get passionate about in an environment conducive to their work-life balance is critical to today's job seekers," Murphy agrees.

The dynamics of the work world have changed considerably, which has increased expectations, adds Leela Srinivasan, CMO of Lever, which produces recruiting software. 

"Businesses have never been more transparent," she says. "Thanks to the internet, it's easy to peer behind the scenes at companies you're interviewing with to see what their employees and customers say."

In the midst of all this transparency, today's job seekers want to feel some connection to the place they work. 

"Potential employees are searching for alignment and meaning," says Srinivasan. "During hiring and recruiting, candidates want to feel like they will belong and have every opportunity to succeed. And the better candidates will want to have high impact."

3. Specialized positions designed just for them.

"Job seekers aren't just looking for a 'job,' they want a career," notes Andrea Lechner-Becker, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Six Bricks, an experience-based learning platform. 

"Potential employees want career advancement featuring highly specialized roles with specific job descriptions and titles," she says. "New employees are too fickle to finesse a role or wait for a better fit. They'll just go somewhere else that 'gets them.'"

Tips for Effective Hiring and Recruiting

To gear up for the competitive hiring market and help ensure you land the most desirable employees, it's a good idea to improve your hiring and recruiting processes. The following tips may help.

Streamline hiring and recruiting. "It's easy to get bogged down with repetitive tasks or overloaded with resumes. If your goal is to reduce the time spent on administrative tasks so you can focus on potential employees, appropriate software is the key," suggests Lamson.

Improve speed-to-hire. "Long, drawn-out recruitment processes are one reason candidates reject job offers," says Lamson. "They might accept another offer, lose interest or even decide your organization isn't as professional as they would like. Make things run more quickly by ensuring that your hiring and recruiting processes stay focused."

Ensure diversity. It's advisable to examine your hiring processes for unconscious bias, as diversity in the workforce continues to become a top priority for employees and employers.

"Consider if your job postings and application forms could prevent people with diverse backgrounds from applying," says Lamson. "For instance, many companies are removing gendered and exclusive language from applications, while others are using 'blind resumes' that don't require name, age or gender."

Employ predictive analytics. "During 2017, we saw predictive analytics emerge as the next frontier," says Lamson. "Rather than relying on gut instinct, recruiters are using a more scientific approach to decision-making. This is transforming HR operations and boosting business outcomes by enabling better hiring decisions and reducing employee turnover."

Make the recruitment experience as pleasant as possible. "When the balance of power rests with job seekers, pulling off an incredible candidate experience is vital," believes Srinivasan. "Instead of showering potential employees with swag, consider that it's more about how you make candidates feel when they interact with your company. A potential employee's impressions of your organization will directly affect whether the person accepts your job offer."

Read more articles on hiring & HR.

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