3 Recruiting Trends Every Job Seeker Should Look Out for in 2018

February 12
4 min read

New year, new hiring tactics.

As is common, 2018 will see employers adopting new technologies and strategies in order to win the war for talent – which only grows fiercer the lower unemployment drops.

As a job seeker, you’d do well to keep tabs on employers, recruiters, and the changes they’re making to their recruiting processes in 2018. If you know what to expect, you can use the latest hiring trends to your advantage.

Here are three trends that will be particularly prominent this year, as well as some advice on how to make the most of them:

1.  The Next Recruiter You Talk to May Be a Chatbot

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While artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic since I started writing about recruiting in 2013, 2017 was the year it became inescapable. I’m not exaggerating when I say I received at least one email a day last year from people who wanted to talk about AI in recruiting.

The AI craze will only grow stronger this year, and it’s not hard to see why. Firstly, AI is advancing every day – and each new advancement makes it more and more accessible to the average HR department and recruiting firm. 

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly: AI can take a lot of work off of recruiters’ plates, allowing them to focus on more strategic and creative work like cultivating rich talent pipelines and locating highly specialized talent.

AI most commonly manifests in the recruiting process as the machine-learning algorithms used to rank candidates, match resumes to jobs, and so on. However, chatbots like Mya are the hot new trend. I expect will see these chatbots become more common in 2018 – perhaps to the point where the next recruiter with whom you speak is actually a chatbot.

How to Use This to Your Advantage

The companies behind recruiting chatbots like to market them as candidate-friendly resources. The chatbot is here to answer all your questions, whenever you need them answered!

That’s true, but it’s only half the picture. See, chatbots are super judgmental. While they’re answering your questions, they’re also analyzing your responses and gathering information about you based on what you say. The chatbots use this information to assess how good a fit you might be for a role.

That means you have to be smart about your interactions with chatbots. Talk to them the same way you’d talk to a hiring manager during an interview: with genuine enthusiasm and an emphasis on how your skills will meet the company’s needs.

2.  Need a New Job? Call Your Old Employers

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Hope you haven’t burnt too many bridges with previous employers. 2018 may be the year you need them.

According to MediaMath COO, Jenna Griffith, more and more employers will be looking to hire so-called “boomerang employees” this year. A boomerang employee is someone who used to work for a company, left that company for a period of time, and then was hired again by that company for another role at a later date. 

One major factor driving the turn to boomerang employees is the falling unemployment rate. With fewer options available in the market, employers have to get creative to find new talent. Sometimes, the best new talent is actually old talent.

Plus, as Griffith points out, boomerang employees “are already very knowledgeable about [a company’s] culture and have the added benefit of injecting new, up-to-date insights from their time outside the company.”

How to Use This to Your Advantage

If you’re in the market for a new job in 2018, start by calling up your previous employers. Some of them would likely love to have you back. Others may be a little more skeptical; in that case, remember Griffith’s words and pitch yourself as someone who already fits the culture with the added benefit of experience outside the organization.  

3.  Employers Are Ready to Woo You

According to Rachel Barker and Gunnar Schrah of Qualtrics, today’s “progressive organizations are leading a shift away from simple employee engagement to a more holistic employee experience approach.”

In recruiting terms, this means employers are recognizing that hiring is not a one-way street; rather, it’s a dynamic process in which the employer was to woo the candidate as much as the candidate has to woo the employer.

As a result, companies are adopting comprehensive employee experience programs that engage potential employees from the very start of the hiring process.

How to Use This to Your Advantage

Prepare to demand more from employers in 2018. You don’t want to be unreasonable, of course, but you do want to keep an eye on what the top employers are doing to attract and retain candidates. 

What kinds of perks, benefits, and development opportunities are companies using? Familiarize yourself with what’s the norm for your industry, as well as how companies are going above and beyond. This research can inform your wish list for potential employers. When you hit the negotiation stage, you can use competitors’ employee experience programs to bolster your demands, whatever they may be.

While none of the three trends outlined above are brand new, they are gaining currency with today’s recruiters and HR departments. If you recognize how the hiring landscape has been changed by these trends, you’ll be able to more easily navigate the job market and land the role of your dreams.