Candidate Experience

Looking Ahead: Hiring Trends For 2018

From recruitment automation to improving the candidate experience, to onboarding and beyond - these are the top hiring trends for 2018.

Hot on the heels of our Talent Management Trends For 2018 article, it’s time to look at the hiring side of things! There’s a lot of buzz about what’s going to be most effective through the year, and we’ve found some common themes in many of the articles that predict 2018’s hiring trends. Let’s dive in:

Talent Acquisition

Of course, you’ve probably heard by now that more and more processes are going to be automated in the coming months and years. Experts predict that candidate sourcing will benefit from automation as well. For SHRM, Tim Sackett writes “sourcing technology, combined with artificial intelligence, is currently better than about 90 percent of people working as sources in organizations.” That’s a pretty impressive number, and one that indicates that this trend could pick up steam quite quickly.

Getting more specific into candidate sourcing, Sackett discusses employee referrals in the same article, noting that referrals are one of the strongest recruitment channels available to organizations. As employers continue to see value in referrals, and demand for candidates via referrals increases, Sackett believes that it’s only natural to automate the process. If it hasn’t started already, expect this discussion to grow in significance throughout 2018. You might find that automating the employee referral process streamlines an already effective source of candidates.

Pro Tip: It’s true – benchmarking can improve talent discovery. Here’s how.

Speaking of candidates, Josh Millet writes for Forbes that technology for approaching passive candidates is changing. “These days, it’s much different from simply sifting through resumes on a career website. The advent of social media has made getting in touch with candidates easier than ever before.” Perhaps happening in conjunction with the rise of the gig economy, it’s becoming easier to use social channels to reach out to potential candidates and determine if they’re looking for new opportunities.

Candidate Experience

We wrote a number of articles through 2017 on the topic of candidate experience, and the topic seems to be trending upwards for 2018. iCIMS identified a number of vital statistics to help HR professionals prepare for 2018, and these two might be the most important:

  • 58% of those with a prior negative impression of the hiring organization said they would not apply again in the future.
  • People who are satisfied with their candidate experiences are 38% more likely to accept a job offer.

Pro Tip: Candidates deserve a seamless hiring experience. Here’s how to offer it to them.

So clearly, candidate experience is growing in importance. But what can be done to improve it?

Emily Fearnley at Recruitics believes that one of the key areas to focus on is mobile. Advancements in power and storage capacity, mixed with a nearly ubiquitous network connection, allow professionals to use their smartphone or tablet as a primary device. That means more stuff than ever is being done through mobile devices – including job applications. Fearnley writes “you can probably start to see why mobile should be top of mind. As a result, we expect this to force businesses to once and for all optimize their mobile candidate experiences, if they haven’t done so already.”

Obviously, a quality candidate experience includes meeting candidates where they already are – and if they’re on their phones, the hiring process should be mobile-friendly, beginning to end. If you haven’t started ensuring that each stage of your recruitment funnel is optimized for mobile devices, 2018 is the year to make it happen.


The first step, it seems, for defining onboarding trends in 2018 is to accurately define what onboarding is. Employee engagement company Kronos recently noted “orientation is not onboarding. Organizations place too much emphasis on new hire paperwork, not enough on their long-term success.” Of course, it’s vital to get documents signed and help new hires find their way around the office, but that’s not the full onboarding experience. In fact, that same report from Kronos has more compelling statistics:

“More than a third of organizations (37 percent) say onboarding lasts from just few hours to only one week; a quarter (24 percent) use a month-long onboarding process; while a mere 10 percent view onboarding as a year-long or ongoing activity.”

Clearly, there’s a need for more robust onboarding processes. So how does that happen?

Some of the up-and-coming methods include strategies we previously covered in our Talent Management Trends For 2018 article. These strategies include leveraging AI and gamification to guide new hires through the onboarding process, helping them gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their new role.

Sujan Patel, for SAP’s WorkConnect service, writes that social learning will start trending in 2018 as well. Patel references a quote from Paula Clapon, in which she states “as part of their onboarding and engagement strategies, HR managers will probably turn to social learning to support employee development. That means personalized content, delivered when and where employees prefer it to support formal and informal learning.” Expect more discussion this year around how to leverage the tools that employees are already comfortable with, to ensure they make the most of their onboarding experience. After all, a more engaged employee is more likely to stick around long-term.

Finding candidates, giving them a good experience, bringing them aboard – there’s a lot going on in 2018 for your hiring process. Have you been hearing about something big coming in 2018? Let us know in the comments!

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