Recruiting Trends and Challenges for 2017

By: | Category: Employee Experience

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest report, unemployment remains unchanged in September at 5%, a full 1% less that at this same time last year. For employers, especially in some areas, this means that the labor market remains tight and the challenges recruiters face remain significant. In this post our Employer Solutions/HR Technology group evaluate five trends to expect in 2017.

  1. Employee turnover will continue to grow in many industries.

As the economy continues to grow, skilled employees will seek new opportunities.  Professional and Business Services added 582,000 jobs while health care was not far behind with 445,000 jobs added in 2016.  Employers in those areas especially, should not be surprised if turnover rates increase in 2017.  In tech and other fields, employers are using social media like LinkedIn to advertise open positions and lure skilled employees to work for them.

Baby boomers continue to exit the workforce as they reach retirement age, taking with them skills and experience that recruiter will be hard pressed to replace. Statistics suggest as many as 10,000 baby boomers are leaving the workforce every day.

On the other end of the spectrum, millennials are firmly rooted in the workforce.  However millennial beliefs about longevity with employers can be cause for concern.  According to a recent survey by Deloitte, two thirds of millennials expect to leave their organizations in the next four years.

Finding and retaining skilled individuals to replace current staff or grow the business will continue to be a challenge. Measuring current employee satisfaction, an employee referral program and using social media to recruit will be important tools to reduce turnover.

  1. Recruiters will need to broaden their search for candidates

The job-hunting process has gone digital.  Once on-line applications and posting on job boards were considered supplements to the paper resume.  Now nearly all hiring is done thru digital means.  According to many experts, the traditional resume is being replaced by job seeker’s digital representation of their experiences, skills and interests on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.  Job candidate participation in online communities and discussions can help recruiters assess an applicant’s fit within the organization.  While the traditional emphasis has been strictly on skills and experience, recruiters need to assess a candidate’s willingness to learn new skills and align with company values.

Companies should consider cross-training and internal candidates as opportunities to recruit, often at lower cost and higher employee satisfaction and effectiveness.  Recruiters will want to work closely with HR plans for succession and employee retention.

Millennials and Generation Z (born mid-1990’s to early 2000’s) are coming into the workforce with less interest in the traditional job hunting process.  These ‘passive candidates’ must be sought out by recruiters and coaxed to apply using social media tools and a strong online presence.

  1. The Applicant process needs to be made easier

The online applicant experience can be improved to give applicants a quick and easy process to apply for positions.  The current recruiting climate is a seller’s market and recruiting tools used must give the applicant the information they need to make a decision to apply and then execute.

Recruiting programs will need to be more proactive and communicative with applicants.  Once good applicants are identified at each successive point in the process the employer is being judged. The interview scheduling process; preparedness of the interviewers; timeliness of response; communicating the job offer – even the wording and method of rejecting candidates – must be seamless.  When candidates are considering competitive offers, how they are treated as applicants will be a determining factor in their final choice.

  1. Employer branding will continue to be a focus

Job seekers often begin with the company website when evaluating an employment change.  The career portal needs to communicate the vision and company mission so that job seekers can determine if they will be a good fit with the organization.  Clear job descriptions and application process communicate to job seekers the values employers place on their employees.  Using real employees in website photos and videos can showcase the company culture. Descriptions of benefits and training opportunities within the company will attract job seekers.  Employers will also want to review employer branding websites like Glassdoor to get a feel for how they are perceived online.

  1. Use of analytics to improve recruiting effectiveness

HR in general and recruiting in particular are ready for the ‘Big Data Treatment’ now being applied to other business processes. In the past there has been an emphasis on the ‘people’ aspect of HR and on the ‘gut feeling’ approach to recruiting.  There attitudes are giving way to a more analytical approach.  With the availability of cloud-based systems, the technology and cost requirements for more complex data analysis are no longer insurmountable hurdles.  Time-to-fill and cost-per-hire analytics are a given now, while some organizations are using data analysts to dig deeper into their candidate pools to find individuals with assets that may have been overlooked in initial screening. Applicant\Company compatible values, analysis of competitor talent pools, and hiring follow-up to determine return on investment in human capital are all in the forefront of recruiting analytics. Within the hiring process, analytics can help recruiters sift thru the social media and recruiting data to find candidates. Innovative assessment tools can assist in making hiring decisions.  Recruiting data analysis will better predict successful hires.


While challenges continue to face recruiters in 2017, the tools for better outcomes are readily available and within the reach of even the smallest companies. Scalable, cloud-based solutions like I-Recruit offer HR departments the means to address their branding, job seeker experience and data analysis needs economically and easily.  Integration with Sage HRMS makes candidate on-boarding as seamless and easy as the application process, paving the way for engaged and productive employees for the organization.