7 Hiring Trends to Watch for in 2017

2017 is nearly upon us, which means another New Year marked by new trends. The world of hiring will not be immune to change. As the United States economy continues to grow and technology rapidly adapts and evolves, hiring will see a few marked shifts take place. Below, we have compiled seven of the biggest hiring trends to watch for in 2017, and what each trend means for you and your company’s screening and hiring policies.

1.  Testing for specific skills will become more common

Employee turnover is expensive: this statement has been true for years, and it won’t change in 2017. What will change is what companies do to prevent turnover, starting with the interview process. The first step to preventing firings or departures is to hire an employee who is well-qualified for the job and will fit in with the company culture.

Employers have gotten wise to the amount of dishonesty that appears on resumes and are taking steps to make sure that they aren’t hoodwinked by well-phrased lies. One of those steps is the skill assessment portion of the interview process. These assessments will test both soft skills (demeanor, attitude, and emotional intelligence) and hard skills (technical skills or other learned abilities) to determine which applicants are the best fit for the job.

2.  Companies will start requesting more verification checks

Skill assessments aren’t the only safeguard that employers will use to prevent bad hires. It’s becoming more common for employers to request verification checks for their top candidates. Over the past decade or so, criminal background checks have become commonplace for most jobs and companies. Now, verification checks are following suit. In 2017, more businesses than ever will look to formally verify the information on their applicants’ resumes, including work history, education, and professional licenses or certifications.

3.  “Boomerang workers” will become more commonplace

According to Forbes, at the beginning of 2015, 76% of companies were willing to rehire former employees. These types of employees—“boomerang workers,” as they are sometimes called—had previously been against policy for nearly half of the companies involved in the Forbes survey. Those statistics not only make it clear that more companies are willing to rehire former workers, but also that there is more interest among employees to return to companies they’ve worked for in the past.

This growth in boomerang employees will likely continue in 2017, leaving businesses to decide what their policies on the matter are. Certainly, businesses can benefit from hiring people who are already familiar with their processes, policies, and teams. Hiring boomerang employees can eliminate some of the cost of hiring, training, and other employee onboarding tasks. However, it’s still important to screen the hire (e.g. run background and verification checks) like you would for any other employee—both for equality’s sake and to protect your company against potential risks.

4.  More workers will be seeking part-time work or contracting opportunities

The rise of the “gig” economy will continue to affect the world of hiring. Many millennial employees like the freedom and convenience of working remotely. Top creatives—from website developers to graphic designers—are using their reputations to demand the same flexibility. Since many companies could benefit from outsourcing certain roles to freelancers or contractors, this trend should lead to some mutually-beneficial results. However, there is no doubt that it will change the makeup of your candidate pools for full-time jobs as well as how you distribute responsibilities throughout your business.

5.  Employee flexibility will become a more valuable perk for recruiting

Not everyone likes the idea of freelancing or working part-time. Indeed, there are still plenty of candidates who would prefer to work in an office environment and collaborate heavily with other employees. Others like the overall stability of full-time opportunities. Even full-timers—not just the ones you are looking to hire but also the ones who already work for you—will seek to bring some of the flexibility of the gig economy into their own jobs.

With the economy on the rise and more jobs available, candidates have the freedom to shop for jobs based on perks and benefits. In other words, don’t be surprised if you see more applicants asking about the number of paid vacation days you offer or your policy on work-from-home days.

6.  Hiring processes will have to move more quickly to be effective

The other way that the growing economy and bustling job market will impact employers in 2017 is that they won’t be able to spend as long on their hiring processes. No candidate wants to wait weeks or months for an employer to offer them a job or process a background check. As a result, your company is going to have to act faster if you want to nail down your top candidates. Finding ways to expedite different steps along the way—from sorting through applications to conducting interviews to running background checks—will be one of the bigger challenges companies will face in 2017. The balancing act will be to speed up these processes without sacrificing the quality control they provide.

7.  Boomer retirements will require major shifts in leadership and management positions

The “Baby Boomer” generation includes people born between 1946 and 1964, which means that even the youngest baby boomers are now in their 50s. Boomers are slowly creeping up on retirement age, which means that more and more executives and managers are going to be heading for the door in 2017. If your company has high-ranking members who are nearing retirement age, it might be time to start thinking about your requirements for their replacements. Whether you plan on promoting from within or hiring from outside the company, choosing new people for these key organizational roles could be one of your biggest hurdles in 2017.

About the Author: 

Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.