How Talent Looked in 2017 – and What to Expect for 2018

How Talent Looked in 2017 and What to Expect in 2018

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2017 was a great year for many things, and the job market was one of them! With record unemployment rates, there are still an estimated 6.2 million open jobs in the United States, according CNN Money.


What does this mean for employers?


This means fierce competition for qualified candidates, creating what has definitely become a “candidate’s market” in some industries. With the increasing need for talent, this has weighed on existing employees, as salary levels have remained relatively flat.


Employers are becoming well aware that they not only have to create a positive candidate experience, but must also get creative in their retention efforts for their current workforce. With potential candidates looking to sites such as before interviewing with a company, creating a positive employer brand is critical at all levels.


So, where do we find the necessary talent to keep our businesses running, and what trends have shaped the way we do so this year?


Talent Trends of 2017


2017 has been a game-changing year for those looking to find and hire talent! Here are some of the greatest trends that have made headlines this year:


  • AI, or Artificial Intelligence, has made its way to the recruiting scene. If you haven’t heard about AI yet, you will! According to, it is smart software with the ability to learn on its own and grow more effective over time. It is becoming the new trend in recruiting with software such as Arya – performing such duties as sorting through resumes or social media profiles, to keeping candidates informed of their status in the interview process. Other software, such as HireVue, analyzes the vocal tone or facial expressions of candidates in phone or video interviews. It may have been in the experimentation phase until now, but look for AI to make its way to a company near you in the near future!
  • Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn changed the dynamic of the platform forever. Some of you may not have noticed it, but if you use LinkedIn to find talent (or for lead generation), you saw a HUGE change in 2017. Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in mid-2016, but the “new and improved” (and highly monetized) version of LinkedIn made its debut in 2017. The Sales Navigator, LinkedIn Recruiter, and LinkedIn Recruiter Lite became separate platforms, with bells and whistles such as organization tools (projects), saved templates for outreach, the ability to send bulk InMail messages, and time limits on responses. LinkedIn Recruiter also allows collaboration between team members on various projects, and insight to candidate preferences, such as whether they are interested in hearing about opportunities. Most of the new features have made the recruiting process easier, and are user-friendly, but do come at a price. With an average 20-30% increase per user, you definitely pay for convenience!


  • changed its model from pay per contact to a subscription model. Many have not seen’s change just yet, but as of January 2018, the world’s most popular job site will have a different pricing model. will continue to be free to search the resume database, but in order to contact candidates, it will no longer be $1 per contact. The new subscription model will be approximately $250 per month for 100 contacts. There is a positive side to this, however. Subscribers will earn contact “credits” when a candidate responds to an outreach by a subscriber. Since the response rate is, on average, over 40%, this is good news for bulk users! Plus, any contacts not used in one month will roll over for up to six months.

Look for Artificial Intelligence at a company near you in 2018 and beyond. Click To Tweet


  • ZipRecruiter has entered the recruiting scene in a big way. Gone by the wayside are some of the larger job sites, such as publicly traded ( has already passed them up) and CareerBuilder. Enter ZipRecruiter. This site is easy, nimble, and offers at least three free job posting slots with a subscription. Subscribers are not forced into binding annual contracts, either. If your recruiting load goes down, you can suspend your subscription and start it back up again when you need it. ZipRecruiter understands their value, however. In 2017, their annual subscription more than tripled in price – from ~$600/year, to ~$2000/year. Still inexpensive for a job board subscription – you bet.


  • California law AB 168 is changing, and will forever change the way we look at compensation. If you aren’t familiar with AB 168, the California law passed on October 12th of this year, pay close attention. This is a ground-breaking law for equal pay, but the consequences could be far-reaching. The law bans any employer in the state of California from inquiring, directly or indirectly, about a candidate’s current compensation package. This includes, salary, benefits, bonuses, or any other compensation a candidate may receive. It prohibits the employer from making a hiring decision based on salary requirements; they may only refer to the salary range given to the position.

    This is a great move for salary equality, but leaves an open door for dishonesty among potential hires. Expect this law to set the forefront for other states and countries in 2018 and beyond.


2018 Trends for Talent – What Can We Expect?


Based on the astronomical changes in talent for 2017, expect to see more of the same in 2018. The war for talent will continue to heat up. Companies will be in battle, not only to hire the best candidates, but to keep their star employees. Engagement and retention strategy will combine forces with the employer branding trend to convince high achievers to stay put.


Look for a movement to not only retain, but improve the treatment of employees as a whole. With the sexual harassment topic out in the open, not only in Hollywood, but also in the workplace, tolerance for inappropriate behavior will be at an all-time low.


Companies will not be willing to risk lawsuits and bad press, so will attack harassment of any kind head-on in 2018. This has already sent “good old boys clubs” running for cover and shaking in their boots. With high-profile celebrities, television icons, and movers and shakers falling from grace, people have realized that no one is exempt. “Behave yourself or face the consequences” will be the new motto, regardless of industry.


Artificial intelligence will continue to make its mark in improving the hiring process, and HR departments will begin to embrace the convenience and efficiency, instead of fearing their replacement.


Finally, salary equality will continue to emerge in importance across the nation and world. Hopefully the new law will only yield positive effects on this critical topic.


What have your greatest challenges been in 2017? What do you hope happens in 2018? We’d love to hear from you!


Here’s wishing you a healthy and prosperous New Year, filled with great hires!

 How Talent Looked in 2017 and What to Expect for 2018
by Natalie Lemons

Natalie Lemons is the Founder and President of Resilience Group, LLC, and The Resilient Recruiter and Co-Founder of Need a New Gig. She specializes in the area of Executive Search and services a diverse group of national and international companies, focusing on mid to upper-level management searches in a variety of industries. For more articles like this, follow her blog. Resilient Recruiter is an Amazon Associate.

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