Note: Respondents were asked to name their top reason. Only five most popular responses are shown, so the percentages do not add up to 100. Also, responses are shown only from respondents who said that they were able to work from home more than one day per month.SOURCE: McKinsey Global Institute analysis
The future of hiring
What to keep in mind when you’re planning your hiring strategy for 2024
In today’s rapidly evolving job market, the future of recruiting is undergoing a profound transformation. As technology advances and the expectations of both employers and job seekers evolve, traditional hiring methods are giving way to innovative approaches that promise to reshape the talent acquisition landscape.
These hiring trends for 2024 address these exciting developments—remember the only constant is change itself.
1. Return to the office
Growing businesses needed remote employment in peak pandemic times, but 2023 saw a shift toward return-to-office policies, even though remote workers continue to value the independence of work-from-home and the absence of commuting time.
Since many workers prefer remote work, returning to the office remains controversial. As it stands today, less than half of employees are happy or comfortable returning to the physical office. To address this, companies are taking steps to reduce employee resistance and foster an environment where workers can thrive and succeed.
Reasons for working at home vs. the office
According to McKinsey, the number one reason employees work from home is to save commuting time, and the top reason they work in the office is to see their teammates.
Here’s the full breakdown of motives:
Employees work from home to save communing time, and they work in the office to see their teams.
Strict return-to-office policies can have impacts
- Limited access to a diverse talent pool (you’re at a competitive disadvantage)
- Difficulty in employee retention (people grew to like working from home)
- Lower employee satisfaction (it’s a loss of flexibility in work-life balance)
- Increased commute stress (gas money, traffic jams, need we say more?)
- Negative company image (teams can lose trust in leadership’s values)
The dispute between employees and managers over return-to-office policies is far from over. We can expect to hear more employee gripes (and see more corporate life memes online) well past the new year.
While 80% of people operations teams say their companies initiated a return-to-work policy, only 24% have surveyed their employees about these policies.
Return-to-office is a nuanced topic that requires a nuanced approach: one that acknowledges the unique needs of different teams while promoting flexibility where feasible.
2. Flex scheduling
In 2024, the traditional 9-to-5 will be nearly obsolete. People operations leaders will collaborate closely with managers over the next year to define flexible work schedules. Plus, offering a flexible schedule will help small businesses ensure they aren’t losing out on top talent.
Benefits of flexible work schedules:
- Productivity boost: Personalized workspaces and a lack of a commute can lead to better productivity.
- Bigger talent pool: Access a larger pool of candidates and diversify your team’s skills and perspectives.
- Less spending: Remote employment nullifies the need for office space, lowering operating costs.
Hybrid work model
Businesses are allowing employees to work remotely part of the week. This method accommodates employees who are hesitant to return to work. Hybrid work models are predicted to grow in popularity because of their flexibility. Some companies are offering a hybrid model as a recruiting tactic, recognizing the ongoing competition for top talent.
Another flexible work option that will see an increase in adoption by many businesses in 2024 is the 4-day workweek. Both employees and employers alike might reap several benefits from a 4-day work week. Employees may find a better work-life balance, higher morale, and more productivity as a result. Thanks to the extra day off, employees can focus on themselves and their well-being, which in turn makes them happier and more motivated when they go back to work.
3. Diversity ROI
The diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) conversation in previous years has focused on the need for inclusivity. Now, the emphasis is on sharing the return on investment (ROI) of your organization’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The benefits are felt far beyond people operations.
Research repeatedly shows that businesses that make diversity a priority outperform their peers.
60% of respondents in a LinkedIn study said diversity within their sales team has contributed to their success.
How to measure DEI ROI
Diverse teams are more likely to be innovative and creative, which can lead to new products and more revenue. For example, companies can measure the ROI of DEI initiatives by looking at their business outcomes (e.g. revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction).
Measure your DEI results by looking at:
- Business outcomes
- Diversity metrics
- Team feedback surveys
- Employee retention rates
4. Data-driven recruitment
Data-driven recruitment is a modern approach to hiring where recruiters use data and analytics from various sources to make informed, strategic decisions about who to hire.
Recruiters will continue to rely heavily on gathering data about candidates, especially using screening tools to avoid manually sifting through resumes. Smart screening helps identify top talent and assess their cultural fit, boosting your hiring success rate.
And guess what? A data-driven approach doesn’t just lure in quality candidates, it elevates your employer brand in the long run.
Outcomes of data-driven recruiting:
- Accurate applicant assessment
- Reduction in hiring bias
- Better decision-making
- Higher retention rates
- Lower recruitment costs
Tami StuartCEO & Founder, Stuart Group
Tammi Stuart is a realtor in Colorado Springs, Co. Before Wizehire, she was running her business all by herself, staying up until midnight doing administrative work she didn’t have the time to do during the day. Her business grew to the point she couldn’t keep up with the workload alone, so she worked with Wizehire to find the very first members of her real estate team. Now she has time to focus on the big picture.
5. Skills-based hiring
Modern organizations are focusing on skills over degrees.
With rapid tech advancements contributing to a growing skills gap, companies are reevaluating the need for specific degrees for certain roles. Instead, they’re putting more emphasis on the skills and competencies a candidate brings to the table.
Skills predict job performance better than education or experience. And, big companies are leading by example.
Google doesn’t require a degree to apply for a job. The idea here is to open up opportunities for people with valuable skills and experience, regardless of their educational background.
Here’s how skills-based hiring helps businesses stay competitive in today’s job landscape:
- Cost savings: Bad hires can cost five to 27 times the employee’s salary. Skills-based hiring decreases the risk of a bad hire.
- Diverse talent pool: Businesses can attract a more diverse and creative talent pool by valuing skills over qualifications.
- Better quality candidates: Skills-based hiring means you’re finding a higher quality candidate.
- Improved employee retention: Skilled hires stay longer, improving retention and lowering turnover.
6. Candidate experience
Have you ever applied to your own job post, just to see what the process feels like for candidates? Try it. Is it easy to apply or do you run into annoying roadblocks?
“Take a walk in your applicant’s shoes.”
– Celina Guillen, Wizehire Coach
In the coming year, we’ll see more small businesses focus on candidate experience. By nurturing individual candidates and prioritizing engagement at every step of their hiring journey, companies can build stronger relationships with top talent, ultimately impacting the success of the business.
Here are a few tools recruiters use for a great candidate experience:
- AI-powered chatbots
- Easy interview scheduling
- Interview guides
- Consistent employer branding
Upskilling is the answer to the question, “How do you address a skills gap?” With so many workers switching industries, upskilling and reskilling employees is quickly becoming a key trend.
Upskilling (a.k.a. learning and development) involves teaching employees new skills (reskilling) or facilitating and improving their existing skills (upskilling). Upskilling is a tactic managers can use to prepare current talent for the future roles your business needs. It’s the conveyor belt of internal recruiting or hiring from within.
teaching employees new skills
improving their existing skills
Employers can upskill both soft skills and technical knowledge. In other words, you can choose to enhance your team’s emotional intelligence and improve collaboration in the work environment, or you could target a specific technical skill missing from your workforce. So many options.
Upskilling lets employees take charge of their own career mobility while employers retain top talent. Not to mention, it’s also attractive to potential candidates.
Online learning platforms for upskilling
Online learning platforms are full of courses (some free, some paid). Businesses in all sorts of industries are taking advantage of these platforms to encourage their employees to learn new skills.
Here are some popular online learning platforms:
- LinkedIn Learning: professional development courses taught by industry leaders and recognized institutions
- Coursera: online courses and specializations from top universities and companies like Google, IBM, and Yale
- edX: online courses that build career-relevant skills and offer credentials in high-demand fields
- Udemy: a vast library of courses, practice exercises, and quizzes on diverse topics taught by expert instructors
- Skillshare: several courses taught by experts, focusing on employee development and enhancing creative skills
8. Employer branding
In 2024, authenticity and meaningful work will be at the forefront of employer branding.
People are more inclined to work for organizations that have a strong moral compass. Candidates will look at a business’s history of social responsibility, diversity, and sustainability to see how accountable the company is for its actions.
“Don’t miss the opportunity to highlight what’s unique about your company.”
– Emely Mercado, Wizehire Coach
Why care about your employer brand? Positive, invested workers will go the extra mile to promote your business, and employee advocacy will be one of your most powerful branding assets.
Consider these tips and critical questions when you’re working on company values:
Define your purpose
- Why does your company exist?
- What makes you different from your competitors?
Align with authenticity
- Do your values truly reflect your company’s behavior?
- Do they resonate with your employees and target audience?
9. Payroll flexibility
We’re in a candidate-driven market. In 2024, over half of businesses aim to raise starting salaries in the hopes of attracting skilled employees.
Offering payroll flexibility, like more frequent pay daily or weekly, for example, can make a business stand out from its competitors.
Businesses using this strategy show they’re aware of evolving employee needs and preferences, contributing to a more motivated and engaged team. A payroll initiative like this can lead to a more satisfied, motivated, and loyal workforce.
But, as with any trend, the most important part is deciding whether it makes sense for your business. Let’s weigh the pros and cons.
- Improved work-life balance
- More job satisfaction
- Boosted productivity
- Financial well-being
- Administrative complexity
- Cash flow challenges
- Impact on budgeting
- Operational disruptions
10. Field switching
To level up in the job market and grow their skill arsenal, job seekers are exploring work in new fields, chasing after superior pay, enhanced benefits, and solid job security.
This seismic shift is reshaping industries. When top talent migrates to different fields, it creates workforce deficits for those left behind.
Want to attract more candidates? Keep job posts open to applicants whose backgrounds might not match traditional qualifications. There’s a shift in hiring practices away from requiring academic credentials and toward a stronger emphasis on skills.
In 2024, we’ll see more companies use AI-powered tools to streamline job posting, candidate sourcing, resume screening, and interviewing. It’s saving small businesses valuable time—plus, helps make bias-free hiring decisions.
“Most of your applicants are coming from another company or industry. What’s going to make them want to work for you versus where they are now?”
– Celina Guillen, Wizehire Coach
11. Virtual interviews
Virtual interviews, once considered a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, are now a regular, and very effective, interview technique. Most industry experts agree it’s a trend that’s here to stay. However, as with everything, there are drawbacks to virtual interviews in addition to many benefits.
One-way, pre-recorded video
Also called an asynchronous video interview, this allows a hiring manager to send a prepared list of questions to candidates, who will then record their answers and send the video on for consideration.
Two-way, live video
Also called a synchronous video interview, is a face-to-face interactive interview that is conducted remotely but in real time via a conferencing platform like Zoom, Skype, or Teams.
Pros and cons of virtual interviews
- Saves time
- Fills positions faster
- Monitored & recorded interviews
- Promotes company culture
- Impersonal connections
- Struggles for non-native English speakers
- Can’t ask follow up questions
- Higher potential for ghosting
12. Gen Z workforce
Changes are bound to be felt when a new generation enters the workforce. As business owners adapt to a new generation of workers, onboarding and training become more and more important.
A great onboarding process sets people up for success. Plus, onboarding impacts the bottom line. Businesses with a structured onboarding program report lower employee turnover, more work productivity, and higher team morale.
Here are three tips for evolving an outdated onboarding process so it speaks to Gen Z workers.
- Share growth opportunities: Gen Z employees are ambitious and look for opportunities to grow and advance. Meet this need by outlining potential career paths at your business.
- Connect their role to the big picture: Gen Zers are generally motivated by work that gives them a sense of purpose. Speak to this expectation by explaining how their job connects to the company’s mission and directly affects the community.
- Cultivate a sense of belonging: Gen Z wants to feel a sense of community at work. Team-building events and open-door policies help new employees feel they’re part of a team that cares about them.
Disclaimer: Just a heads up, these are general observations about Gen Z drawn from studies and research. Everyone’s unique, so while this article paints a broad picture, it might not fit every individual on your team.
13. Social media recruitment
This shift towards digital recruitment is not just a passing trend but a new norm that is here to stay. 33% of people ops teams already collaborate with their social team, and 86% of job applicants use social media to search for new jobs.
86% of job applicants use social media to search for new jobs.
As the line between active and passive candidates becomes increasingly blurred, businesses that can effectively use social media to build long-term, meaningful relationships with potential hires will have a significant advantage.
Remember, the key to successful recruitment lies in understanding your target audience, creating compelling content, and fostering genuine connections. Each step plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining top talent, from choosing the right platforms to crafting engaging job posts, leveraging targeted ads, and building a strong employer brand. As online behavior continues to evolve, so should your recruitment strategies.
14. Application scams
For job seekers, the hunt for their dream job is often stressful enough. But there’s another important piece to keep an eye out for: application scams.
Since 2020, more remote jobs are hitting the market than ever. Unfortunately, that also means there’s more space for fraudsters to take advantage of job seekers.
How to spot fraudulent job posts
Not every job application scammer acts the same. But there are a few common tactics they use. Here are some of the signs of deceptive job applications.
Red flags in fraudulent job posts:
- Requesting financial or sensitive info up front
- Asking for payments
- A sketchy email address
- A “job offer” that happens way too fast
- Pie-in-the-sky promises
- Major grammatical errors
Online job scams have more than doubled in the last three years. But that doesn’t mean you have to fall victim. With a few acts of due diligence, you can avoid application schemes and get one step closer to your dream job.
15. Salary transparency
From the Senate floor to social media, people are demanding more open conversations about salary as a part of an equitable workplace. It’s no surprise many employers are realizing this trend is here to stay.
Deciding what level of pay transparency is right for your business can be stressful. Pay transparency is a spectrum and you get to decide where your business falls along that spectrum.
Level 1Your pay check
“Here’s what you get paid.”
Level 2Data market study
“Here’s how we use market data to determine pay.”
Level 3Pay ranges
“Here’s where your pay falls and where you can go.”
Level 2Internal salary data
“Here’s why you’re paid this way.”
Level 2Public salary data
“Here’s everything you want to know about everyone’s pay.”
16. Talent pipelines
You’ve heard it before: be proactive, not reactive. Now, we’re putting it in the context of hiring and recruitment. The trendiest way to recruit proactively is with a talent pipeline.
A talent pipeline is like having a pool of potential candidates who could be a great fit for your company in the future. It’s not just about filling immediate job openings. It’s a strategic approach to build relationships with potential hires over time.
Start accepting job applications after losing a team member
Nurture potential candidates before positions even become vacant
By engaging with candidates, even before there’s a specific job available, you create a network of skilled and interested people. When the right job comes up, you’ve already got a pool of talented folks to tap into, making the hiring process that much smoother.
Before building a talent pipeline, it’s so important to get a deep understanding of your company’s current and future talent needs. Work with hiring managers and stakeholders to identify critical roles and skills needed to drive the company’s success. This info is the foundation for developing targeted recruitment strategies.
17. Economic staffing
In the first three months of 2023, Forbes reported 136,000 employees were cut in a wave of U.S. layoffs. This was led by massive head count reductions at Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft.
How do you properly staff your business without having to make cuts later due to a downturned market? There’s no perfect solution, but here are a few ways to soften the blow of an economic dip.
- Plan strategically. Have a deep understanding of the key roles your company needs now and in the future.
- Cross-train your team. Make your team a versatile group. Train employees so they can handle different tasks.
- Organize a flexible team. Build a team with a mix of full-time, part-time, and contract roles.
- Have a safety net. A financial cushion can help you weather storms without having to slash your team when times get tough.
Anticipate market changes. It’s not just about avoiding cuts; it’s about setting up a team that can move with the economic rhythm.
18. Robust onboarding
Onboarding isn’t only about filling out tax forms and signing employee handbooks. It’s the right time to set clear role expectations, train your new hire, and give a great first impression.
Employees are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years if that company had them complete a structured onboarding program.
Onboarding trends in 2024:
- Embrace digital onboarding platforms for a seamless and paperless experience
- Tailor training programs based on the role and individual needs
- Implement a buddy system to help new hires integrate into company culture
- Remote? Schedule video meet-and-greets with team members
- Communicate clear career paths to motivate employees long-term
19. Recruitment AI
AI and machine learning will be the backbone of recruitment operations in 2024.
The use of machine learning algorithms is becoming more common in helping recruiters sort resumes and identify potential candidates. While computers aren’t making the final hiring decisions, their recommendations are serving as important tools for recruiters.
The silent powerhouse of machine learning can filter thousands of resumes in a matter of seconds, floating just the most qualified prospects to the top of the pool.
Virtual recruiting tools are here to speed things up, revolutionize the quality of your hires, provide candidates with an experience they’ll enjoy, and lay the groundwork for an objective, successful hiring approach in 2024.