10 New Hiring Trends Job Seekers Should Be Aware Of

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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.

As a modern-day job seeker, it can be both daunting and exciting to navigate shifts in hiring trends.

On one hand, your qualifications alone won’t automatically land you a seat at the table anymore. On the other hand, there is a wider range of options and the chance to secure your dream job regardless of location or experience level.

Exploring how to leverage modern trends in recruiting can open up jobs that allow you to work from anywhere in the world or connect with hiring managers at companies that might have felt out of reach before.

Take a look at some of the shifts in hiring trends that are affecting the job market, along with some tips on how you can use them to your advantage.

As you plan your job search strategy, it’s crucial to understand how aspects like digital literacy, the gig economy, and AI impact your job search.

1. Tech Integration

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Tech evolution is shaping the entire recruiting and hiring ecosystem. More than ever, companies are harnessing the power of technology. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) and video interviews streamline recruiting but require you to be tech-savvy before you even push submit.

Technology advancements have moved past the initial phase of the hiring process, as well as the growing use of virtual reality (VR) for training.

VR is an innovative, immersive experience that helps create a sleek, modern onboarding experience in some companies. Those shifts can feel intimidating the first time you interact with them.

As a job seeker, the shift toward digitalization means that adapting to tech tools is no longer optional but essential. Growing comfortable with these tools can significantly influence your application’s visibility and overall success.

Action tip: Familiarize yourself with best practices to help optimize your resume for an ATS and research tips to stand out in a video interview.

2. Using AI

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is no stranger to the recruitment and hiring process, with many companies already embracing it.

For example, AI algorithms function by screening resumes and evaluating potential candidates. In some companies, AI interviews take it a step further, screening your visual responses to common first-round questions.

To keep up with a sea of applications, AI is making it easier for recruiters to focus on applicants who closely fit the job description and company culture. For job seekers, learning how to navigate the impact of AI in the workforce and leveraging AI to find your next job is a game-changer.

You can use AI to filter job matches on your favorite job sites or help build your resume and generate cover letters. You can even use AI for interview practice, helping you cope with interview stress and practice answers to common interview questions.

That said, it’s essential to set boundaries around your AI usage to ensure you don’t add false, misleading, or plagiarized material to your submissions.

Action tip: Research resume builders that can help your resume and cover letter stand out.

3. Hiring for Skills Over Degree

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Modern organizations are making a noticeable shift toward valuing practical skills and relevant experience over formal education. Employers are increasingly looking for candidates who can demonstrate their ability to perform specific tasks and contribute to the organization’s success from day one.

This trend is encouraging if you’re a nontraditional candidate searching for a high-paying job without a degree.

You might have gained experience for your resume through online courses, volunteering, freelancing, or self-directed learning. Companies are leaning toward what you can do and how you add value to their team, rather than where you went to school.

Soft skills, such as adaptability, communication, and teamwork, are also given more weight. These are essential traits that cannot be taught in a classroom but are highly valued by employers.

Action tip: Focus on highlighting the top skills employers are seeking in your field. Tailor your application materials with quantifiers — use numbers, percentages, and other metrics to emphasize your accomplishments.

4. Hybrid Jobs

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Remote work statistics show that hybrid work models have emerged as one of the most significant changes to the workforce. These jobs offer a mix of in-person and remote work options to give employees more flexibility while ensuring overlap for in-person meetings and client work.

Hybrid jobs not only improve work-life balance but also open up opportunities for candidates who may not be able to relocate or have other personal responsibilities that make traditional 9-to-5 positions challenging.

In a recent FlexJobs survey, 96% of working professionals reported that “a remote or hybrid arrangement would best support their mental health.” To be considered an employer of choice and attract top talent, many organizations are embracing hybrid work schedules.

As a candidate, you can take advantage of this shift by highlighting your time management skills and ability to balance multiple tasks while working remotely. Hiring managers need applicants who can work independently and adapt to new situations quickly.

Action tip: Highlight experience with remote work tools, such as videoconferencing platforms and project management software, when you’re applying for remote or hybrid positions.

5. Return-to-Office Mandates

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While many companies are embracing more flexibility and employee well-being, others are launching return-to-office mandates despite 63% of working professionals reporting their willingness to take a pay cut to work remotely.

Return-to-office mandates can be jarring for job seekers who need greater flexibility, such as military spouses, caregivers, or individuals with disabilities. While some job seekers welcome the structure and social aspects of office life, many modern professionals report they’re looking for innovative ways to balance work and personal dreams.

Before you launch your job search, ensure you know what level of flexibility you’re seeking. Filter opportunities to ones that align well with your personality type and personal needs. Clarifying your expectations regarding work location and in-office requirements will be crucial during the job application and interview process.

It’s also important to inquire about any potential for flexible or remote work arrangements, as some organizations may offer a blend of in-office and remote work to accommodate employee needs. Each company defines those boundaries differently, so it’s vital to understand the specific nuances before accepting a position.

Action tip: Use your flexible work preferences to guide your job search and discussions with potential employers, ensuring you find a position that genuinely fits your work style and life demands.

6. Digital Literacy

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Recruiters and hiring managers are likely to assess your digital literacy, regardless of your field. Digital literacy refers to your ability to proficiently use digital tools and technologies and is needed in every industry.

Being digitally literate means more than just operating specific software; it also involves areas like understanding digital security, data analysis, and online communication protocols. Having strong digital literacy can give you an edge over other candidates, demonstrating your growth mindset.

Use this list to brainstorm a few ways to add some digital savvy to your job search:

  • Building a professional online presence
  • Engaging in online workshops
  • Pursuing certifications in specific software
  • Staying informed about the latest digital trends relevant to your field
  • Utilizing digital tools for productivity and collaboration in the workplace

Action tip: To capitalize on recruiting trends, you should view digital literacy as an ongoing learning process, investing time and resources into updating your knowledge and skills.

7. Gig Economy

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According to a study by Owl Labs, nearly half of workers (46%) have a side hustle outside their main full-time job, and 20% more are looking for ways to add one.

The gig economy is rocking traditional views on meaningful employment. Side hustles and gigs are rapidly expanding, allowing professionals to add to their primary employment with side gigs or even pursue a full-time freelance business. Flexibility is a foundation of the gig economy, allowing you to choose when, where, and how much you work.

Nonetheless, the gig economy also has its own set of challenges. The need for continual self-promotion, lacking a steady stream of work when you’re getting started, and the complexities of self-employment taxes and benefits are just a few examples.

It’s crucial to weigh these factors against your career goals and lifestyle preferences.

Action tip: Reflect on your long-term career goals and current skill set to assess whether the benefits of flexibility and the autonomy of a side hustle outweigh the uncertainties and additional responsibilities.

8. Learning and Development

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In today’s job market, continuous learning and upskilling are vital to achieving your career goals. Employers look for candidates who commit to lifelong learning and take a proactive approach to professional development.

Analyzing trends in recruiting, you’ll see it’s about more than acquiring new skills. Hiring managers seek team members eager to embrace new technology and processes. Prioritize opportunities to grow the in-demand skills employers are seeking through formal education, online learning, or volunteerism.

Action tip: Create a professional development plan that aligns with your career goals. Incorporate both short-term learning objectives and long-term skill development strategies. Practice different ways to include your plan in your cover letter and interview answers.

9. DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging)

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Companies of all sizes are progressively recognizing the value of DEIB in creating innovative, dynamic, and respectful workplaces where team members can thrive. Shifting toward a more inclusive company culture enhances company performance and attracts a diverse pool of talented job seekers.

As a job seeker, proactively research and engage with employers that commit to — and demonstrate — a genuine DEIB culture. Look beyond the flashy social media posts to discover commitment in areas you’re passionate about, such as neurodiversity or making space for every age group.

Additionally, the rising emphasis on well-being allows you to consider potential employers’ mental health policies and support systems. Recognize that true belonging requires workforce diversity and an environment where every employee feels understood, supported, and valued.

Action tip: During the hiring process, highlighting personal commitments to diversity and inclusion can help you make the most of these trends in recruiting, showing you’re an excellent culture fit. Share your interest by asking about core values and policies if they’re not readily available during your company research.

10. Ethical Practices

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Transparency and ethical practices within the hiring process are focal points of modern recruiting trends.

Ethical practices extend beyond compliance to include how a company interacts with its customers, its approach to sustainability, and its overall impact on society and the environment.

Sustainability and environmental awareness, in particular, are a consideration for many job seekers. Candidates seek companies that aren’t only profit-driven but also responsible stewards of the planet.

This shift reflects a broader societal move toward sustainability and the desire of the workforce to contribute positively to global challenges.

Action tip: Research and prepare questions about the company’s sustainability initiatives and ethical practices. Communicating your interest helps highlight your culture fit and alignment with core initiatives.

Common Questions About Hiring Practices

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Review answers to a few of the most common questions job seekers have about modern trends in recruiting.

1. How is technology changing the hiring process?

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Technology is revolutionizing hiring trends, primarily through automated resume scanners, artificial intelligence for initial interviews, and the increasing use of video interviews.

A shifting focus to technology makes the hiring process more efficient for employers but also demands that job seekers refine their digital communication skills and overall digital literacy.

2. How important is remote work flexibility in a job search?

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Remote work flexibility has become a driving factor in the job market, reflecting changing priorities among today’s professionals. For many, the ability to work remotely is about balancing work with life, reducing commute stress, and having the freedom to work in an environment suited to their productivity.

Understanding your work preferences is vital to finding a role that meets your career goals while supporting your mental and physical well-being.

3. How can I stay ahead of job search trends?

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To stay ahead of hiring trends, it’s imperative that you actively engage with a variety of resources and opportunities for growth. Online and in-person networking allows you to connect with professionals who can offer valuable advice and help you tap into the hidden job market.

Additionally, seeking professional development opportunities, such as courses or certifications, can enhance your skill set and make your resume stand out.

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