You may be wrapping presents, lighting candles, or decorating trees. But here at exaqueo, we’re already looking ahead to 2018. In an ever-expanding field like employer brand, it seems there’s a new technology, economic shift or brand trend to track every day. And 2017 was no different.

One of our core values at exaqueo is "seek to understand." For every challenge, obstacle, or misstep, rather than place blame or dwell, we look to learn and move forward. That’s how I look at a year in review too. It’s great to reflect back, but I’m more interested in how I can take what I’ve learned and use it to forge ahead.

This look back/look ahead approach has isolated three key trends for me as I think about what lies ahead for employer brands in 2018. We can’t just focus on where we've been—we have to think about where we are going.

ONE: Technology is in constant shift

Google for Jobs has dominated the headlines this year as it began to use artificial intelligence (AI) to present jobs to job seekers on its search engine. But when first announced, there wasn’t much to go on since searches hadn’t been indexed yet over time. Then you saw competitive backlash and Indeed’s reaction to the changing search landscape. It’s hard to imagine Google won’t eventually kill the job board but job seeker behaviors are historically known to be slow to change. And Indeed doesn’t seem to be going anywhere quickly. Of the top ten jobs-related searches across Google in 2017, the top two are "indeed" and "jobs indeed." How will both tech companies continue to evolve? It will be something different every day. Regardless, it affects every single employer brand so it’s essential to follow the shifts in the tide as they happen.

Lesson: follow the news but know how quickly it can expire. (<-- Click to tweet!)

TWO: Trends are just that—trends.

AI is at the top of everyone’s gift list this year, “bring me an AI solution that will revolutionize our recruiting process!" But for every exciting technology advancement that’s made its way into our everyday (ATSs, CRMs), there’s technology that never really took off or made the impact we hoped (still using QR codes? Anyone?) There are always first movers in any space. And there will be companies who dive head first into AI and find success. But it’s important to take trends at face value—educate yourself on the strengths and the potential for overhype. Then determine where you want to be in the pack.

Lesson: stay on top of trends but don’t be bullied into diving in unless it’s the right move for you and your business. (<-- Click to tweet!) 

THREE: Speed to brand activation is key.

If you don’t move, you’ll lose. In HR, we traditionally move slow. We’re careful, deliberate. That’s okay when it comes to some things. But with employer brand, we don’t have that luxury. While I regularly preach the importance of strategy and having an employer brand architecture and foundation, it’s also important to be able to activate that brand and go-to-market expediently. I’m not saying you should create a great job ad in Canva and start promoting all over social. You need a brand to drive your advertising strategy.

But you also can’t move at HR’s typical pace. Unlike marketing, where creative and execution decisions can be made quickly based on the expertise and trust in the function, HR is still moving slow on employer brand with the resulting executions still getting mired in approvals and opinions from across the business. Buy-in is crucial, but too many cooks in the kitchen will just water down your brand.

Lesson: stand up for your expertise–get approval and buy-in before you start building your employer brand to own the decision-making and execution decisions. (<-- Click to tweet!)


Oddly enough, 2018 seems like it’s going to require a great deal of patience, and a great deal of speed. Are you ready to do both? As long as you stay true to your business and your own strategy, you can’t miss.

 If you liked this post, check out this one: Finding the Right Talent Without Focusing on Fit

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