Marijuana, Turnoffs and E-Notes: What Recruiters Were Reading in 2017

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer December 29, 2017

​Illustrating the wide variety of issues that talent acquisition professionals face, some of the most-read articles on SHRM Online this year were about screening for marijuana, candidate turnoffs and tough jobs to fill. Recruiters, sourcers and hiring managers will face these same issues in 2018.

Should Marijuana Be Removed from Pre-Employment Drug Screens?

Employers were faced with a conundrum in 2017: Should they stop testing applicants for marijuana use now that more states have legalized it for medicinal or recreational purposes and popular acceptance of the substance has spread?

The drug remains illegal under federal law, and employers have the right to test for it, even in states where the substance is legal. And not only does federal law conflict with some states' laws, but state laws also vary, sometimes significantly, challenging multistate employers.

But surveys show that some employers in states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana are gradually removing the substance from pre-employment drug testing panels.

[SHRM members-only resource: Drug and Alcohol Policy]

Warning Signs: Recruiters Reveal Their Biggest Turnoffs

The interaction between candidates and recruiters during a job interview plays a key role in whether or not an applicant is hired. Everything from a candidate's appearance to how he or she communicates creates favorable or unfavorable impressions. Here, recruiters reveal the job-seeker behaviors that they just can't stand. [SHRM members-only toolkit: Interviewing Candidates]

Cover Letter Trends: Introducing the E-Note

Just as resume writing and the entire job search process have evolved remarkably over the past few years, so has the process of writing letters to potential employers. The "old-school" cover letter has largely gone by the wayside and been replaced with e-notes—letters that are less formal, more direct and sent via e-mail or company website instead of an envelope.

Interview Ice Breakers to Segue into Meaningful Candidate Conversations

HR veteran and trainer Paul Falcone advises recruiters and front-line hiring managers to take the time to build a relationship with candidates before jumping into interview questions.

Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2017

Data scientist, financial advisor, home health aide and truck driver were a few of the toughest roles to fill in 2017, according to job search portal CareerCast's annual list of the most in-demand professions.

Employers Continue to Ask About Criminal History on Job Applications

About half of employers that conduct pre-employment background checks still have a question on their application forms inquiring about applicants' criminal histories, despite the growing momentum to "ban the box" on job applications.

Hiring People with Criminal Histories

The relatively low unemployment rate is spurring once-reluctant employers to rethink their position on hiring candidates with criminal histories. According to the Department of Justice, around 650,000 prisoners are released every year. Advocates say the great majority are eager to work and could take on many jobs that would otherwise go unfilled.  

But hiring candidates with criminal histories is a sensitive issue. Matters of privacy and workplace safety come into play, not to mention legal, financial and reputational risks to the employer.

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