11 recruiting trends to watch in 2020

11 Recruiting Trends to Watch in 2020

Is your company hiring this year? If so, there’s still time to inject some life into your talent acquisition strategies. We’ve compiled 11 recruiting trends to inspire you.

1. Improving the Candidate Experience

Does your company put a lot of time and effort into the customer or user experience but treat the candidate experience as an afterthought? If so, this is one key area to improve on.

Not sure where to begin? Cristina Boehmer, marketing manager at career platform The Muse, recommends looking beyond your careers page. Nowadays, job candidates are just as likely to learn about – and judge – your company based on what they see on social media and on hiring platforms such as Glassdoor, so it makes sense to invest in recruitment marketing in these platforms – see trend #4, Investing in Your Employer Brand.

Cristina also suggests designing a transparent recruitment process that keeps candidates consistently informed.

2. Adding Emotional Intelligence as a Hiring Criteria

Two emotionally intelligent colleagues try to work out a solution to a problem together.
Emotional intelligence as a hiring criteria is a 2020 trend. Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

LinkedIn Learning surveys all of LinkedIn annually to discover the most in-demand technical skills and soft abilities for the coming year. This year, creativity, persuasion, collaboration, and adaptability remained top of the list, but time management, a soft skill in high demand since 2017, has fallen. What rose to the top? Emotional intelligence – specifically the ability to effectively respond to and interact with the people you work with.

“While task-oriented skills remain critical to our success at work, the data shows that employers value our ability to work well with colleagues.”

Paul Petrone, LinkedIn’s Head of Academic and Government Marketing

3. Getting Deeper Into People-Centered Analytics

Speaking of how well team members work with one another, companies are just starting to realize that there’s more to people-centered analytics than focusing on the attributes of individuals. An emerging discipline called relational analytics focuses on the relationships they have with one another instead.

By mining data from email exchanges, chats, and file transfers, companies can identify the employees who are capable of helping them achieve their goals and gain insight into key players that they can’t afford to lose.

“The best firms will use relational analytics to augment their own decision criteria and build healthier, happier, and more productive organizations,” say professors Paul Leonardi and Noshir Contractor.

While relational analytics can equip companies with the data they need to make decisions about internal mobility and career paths, people-centered analytics that’s focused on attributes such as age, gender, and ethnicity still play an important role, especially in helping companies increase workplace diversity.

4. Strengthening the Employer Brand

Your company has two brands: one relates to how people see your products, services, leaders, team members, history; the other has to do with how people see you as an employer. The latter is your employer brand.

Employer branding is becoming increasingly crucial to attracting top talent to your team.  “Done well, employer branding will spark buzz around your company, and this buzz will attract motivated job seekers and an army of happy employees,” says marketer Sarah Lybrand.

Her article on LinkedIn’s Talent Blog has some great tips on how to turn your employer brand into a competitive advantage. The only caveat? No amount of time and money spent on improving your employer brand will work if your company doesn’t have a healthy culture and work environment.

5. Engaging Prospective Employees

Recruiting is easier when you already have a pool of pre-qualified job candidates to tap into. This means your company should be cultivating relationships with top talent even – or perhaps especially – when you’re not hiring.

Quantity is important here, so one of your goals should be to steadily grow your talent pool. A good way to start is to let job candidates sign up for updates or submit job applications via your website. 

Another goal should be keeping these leads engaged. You can nurture them by sending a monthly newsletter, building a strong social media presence, and exploring other recruitment marketing strategies. With those at the top of your list, you can consider sending the occasional direct email or inviting them to an event or to lunch. 

6. Sharing Recruitment Duties

Getting more people involved in the hiring process takes the pressure off of one hiring manager to find the perfect fit. It also allows the job candidate to meet most of the people they’ll be working with, which helps them decide if they want to join the team.

In organizations such as Wikimedia, internal referrals help with candidate sourcing, and team-wide interviews make hiring a collaborative decision.

7. Using AI 

A year and a half ago, trend-watching platform Cassandra wrote a piece about the rise of A.I.-powered hiring platforms. The article mentioned two AI initiatives – Robot Vera and Naudix – that have, apparently, already ceased to exist. That’s not to say that AI isn’t slowly but steadily making its way into recruiting.

In 2018, 98% of Fortune 500 companies were already using an automated applicant tracking system or a resume screener, according to optimization service JobScan.

Nowadays, companies are using bots to interview candidates, handle job candidate interview scheduling, answer applicant questions, and more.

Companies like Pyremetrics are helping take AI-assisted talent acquisition further by striving to make processes more fun and less biased.

8. Increasing Diversity in the Workplace

A black woman, an Asian woman, and another black woman sit behind a desk.
Diversity in the workplace. Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash.

Studies show that diversity in the workplace helps bring in bigger profits and strengthen business processes. It’s also increasingly important to new generations – 47% of millennials say they want to work somewhere diverse and inclusive, and nearly half of Gen Z belongs to a racial or ethnic minority.

That said, even non-profit organizations, which would presumably be more preoccupied with diversity, are guilty of racial bias.

Making your company more diverse is no small task: it takes research, talking to and collaborating with groups that are traditionally excluded, using more inclusive language in job descriptions, and more. Companies that are already working towards a more diverse and inclusive workplace can provide inspiration and share lessons learned.

9. Accommodating Employees’ Needs

Increasing diversity in the workplace often involves adapting to the specific needs of traditionally excluded groups. This might mean, for example, making remote work possible for less privileged individuals who can’t afford to live close to the office, or being flexible with work hours to cater to individuals who, for some reason or another, can’t make 9-to-5 work for them. Here’s a helpful resource on the principle of accommodation and implementing accommodation policies and procedures.

10. Shifting to Project-Based Hiring

Although not entirely new, project-based hiring is a growing trend, especially in tech companies. Essentially, it means organizing work into projects and forming teams around those projects. Many companies with project-based work tend to hire contractors with specific expertise for the duration of projects. Some, however, choose to hire full-time employees with broader job titles and responsibilities. Google is one of them.

Project-based work is said to make companies more innovative and efficient, and suit a new generation of professionals who welcome change and opportunities to continuously develop their skills. This article shares some interesting perspectives on the topic.

11. Viewing Recruiting As Indispensable and Strategic

Assimilating all these trends will require recruiters to develop new technical skills, learn new metrics, and use new tools.

Among the predictions LinkedIn makes for the recruitment industry in the next five years are:

  • Recruiting will become even more important than it is today 
  • Recruiters will have to adapt to changing hiring needs 
  • Recruiters will become more like business strategists 
  • Quality of hire will matter more than time to hire 
  • Recruiters will be using more technology in their work 

For the full list of predictions, check out LinkedIn’s Talent Blog’s perspective on what recruiting will look like in 2025

What did you think of this list? Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!