Recruitment 2020: 5 Ways the Field Will Change Next Year

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It’s that time of year again, when trend lists flood the internet. For recruiters and talent acquisition pros, this is a necessary ritual. So much can change in the span of a year, and keeping up with the latest developments can be a daunting task.

Sometimes, however, the changes are not as extreme as people would have you believe, and the coverage, frankly, is unoriginal. You’ve certainly seen enough lists heralding the dawn of artificial intelligence (AI) and the arrival of must-have chatbots.

This year, we’re cutting out the fluff and getting to the trends that really matter. We’ve consulted not a crystal ball, but real recruiters who are living the real changes. So, how is recruiting really going to evolve in 2020? Let’s dive in.

1. Candidate Experience Becomes Candidate Empowerment

Over the last year, everyone was talking about what a good candidate experience  is and how to create one, but ultimately, it all boils down to treating your candidates well. Not so radical a notion, is it?

Candidates want to be empowered. If you think about it, that’s one of the key reasons they’re looking for a new opportunity in the first place: If an employee doesn’t feel empowered by their current employer, they’ll start searching for a company that will empower them. Once they’ve recognized employees are doing this, companies need to shift their focus toward empowering employees and showcasing that empowerment in the recruiting process.

Traditionally, it has been the job of the recruiter to make initial contact with candidates and continuously engage them throughout the process. However, any healthy relationship has to be a two-way street, and that includes the candidate-recruiter relationship. Why not empower candidates by encouraging them to reach out through your social channels, careers page, and in conversations? You can use interactive tools, such as live video streams, webinars, or Twitter chats to make it even easier for candidates to reach you. The key is to choose a medium that allows for two-way conversations.

When you build a relationship with candidates, they feel empowered. Candidates who feel empowered become employees who feel empowered. Empowered employees are more engaged and more likely to stay put.

2. AI Mania Gives Way to Solid Recruitment Tech Stacks

Few industries have remained untouched by the technological boom of the past 20 years, and the whole field of HR has been upended by the advent of new technologies. Automation, including the use of AI and machine learning, has ushered in a new age of recruitment and hiring.

However, AI isn’t the only technology changing the way we think about HR. A solid recruitment technology stack that specifically fits your needs and solves your hiring challenges can dramatically improve your company’s recruiting efforts.

One of the best ways to build out a robust recruitment tech stack is to create a “technology backbone” encompassing the most important tech elements of your recruitment process. For most recruiters, that includes a marketing platform, an applicant tracking system, and an onboarding system. Various other add-ons may assist in the recruiting process, but marketing jobs, keeping track of applicants, and onboarding hires remain the essential components.

Until the time comes when machines can truly supplant human logic and decision-making, recruitment will be left to qualified HR professionals. Rather than focusing exclusively on AI, companies need to be taking advantage of all available tools.

For more expert recruiting advice, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

3. Automation Drives Personalization

Finding that careful balance between a tech-enabled, highly digital experience and a high-touch, human-oriented experience is a key recruiting challenge for today’s companies. Employers that make applicants feel as though they’re getting personalized, one-on-one treatment have an edge over their competitors, but offering that treatment can be time-intensive and cost-prohibitive.

While automation does streamline the hiring process in many ways, personalization is what makes a candidate feel like an individual rather than just another job seeker in the pipeline. Media offers a prime example of an industry embracing personalization through technology. Spotify serves up tailored playlists based on a user’s musical tastes, and Netflix is famous for its personalized content suggestion. These efforts capture and maintain attention by catering to each audience member’s specific preferences.

What might this kind of personalization look like in recruiting? Employers and recruiters can adopt new techniques and technologies to customize the communication experience in the same way as Spotify and Netflix, thereby significantly improving the candidate experience without losing the streamlining power of automation. From using the channels that candidates prefer — such as social media, SMS, WhatsApp, or email — to sharing content that is relevant to each candidate, recruiters should take active steps to personalize the hiring experience.

Reaching out on a regular basis is also one of the most effective ways to make a candidate’s experience more positive and personalized. Sending notifications about application status — or even just to say hello — will make a candidate feel like the company really cares about them as an individual. Plus, creating a more customized hiring process can help earn your company a good reputation, thereby encouraging more candidate referrals and building a pipeline of future hires.

4. Employer Branding Gets Authentic

When you think of branding, you probably think of your organization’s values and mission statement, its logo and design colors, and the value you deliver to your customers. That’s consumer branding, and it’s a big part of what makes or breaks a company, but it’s not the only kind of branding that matters. On the talent market, you need a strong employer brand as well.

So, what is employer branding ? Put simply, it’s the way your company is perceived by potential new employees. Your company culture, the missions or causes you support, and your values all contribute to your employer brand. However, the success of any employer brand depends on the one thing you really can’t fake: authenticity.

Potential employees want to know what your people think about working for you, so be authentic by giving your employees a voice through blogs, video testimonials, and the like. Encourage your employees to generate their own content — the more spontaneous and natural, the better. Having a day away from the office? Take a camera, shoot a video. Give candidates the chance to see what it is really like to work for your company. That way, candidates can determine whether or not there is really a good fit.

Creating an authentic employer brand is a long-term and detail-oriented endeavor, but it will yield incredible results when done right.

5. International Hiring Makes Us Consider the Recruiting Challenges of Hyper-Growth

In 2019, we talked a lot about hiring internationally. As skills gaps grew, employers started looking further away from their front doors for qualified candidates. While the challenges of international hiring were clear, the benefits were undeniable.

However, as the recruiting community focused on the theory and process of international hiring, we neglected to address one of the major causes of international hiring: hyper-growth.

Recruiting in hyper-growth environments can be hectic. As the business becomes increasingly successful, the hiring grows exponentially. Hyper-growth often drives increased funding, the ability to sponsor visas, and the need for specialized skill sets, all of which in turn lead many recruiters to source international talent.

But hyper-growth comes with its own challenges that also merit consideration. How do you maintain your company culture when you add so many new employees so quickly? How can you prevent recruiter burnout in high-stress hyper-growth environments? In 2020, we suspect the conversation around this topic will go beyond the practicalities of international hiring to find clearer answers to these questions

Of course, not everything is changing in the world of recruiting. The general principles remain true: candidates are valued, tech and employer branding are important, hiring must be streamlined, and internal and external factors will always mess with the best laid hiring plans. However, understanding the evolutions within these principles will help recruiters stay nimble and alert in 2020.

Perry Oostdam is the CEO and cofounder of Recruitee.

By Perry Oostdam