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Recruiting Predictions 2020

It is no secret our workplaces are changing especially in how we engage, recruit, train, and plan for the human capital that supports our businesses. Whatever the reason, talent is top of mind not only for talent acquisition leaders but increasingly executive leadership. A 2019 CEO Report in its 22nd year released by PwC found that CEOs are increasingly concerned about skill gaps in their organization seeing the lack and availability of key skills as a barrier to their businesses growth.

In looking forward to Workplace 2020, leaders see an even more competitive business and talent landscape with more ways than ever to engage, recruit, and reach top talent. What trends do talent acquisition experts believe recruiters should focus on in their recruitment planning to 2020? Our expert roundup features predictions by trends focusing on the bigger picture of business into Workplace 2020 and beyond.

According to Deloitte’s 2018 Human Capital Trends report, the research firm identified five top trends that human capital leaders should look towards. Based on our own experience at Talroo and our talent acquisition experts included here, we’ve added a sixth focus you’ll see below. These trends include:

  1. Symphonic C-Suite
  2. People Data & Processes
  3. Careers to Experiences
  4. Well-being & Culture
  5. Hyper-connected Workplace
  6. Technology

Using the Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends report as a guide, we’ll organize and feature our experts using their advice as a guide.

Trend #1 – Symphonic C-Suite

A unified organization starts at the top and our talent acquisition experts agree. Deloitte research found that an organization and it’s leadership that have clear goals and cross-departmental collaboration helps the organization, especially in talent acquisition and recruitment.

“A few brave companies will split recruiting from HR (they have radically different approaches and philosophies, and tend to hamper one another). They will move recruiting to report directly to the CEO or directly to the business. This will lead to dramatic increases in speed, process improvements, and new metrics that align to the business. One year later, these companies will be the famous case studies everyone is talking about and thinking about emulating.” 

James Ellis, Employer Brand Consultant at Proactive Talent

“I may be biased, but the most consequential new development of 2019 will be the new capabilities around the implementation and optimization of cross-channel recruitment media, and the related next-level algorithmic and programmatic approaches that are now making the impossible possible. Employers who store the entire path-to-hire candidate experience data set instead of just a limited ‘last-click’ media attribution credit model, will now be able to see and act upon a much fuller picture of what’s really driving quality applicants and hires for each job type and in each location, in an increasingly tight employment marketplace.”

Sean Quigley, VP Media for Symphony Talent

“HR’s role is becoming more deliberately tied to empowering the business to get work done. Finding solutions to enhance collaboration and performance from teams and, in turn, overall productivity is something that will be increasingly on the minds of leaders everywhere. Underlying this will be a focus on inclusion, diversity and equity.”

George LaRocque, Principal Analyst & Founder of HRWins

Trend #2 – People Data & Processes

In Workplace 2020, the data is driving our decisions in how we reach, engage, and retain our talent. This people data helps align talent acquisition with the business, but also provides our business leaders with information to understand patterns that exist improving our decision making, forecasting, and workforce planning.

This access to people data not only helps propel business planning and decision making forward but helps in finding ways to streamline recruitment with technologies like artificial intelligence.

“Data-informed decision making is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s mandatory. Now more than ever, we are using data to help us message effectively to our target audiences through employment branding initiatives; influence our media spends programmatically; and optimize the candidate experience through audits. Leveraging the data available often results in more quality hires, improves the candidate experience, and reduces the cost per hire.”

Joe Shaker Jr., CEO for Shaker Recruitment Marketing

“More companies will focus on increased efficiencies and expediency. In a growing number of cases, due to significant reliance on newly available technology, the focus will be on processing candidates through attraction, application, assessment, and hiring process. Additionally, depending on the skill sets being targeted, some companies will be maximizing marketing tactics and engagement tools with aspirational candidates; that is, candidates not necessarily contacting a company for a specific immediate job opening, but interacting with the company with the goal of remaining in contact for possible consideration for job/career opportunities in the short or long-term future. Through this process, companies will reach beyond passive, impulsive prospects to a more highly-qualified base of prospects attracted to their specific employer brand attributes and documented career path.”

Mike Temkin, VP Strategic Planning for Shaker Recruitment Marketing

“The trend for the future is to streamline recruiting processes, making them more manageable. With all the data and moving parts, we now have more input and tasks, yet fewer people to do them. So-called artificial intelligence may be able to help in streamlining all of this, so the question we need to ask is how will this new version, or new feature, or new product reduce friction in our existing processes? How will it help us make sense of the data? How will it help us integrate the data with our current workflows? Most importantly, how will it directly contribute to improving productivity and performance? How will this process leverage the data we already have and, in an automated way, make recommendations that will reduce friction and streamline what we need to do?”

Shally Steckerl, Founder of the Sourcing Institute

Trend #3 – Careers to Experiences

In talent acquisition, our industry tends to follow the lead consumer trends 24-36 months, and that includes the shift towards “experiences.” We see the shift happening as consumers with like brands like Apple, Amazon, and Nike. These iconic companies aren’t selling just a product or service, but a lifestyle and experience. In talent acquisition, candidates are moving from careers to experiences aligning themselves with social causes and cultures that suit the lifestyle and personality of the candidate.

“I predict that organizations will keep moving to a more intentional, human-centric culture. This isn’t ‘new,’ but it is being recognized as our reality. HR will need to be more human-centric, even in the midst of automation and technology.” 

Steve Browne, VP of Human Resources at LaRosa’s, SHRM Board Member

“In 2019 and beyond, we will continue to evolve the way we think about work, delineating the work to be done by activity. What’s the task? What’s the outcome? What skills are needed to bring it to completion? For example, you don’t need to hire a full-time designer to produce a handful of web pages, but you do need the dedicated attention of someone who is skilled in design, and you need some time from a person who is skilled in programming. A full-time employee or contractor may not be needed. Instead, the task can be owned as a piece of the work portfolio by any available talent, whether an external flexible worker, current employee, or potential new employee. This has been referred to recently as a ‘total talent’ view of work, but I like to call it the universal workforce.”

Craig Fisher, CMO of Allegis Global Solutions

“With an unemployment rate lower than 4 percent, which is the lowest it has been in almost 50 years, smaller companies and startups will need to get creative in order to attract top talent. Gone are the days when free food and a cool officevibe were enough to draw potential employees to consider joining your company. I predict perks like tuition reimbursement and generous work from home policies will become more standard.”

Lacey Garner, Head of People Operations USA for Shopgate

Trend #4 – Well-being and Culture

Well-being starts with a culture that aligns an employee’s personal interests, personality, and social causes. This culture is more than employment branding or recruitment marketing, however, a company’s culture awareness is critical to an effective talent acquisition as part of the larger employment life cycle. Keep in mind that in order to retain our talent, this means providing them with opportunities to increase their own well-being through learning, development, and personal as well as professional growth.

“My prediction has to do with HR and recruiting together! I think companies are going to need to really focus on defining their culture in words that reflect who they are. Culture has moved from free snacks and ping pong to values (communicated with words that a lot of people use). It’s now something every candidate asks about and surveys show people leave bad cultures (not jobs or managers). But we will need to define what our individual culture is and, more importantly, how we actually demonstrate that every day. This will be the competitive advantage for attracting great candidates and retaining our best team members.”

Karen Weeks, VP of People for Ordergroove

“My prediction is that people will reskill themselves at unprecedented levels in order to remain competitive in the workplace. This will mean taking advantage of job sharing programs their employer may offer, subscribing to online education platforms like or Udemy, and/or downloading multiple emotional intelligence apps and learning from them as well. Candidates with a propensity towards life-long learning and high emotional intelligence will be in the highest demand and companies will have a difficult time retaining them.”

Jim Stroud, Consultant for

“HR, as a function, will move back to basics: How to provide purpose to employees to help them grow and be productive, with artificial intelligence, systems and data supporting the other aspects of the function. The recruiting function will increasingly work on removing the false positives that artificial intelligence is throwing, thereby improving the candidate predictability.”

Amit Avasthi, Head HR Emerging Markets for LTI

“Politics from Washington DC will begin to have a greater impact on the workplace. Executives and staff will start to take visible positions on immigration, taxes, ACA, and harassment. HR will need to play a larger role as facilitator, peacekeeper, judge and jury…”

Mark Fogel, Managing Partner for Human Capital 3.0

Trend #5 – Hyper-connected Workplace  

In a workplace where communication channels and tools are mirroring consumer products, service, and service levels, employees and candidates alike want access to reports, data, information, and resources as well as their peers and colleagues. In talent acquisition this means anticipating those frequently asked questions that your candidates have before they happen and providing them with the tools, resources, and information to get their questions answered throughout the candidate engagement process.

“2019 and 2020 will be years of digital transformation in HR and talent acquisition departments across the country. In an era where so much technology exists to serve every aspect of the hiring process from top-of-funnel to onboarding, leaders have finally realized that automation and digitization of candidates and employees is a must have in order to compete in the war for talent. From self-service HR tasks to programmatic distribution of jobs, the time to modernize your HR and talent acquisition functions is now.”

Chris Russell, Managing Director of RecTech Media

“2019 and beyond will be the year(s) of practical AI. We heard so much about artificial intelligence in 2018, but most of the conversations were hype or general concepts, not practical applications that move the needle for today’s business leaders. A focus on practical AI will change that.”

Ben Eubanks, Principal Analyst of Lighthouse Research & Advisory

“We are following consumer trends as employees and candidates with expectations that companies and our employees are available to connect, engage, and respond quickly to our questions, concerns, and requests. As talent acquisition leaders, it’s not enough to simply engage our candidates with automated messages and chat bots, but the experience is becoming mature, evolved, and sophisticated as the demand for talent shows no signs of slowing. This means going beyond standard recruitment marketing automation and creating a highly customized and engaging experience for the job seeker from the moment they visit the career site until the moment they arrive for employee orientation and throughout their time as a gig worker, employee or contractor.”

Jessica Miller-Merrell, Chief Innovation Officer at Workology

Trend #6 – Technology   

What types of technologies will be the driving force into recruiting 2020? Our experts have outlined a few including chat bots, artificial intelligence, video interviewing, and other targeted candidate technologies.

“Chatbots will be the new feature required to be ‘mobile friendly.’ They’re already being built into almost all talent CRMs and recruitment marketing platforms as a standard feature. It will be ubiquitous in that, if you aren’t doing it yet, you are below the line of ‘best practice’ when it comes to candidate experience and front-of-funnel engagement tactics. Also, machine learning and artificial intelligence will begin to move upstream from where they are currently, which is mostly being utilized in sourcing and talent matching to assist with quicker and more personalized onboarding, employee retention/engagement, and performance management.”

Will Staney, Founder and CEO of Proactive Talent

“In 2019 and 2020, recruiting will look to double down on tools and technologies that use artificial intelligence and machine learning, which will become even more commonplace. We’ll also see more marketing techniques and technology to support recruiting and HR efforts. We’re already seeing quite a few tools incorporate drip/nurture campaigns, which marketing has been capitalizing on well before recruiting. There are no longer job seekers, there are job shoppers. The recruiting industry will have to adapt to this type of behavior.”

Arron Daniels, Senior Recruiting Sourcer for HEB

“The complete candidate experience is what is going to set companies apart. I know this has been talked about in previous years, but now it is a critical differentiator. Once company leadership understands that fully, their competitive edge will increase. The days of thinking ‘candidates should be grateful to interview with my company!’ are gone, even for name-brand companies. The candidates know this too, so invest in your candidate experience. Make sure it’s high-touch and high-service. Video interviewing will gain even more momentum and will become more of the norm.”

Mara Flores, Head of Talent Acquisition for NSS Labs, Inc.

Looking ahead

It is an exciting time to be working in recruiting and Recruiting 2020 will be here before you know it. Understanding and navigating trends like these is critical to stay ahead in this competitive talent landscape.

What’s your prediction for Recruiting 2020?