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The hiring market has changed dramatically over the last year. The unemployment is at a 50-year record low 3.5% and competition for top talent is fierce. IBM reports that “90% of the S&P 100 are recruiting for the same 37 in-demand jobs.” Getting ahead of the talent acquisition race starts with learning about next year’s biggest trends, topics, and innovations. Here’s what recruiters and hiring managers need to know about the recruitment outlook for 2020. Flexible work is in-demand. The overarching theme for next year’s talent acquisition leaders is that this is a candidate-driven market. This common thread drives nearly every trend that we predict for 2020. Where ten years ago recruiters had their pick of talented candidates, 2020 will be a competitive year for companies seeking to hire world-class teams. Recruiters must put the individual front-and-center in the hiring process. That starts with understanding the employee experience each candidate is seeking. Gartner research found that “By 2020, organizations that support a ‘choose-your-own-work-style’ culture will boost employee retention rates by more than 10%.” Talent acquisition teams must highlight opportunities for remote work, flexible hours, and non-traditional contract arrangements. Pro-tip: start with your job descriptions. Conversion rates on career sites are down. Fewer than 9% of visitors to a company career page end up submitting their CV for an open position. Take the opportunity to highlight the non-financial benefits of working at your company, such as flexible hours or remote work options. The candidate experience is critical. Active job seekers spend an average of 11 hours a week looking for a new job. Eventually, the endless listings of opportunities start to look the same. Interview questions start to sound routine, and it can be frustrating for a candidate to wait days (if not weeks – or ever) to hear back from a busy recruiter. The candidate experience has become central to the success of talent acquisition teams. Individuals who are satisfied with their candidate experience, according to IBM, are 38% more likely to accept a job offer. Employer branding helps differentiate a candidate’s application experience from one company to the next. Employer branding replicates a marketing team’s approach to the customer journey, but replaces the customer with the candidate. How does the prospective new employee experience the company from different touchpoints? How can the company communicate a unique value proposition to attract its ideal candidates? These are the questions that employer branding seeks to answer. Virtual reality is entering the hiring process. Virtual reality, an immersive, interactive experience simulated through a headset, is seeing some traction in recruitment. Analysts originally predicted that 2019 would be a turning point for the VR industry. The confluence of improving the candidate experience and the increase of remote hiring suggests that VR will take off in 2020. “VR allows employers to give candidates a virtual tour of their work facilities. This technology can be used to show job seekers how dynamic your workplace is and eliminates the need for costly travel expenses, especially if the candidate is being sourced from a remote location,” writes HRZone. Innovative companies like Hilton are already using virtual reality in creative ways – mostly in training and onboarding new employees. But, analysts suggest talent acquisition experts may also use the technology to make better hires and test candidates before making a full-time offer. Take a data-first approach to acquisition. Last but not least, data is the main driver behind talent acquisition strategies for 2020. As one talent acquisition leader elaborates, “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.” Hiring teams must leverage KPIs and OKRs to assess where their talent pipeline is succeeding, and where the candidate experience falls short. People-oriented data insights can improve decision making, forecasting, and workforce planning across roles and at organizations of every size. And, with today’s talent acquisition tools and platforms, this data is easier than ever to collect.

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