4 Recruitment Trends to Help Get the Talent You Need in 2020

January 14, 2020 Mervyn Dinnen

6-minute read

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Surveys of senior business and HR leaders regularly find the hiring, development, and retention of key talent and skills to be top of their agenda. As we enter a new decade, we find ourselves faced with a skills-short market in which roles are changing and evolving rapidly, intensifying the challenge to find the people we need. The future talent pipeline is set to remain top of the business agenda through the 2020s, putting the focus very much on talent acquisition. LinkedIn data already shows a 63% increase in the demand for recruiting professionals since 2016, and this will only increase.

The way we recruit and retain is changing. Jobseekers are increasingly behaving like consumers, and may well be starting their search through a voice-activated assistant and research what a business is like to work for in advance of applying. They check out recommendations and information from their networks.

A survey of 14,000 jobseekers found they will drop out at the application stage if it takes more than 10 minutes, get frustrated by a lack of feedback, and feel undervalued if their previous experience isn’t recognized or valued at interview. And they withdraw from interviews if their further research on the role or business raises concerns.

Recent research shows that experience is key to jobseekers, and they don’t differentiate this experience between the different stages of the journey from application to employment. They want information along the way at every stage, and if the company doesn’t provide it, they will seek it out for themselves.

Recruiters say their top priority for 2020 is to keep up with rapidly changing hiring needs. Here are four of the main trends I expect to see:

  1. Seamless talent experiences

No candidate ever thinks to themselves, “Well that was a great application experience. I wonder what the interview experience will be like?” The overall experience they have when applying is crucial though. How they are treated, the information they get, the overall journey they take – all of this will indicate the type of employer you are to work for, which 85% say is important to them when choosing one company over another.

Many organizations I speak to often treat it like a relay race, as if the various stakeholders and participants – sourcer, researcher, ATS, recruiter, interviewer, hiring manager, assessment tech, HR – are all passing the baton to each other. But this isn’t how the candidate experiences it. The expression we hear most now is “talent experience,” which covers the overall journey from applicant to alumni. I expect to see businesses offering a more seamless transition through each stage to help win over the talent they need.

  1. More involvement in onboarding

The baton usually gets dropped during onboarding. Talent acquisition professionals are rarely seen as major stakeholders in this and responsibilities often lie somewhere between HR, learning, and the hiring manager. When I worked on a U.K. recruitment benchmarking report late last year, most respondents rated themselves as quite effective during the offer stage and up to the new hire’s first day, but much less effective after that, particularly after the first month of employment.

Many of the reasons why new hires leave within the first few months can be traced back to the way they were inducted and onboarded. A good recruitment team should already have built up a strong rapport with their new hires and I expect to see them playing a much stronger part in new hires’ development and engagement through the first three months and beyond.

  1. Promoting career and skill development

The opportunity to grow and learn new skills is the number one reason people join and stay at an organization. In my survey of 14,000 jobseekers, 91% said it was the most important factor in choosing one business over another. Yet many talent acquisition teams tend to recruit for the role as it is now (or has been for the last few years), rather than the role it is becoming, and rarely talk through potential career development opportunities with candidates.

I expect to see this change. Internal mobility, career advancement, and “learning in the flow of work” are huge topics right now, and integral to attracting and retaining the talent we need. The talent acquisition team will begin to take the lead in hard wiring these opportunities into the EVP and employer brand, and making sure they are all part of each job description. Edelman research shows around 70% of employees are “anxious” about their skills, so it is time for recruiters to show why there should be no anxiety when working for their organization.

  1. Increasing adaptability

One thing is certain: The way we identify, attract, and assess our future talent is constantly changing and evolving, and recruiters will need to be ahead of each trend. I’ve already mentioned voice-activated job searches as just one way jobseekers may emulate consumer behavior. There are plenty more. Traditional job descriptions posted on job boards, cold calling from databases and expecting candidates to endure an application, and an interview process that resembles “Game of Thrones,” will no longer cut it.

They want to be kept informed, know where they are in the process, and have an understanding of how they are being assessed. Recruiters need to be adaptable, curious, and continuously experimenting. New skills and approaches will be needed to identify mindsets that can grow and develop, instead of purely looking at past experience. They need to keep ahead of ever-changing and evolving technology, using it to deliver results and eradicate all bias from screening, interviewing, and assessment processes. And with two thirds of workers saying it’s easier to find a new role elsewhere than inside their own organization, recruiters always need to check first if the person they need is already in the business.


Every organization needs to constantly evolve the way they attract, hire, and retain talent. The talent acquisition function has a pivotal role to play in addressing the talent challenges that every business will face in 2020 and beyond. I predict by keeping on top of the changing demands and approaches of jobseekers, looking to fill new roles from wherever possible, offering seamless experiences that inspire candidates and employees, and restlessly experimenting with new technology to transform the way they recruit, recruiters will deliver the best value to their businesses. 


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About the Author

Mervyn Dinnen

Mervyn is an HR and talent analyst, researching the emerging trends that impact hiring, development, and retention. He is author of the books "Exceptional Talent" and "Digital Talent."

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