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Recruiting Trends for 2019


Meredith Stack


With 2018 finally behind us it’s time to plan for the future. Unfortunately, recruiting won’t get any easier. Here are the recruiting trends we expect to see in the year ahead.

In 2018 we saw historically low unemployment rates -- ending the year at 3.9 percent -- and most analysts predict that number will drop even lower in 2019. In this high-pressure environment where there are more open jobs than talented people to fill them, recruiters will need to sharpen their strategies to attract and retain the best people.

Here are a few of our predictions about how recruiting trends will shape the year to come and what you can do to adapt.

  1. Referral programs are still a talent goldmine. Employee referrals are always a quality source of talent, and in a low unemployment economy, they can be a hiring lifeline. These candidates are pre-vetted by your people, which makes them faster and cheaper to hire, and ensures they are already familiar with your company and culture. Make the most of this hiring source by implementing a formal referral program, offering incentives to employees who refer new hires, and encouraging employees to post open positions on their social media.
  2. Email is dead. If you want to engage young talent, text them. Millennials and Gen Z grew up texting and view it as a fast, easy and private way to connect with recruiters any time of day. A survey by Yello found that 86 percent of millennials “feel positively about text messages being used during the interview period.” Recruiters who want to engage young talent need to embrace this less formal more fluid communication environment.
  3. Soft skills rule. Leadership, problem-solving ability, interpersonal skills, time management, and ability to collaborate will top the list of skills candidates need to thrive in 2019 and beyond. Fully 57% of leaders say these skills are more important than hard skills when considering new hires, yet 30% report that candidates do not have the soft skills for which they are looking. Soft skills can be hard to assess from a resume, so pre-employment assessments and structured interview techniques will be vital to identifying these attributes in new candidates.
  4. Diversity is a must. Companies who prioritize diversity in hiring have more innovative teams, happier employees, and experience better financial results. They are also better able to attract and retain new talent, which creates a continuous cycle of workforce improvement. Achieving diversity will be increasingly important in the years to come as roughly half of Gen Z identify as non-Caucasian, and they expect to see that reflected in the workplace. However, achieving diversity is still complicated. Companies can’t just set diversity goals and wait for change to happen. They need to reassess where they look for talent and how they assess skills to make sure the most qualified candidates rise to the top -- regardless of their race, gender or pedigree.
  5. Assessments will uncover hidden talent. In a world where demand for new skill sets is constant, companies need to hire people with the ability to learn, lead, and adapt. In this environment, pre-employment assessments will become an important part of the evaluation process, helping recruiters shift their evaluation criteria from college degrees and formal experience to considering attitude, ambition, and aptitude.

Finding talent in a low unemployment economy will always be hard, but recruiters who are willing to look beyond traditional talent sources and adopt new strategies for assessing candidates will be able to find the best talent for their firms.

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