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Recruitment | 4 Min Read

The Top 5 Talent Acquisition Priorities For 2020: What’s Yours?


Every year brings a new surprise to the recruitment arena, and 2020 is going to be no different. With more emphasis on automation and AI, organizations can no longer over-rely on traditional methods of hiring to attract and retain quality talent and must have a well-defined talent acquisition strategy in place. As candidates have more and more options to choose from, the tables have turned in recent years. Now, you don’t pick talent, but the talent picks you. Candidates have got more power in their job search, and a number of tools are available to give them a fair idea about joining an organization or not. So, operating in a recruitment market where everyone tries to pounce on top talent; how do you survive and keep up with the changing recruitment market. To know the exact, we conducted research with over 2000+ organizations, and this is how talent acquisition is going to change in 2020 and beyond. Let’s take a look.

Speed and Quality of Hiring

There is no dearth of recruiters across the globe who miss out on top-quality talent for long-winded interviews or inability to roll out offers in time.

Even Mettl’s internal research validates the fact that closing an entry-level position takes 7-15 days whereas mid to senior-level positions require a month or even, two.

And, spending such exorbitant times to close positions not only increases the recruitment costs but also results in poor candidate experience. Although the stats about the average time to close a requisition are quite understandable, given the high-quality standards that recruiters need to adhere to. However, improving speed and quality is going to be one of the key priorities of recruiters in 2020 and beyond. Again, our same research conducted on 2000+ organizations reveals a similar story as 67% of organizations agree that improving speed & quality of hiring is going to be the game-changer.

Highlighting the importance of speed in hiring, Zach Townsend, HR Manager at Verified First quotes,

“Reducing time to hire should be a recruiter’s highest priority because of the competitiveness of the market. With a generationally-low unemployment rate, time is a competitive advantage for HR professionals. If a recruiter can decrease their time to hire, they’re more likely to attract and obtain high-quality talent. If they can perform background screenings while being FCRA compliant, they can ensure they have a qualified workforce, with less risk.

For efficiency, recruiters naturally have to respond to a tight job market, where the fastest recruiter is more likely to get the best candidate.”

Mercer | Mettl Talent Assessments


Employer Branding

To attract and retain top-quality talent in 2020 and beyond, building a strong employer brand should be on the cards for every recruiter. With more and more organizations striving to create better workplaces and spend more to drive employee engagement, your brand must create a positive buzz in the market.

And positive buzz means employees looking for a change should be aware of your employee-friendly policies, a conducive work environment, employee benefits and most importantly, how work makes them feel at your organization; even before they join. Even a leading Linkedin Report also suggests that 75 percent of candidates factor employee branding before joining an organization. A positive employee brand can help you attract quality talent, retain them, and can also help you close multiple requisitions on autopilot through referrals. Such is the power of employee branding.

Attesting to the fact, Amanda Cruz, PR & Internal Communications specialist at Gartner says, “SMBs that emphasize an appealing workplace culture receive 50 percent more job applicants and appointing a staff member to respond to online customer reviews can help to minimize the impact of negative reviews.”

Candidate Experience

When candidates have multiple jobs to choose from, you have to give them a pretty good reason to join your organization; which should be different than a fat paycheck. And, providing a gratifying candidate experience can do the job. The recruitment process is broadly classified into three stages, Sourcing, Screening & Selection, and Onboarding. Now, your job is to provide a seamless and hassle-free experience in each of these stages, so that the candidate thinks, “The organization has a pretty decent and structured recruitment process. Must be a good place to work for.” And you are all set! On the other hand, if there are roadblocks in any of these stages or they get an impression that your recruitment process is haywire, they might look for a better fit elsewhere.

Thanks to recruitment technology, there are plenty of options you can exercise to provide a great candidate experience. As found in Mettl’s internal report on State of Talent Acquisition in 2020, 53% of organizations use structured assessments, and 40% do video interviews to save candidate time.

Apart from that, thoughtful onboarding with pre-boarding engagement, goal setting or training & assessments is also a time-tested method to improve the candidate experience.

Building Talent Pipeline

Do you chase candidates every single time a requisition comes? That won’t be the case if you get proactive and build a strong talent pipeline for future requisitions. It’s like a repository where you keep every candidate that applies directly or through a referral or other avenues. And when a new requisition comes, or a previous employee decides to leave, you don’t have to start over with floating a new requisition, waiting for the CVs to pour in to start the interview process.

Candidates who organically became a part of your hiring funnel in the pipeline can be the first ones to check out for. Believe it or not, having a quality talent pipeline can drastically improve your hiring time by at least 25 percent as you will always have a prospective candidate list at your disposal, every single time.

Even our internal research validates the importance of building a strong talent pipeline as more than 67 percent of organizations will focus on building a strong pipeline of quality talent in 2020 and beyond.

Hiring a Niche Workforce

Going forward, organizations can no longer rely on vanilla hiring and expect business growth to skyrocket. Recruiters must identify the core skills instrumental to the organization and recalibrate the hiring strategies in place to hire for these skills first. This approach ensures that there is no dilution in the hiring funnel and the topmost requisitions get the priority they deserve. But, hiring for niche skills is not a cakewalk even though it can save recruiters some serious pre-screening time.

Nevertheless, 40 percent of organizations in our internal research said they are going to focus more on niche hiring through social media, tailored job descriptions, and more in 2020. Having a structured assessment process with an emphasis on cognitive and psychometric assessments is another way to go.

Get Smart, Hire Smarter

As we enter in 2020, the recruitment landscape is going to change for good. Therefore, every organization must pick their talent acquisition battles smartly to get access to the handful of top talent and survive the long run. Without leveraging technology and automation to manage your recruitment process, that seems a far fetched dream. To start the year on a positive note and perform talent acquisition the right way, organizations must analyze the entire hiring funnel first. Key insights can be what sourcing & screening channels are performing the best and what needs a fix. Or, Is there a particular domain where hiring is in the soup right now? What all activities exhausted the hiring budgets in the last year and is there a scope for improvement? While all these priorities can help you up to your hiring game in 2020, you must also leverage data to make smarter and intelligent decisions in talent acquisition.

A Step-by-Step to Creating a Structured Hiring Process Using Competency Framework, Technology & Data Analytics-1

Originally published January 7 2019, Updated August 3 2021

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About This Topic

Talent assessment is the practice of assessing talent before making critical organizational decisions, such as hiring, development, promotions, etc. Talent assessments evaluate a candidate’s skills, knowledge, personality, behavior, and work style to future-proof an organization’s business interests.

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