Recruiting Focus 2019

The number one recruiting focus for 2019 will be candidate experience. In fact, 74 percent of companies we surveyed at the end of 2018 said so. This from companies big and small across industries – nearly 150 of the 280 participating employers in the 2018 Global Talent Board Candidate Experience Benchmark Research responded to our brief “recruiting focus 2019” survey.

That may be somewhat self-serving, but every year we work with hundreds of organizations who are working hard on improving their recruiting processes, and ultimately, their candidate experience.

And for good reason: the past few years Talent Board has been focused on the business impact of candidate experience from pre-application to onboarding. Candidates who believe they have had a “negative” overall experience tell us every year they will take their alliance, product purchases, and business relationship somewhere else. This means a potential loss of revenue for consumer-based businesses, referral networks for all companies, and whether or not future-fit and silver-medalist candidates apply again.

However, the good news is that those who had a “great” overall experience say they’ll definitely increase their employer relationships – they’ll apply again, refer others, and make purchases and/or influence purchases when applicable. These aren’t just the job finalists either, or those hired, but the majority are individuals who research and apply for jobs and who aren’t hired.

What’s important to keep in mind is that the sheer number of candidates employers reject during the recruiting process can quickly impact the business and the brand, both good and bad. Not to say that those hired aren’t important to the business. Of course they are — they’re the individuals who help grow and sustain the business. And while all candidates, hired or not, can impact how the business is perceived by other potential candidates, internal or external and all referrals, it’s those not hired that need more attention paid to their perceived overall experience.

That’s why we wanted to know the primary recruiting initiatives employers would be focused on in 2019, so we asked the 280 employers three questions. These being in addition to the annual employer survey we ask for our benchmark research, one they answer every year starting in March, and which include over 80 questions in all.

But this time we wanted to get more granular about specific initiatives talent acquisition leaders and their teams will be focused on in 2019. The questions included:

  1. Where does your organization primarily hire? (North America, EMEA, APAC and/or Latin America)
  2. What primary recruiting initiatives/activities will your talent acquisition team focus on in 2019? (multiple choices)
  3. How will you accomplish these recruiting initiatives/activities in 2019? (multiple choices)

Most of the companies that responded said they hire in North America (see Figure 1), followed by EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), APAC (Asia-Pacific) and Latin America.

Figure 1. Where CandE Employers Hire

North America 86.0%
EMEA 19.6%
APAC 19.6%
Latin America 7.7%

The primary recruiting initiatives/activities their talent acquisition teams will focus on in 2019 ranged from candidate experience, to employer branding, to diversity and inclusion, to new technology implementation to many more (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Primary Recruiting Initiatives/Activities Focused on in 2019

Candidate Experience 74.1%
Employer Branding 65.0%
Recruitment Marketing 58.0%
Career Site Development 47.6%
Diversity and Inclusion 41.3%
Analytics and Data Management 39.9%
Employee Referrals 39.2%
Social Recruiting 37.1%
Onboarding 35.7%
Targeted Sourcing 35.7%
New Technology Implementation 33.6%
Application Process 32.9%
Talent Networks/Communities 31.5%
Screening and Interviewing 30.1%
Assessments and Tests 28.0%
Internal Mobility 26.6%
Structured Interview Training 24.5%
New Technology Purchase 23.8%
Offer Process 16.8%
Regulatory Compliance 9.1%
Contingent Workforce 8.4%
Other 2.1%


It’s important to note that the “other” entries included:

  • Workforce segmentation
  • Veteran recruiting
  • Technology adoption (using ATS / CRM for ROI)

How will the employers accomplish these recruiting initiatives/activities in 2019? In a variety of ways, including overwhelmingly improved processes and efficiencies, followed by new technologies, current staffing and more (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. How Employers Plan on Accomplishing These 2019 Recruiting Initiatives/Activities

Improved processes and efficiencies 82.5%
New technologies 55.2%
Current staffing 53.2%
Current technologies 30.1%
More staffing 21.0%
New leadership 15.4%
Other 7.7%
Outsourcing (recruitment process outsourcing) 4.2%
Outsourcing (individual consultants) 3.5%
Outsourcing (other service agencies) 3.5%
Outsourcing (staffing agencies) 2.8%

It’s important to note that the “other” entries included:

  • Restructure of talent acquisition team
  • Training hiring managers on interviewing techniques
  • Cross-collaboration with other departments
  • HR Transformation with outside partner

As shown above, technology is always important to empowering good recruiting processes and practices, and why new and current technologies are in the top four of how employers are going to get their 2019 initiatives done.

For 2019, 60 percent of North American employers are considering video job descriptions for 2019. Also, 38.6 percent of employers are considering an event scheduling system this year, while 33 percent want more predictive analytics and 30 percent are considering video interviewing systems, all of which impact the sophistication and complexity of improving the pre and post-application process (see Figure 4).

Figure 4. Areas Where Companies Plan to Contract with External (3rd-party) Technology Solution Providers To Improve Recruiting in 2019

Video Job Descriptions 59.8%
Event Scheduling System 38.6%
Predictive Analytics (Metrics/Reporting) System 33.0%
Video Interviewing System 30.4%
Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) System 27.1%
Reference Checking System 23.1%

Technology can also be a powerful ally when it comes to communicating with candidates, and texting is one form of communication definitely on the rise. In 2017, only 28 percent of employers were using mobile text-messaging campaigns, but in 2018, it jumped to 48 percent –a 71 percent increase.

It’s also important to note here how artificial intelligence and other smart technologies are helping employers improve recruiting. We saw a 69 percent increase in utilizing chat bots on career sites in 2018. More employers realize that a competitive differentiator is communicating earlier with candidates, even before they apply. Chatbots are being used to answer general employment questions and this frees up the recruiting teams to have more hands-on time with potential candidates already in play. Pre-qualifying candidates with AI from a variety of databases also increased by 27 percent in 2018.

However, according to Gerry Crispin, principal and co-founder of talent acquisition community CareerXroads and Talent Board co-founder and board member, it’s important to note that, “Technology can augment a good practice, but it can also enhance a bad practice, so how you use technology in and of itself does not provide engagement. It’s the practice of how you treat employees and candidates that has value.”

And a potential business impact. Again, the past few years Talent Board has been focused on the business impact of candidate experience from pre-application to onboarding. The good news is that the willingness of candidates to increase their relationship with an employer trends upwards globally over the past three years. In fact, global job candidates gave employers a great candidate experience rating that was 17.4 percent higher than in 2017. Plus, the willingness of candidates to sever their relationship with an employer only trends upwards in North America, with it flattening in EMEA and declining slightly in APAC over the past three years.

Here’s to continued success in 2019!

Kevin W. Grossman
President and Board Member
Talent Board

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