8 hiring trends for 2020

With the anticipation of not only a new year but a new decade, the most strategic of companies are seeking ways to remain competitive in an ever-changing workforce. After all, many aspects of the professional sphere shift as generations begin their careers. From what top-performing candidates will prioritize when job-searching to effective ways to field through applicants, here, thought leaders predict the hiring trends to come in 2020:

Technology will optimize the candidate experience

As every executive understanding, as soon as you reach a ‘manager’ level in your title, part of your day-to-day gig is interviewing potential employees. While important, this can be a time-consuming process, especially when you also have to deliver on the rest of your responsibilities, too. Looking ahead, Jeff Berger, the CEO, and founder of Talent, Inc., predicts advances in digital recruitment innovation, AI and tech-centered marketing will streamline the process. Because of this, employers will have more time to focus on the human side of the hiring process, and less time sifting through applications. “What’s more, these technological advancements — chatbots, automated texting — will allow candidates to be better informed regarding the status of their application and more engaged in the overall process,” he adds.

Companies will combat the skills gap by adjusting their hiring strategies

According to Berger, employers face a global skills gap that is estimated to cost $8.5 trillion in unrealized economic output. In short, this means those candidates who demonstrate a willingness and ability to grow and adapt to new challenges in the workplace will be prioritized over others in the pool. “Emphasis will be placed on hiring employees who can devise creative solutions to meet their goals or have what’s known as ‘high potential’,” Berger shares.

There will be a bigger emphasis on benefits over pay

While it’s true everyone cares about how many zeroes are at the end of their paycheck, money might not be the biggest incentive for some professionals. As industrial-organizational psychology practitioner and workplace expert Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D. predicts, killer health insurance, unlimited vacation policies and work-from-home part of the week perks may outweigh a bulky paycheck in the years to come. “Companies know this and are structuring their packages to include more benefits or perks to attract the ‘right’ employee for the position,” she continues. “Recruiters are more willing to agree to unconventional work arrangements in order to attract and retain the best person for the role.”

There will be an emphasis on diversity in the workplace.

In the past decade, diversity in the workplace has taken a front seat in terms of priorities and equalizing. This trend is only going to continue, and if you ask Ronni Zehavi, the CEO of Hibob, it’ll be more important than ever. “From Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, the presence of cross-generational working environments will be a major trend as we move into 2020,” he continues. “Human resources departments will be tasked with staffing teams that include a wide range of diverse talent and backgrounds, ultimately bringing together bright minds with different generational perspectives that will work together cohesively.”


Recruiters will increasingly use AI-powered tools to assess candidate suitability. 

There’s a difference between what people claim they can do, and what they can really perform once they’re in office. This makes it tricky to hire someone who boasts about their abilities since you can’t exactly test for every-last-skill before an offer letter goes out. Or, can you? According to a survey performed by Top Resume in 2019, nearly one-third, or 28 percent, of organizations admitted they are already using competency, job-knowledge and technical-skill tests to evaluate their candidate pool. Another 15% are utilization personality and neuroscience games to determine soft proficiencies, too. “Expect an increase in the number of employers adopting these technologies into their evaluation process in order to confirm you possess skills stated on your job application,” Berger adds.


Cultural fit — and on-boarding best practices — will matter more.

Zehavi says in 2019, companies started putting culture first, and in 2020, they’ll only become more focused on this part of working. How come? It’s estimated 77% of people rate culture as ‘extremely important’, and 64% of employees admitted they are less likely to stay at a job after a negative onboarding experience. “Companies know a strong culture is the key to retention, so making sure the candidates being interviewed not only have the right skills but also will feel at home in the organization will be a focus for hiring managers in the New Year,” he adds.

Recession fears will result in preventative actions

There are some camps of leaders who are worrisome of a 2020 recession, while others aren’t quite sure. Regardless, many have started to act, like Morgan Stanley. As Berger explains, the bank is cutting 2% of its workforce due to the uncertainty in the global economy. “Ironically, if large, international corporations like Morgan Stanley take these precautionary steps, their actions could be the catalyst to place us in a recession,” Berger continues. “Expect to see more employees, candidates, and employers taking measures to ‘recession-proof’ themselves in the coming months.”

Flexible work schedules will become the norm — not the exception — for professionals and employers alike

Though with changing freelance laws in California, and predicted shifts in New Jersey, it may feel even scarier to go out on your own, employees will continue to seek flexible and remote opportunities. In fact, according to the International Workplace Group’s 2019 annual survey, 50%of employees worldwide are already working outside of the so-called mothership, at least 2.5 days a week. Another 80% shared if they were deciding between two new gigs, and one had more laid-back rules with being in office, they’d go for it. “While flexible work environments are not new, 2020 will be the year that they begin to normalize for both employees and employers,” Berger shares. “This will allow employers to fill more project-based, temporary, and freelance opportunities while reducing costs, and eliminate the geographical restrictions that prohibit them from finding the perfect match.”


Social media presence will be a part of the hiring process. 

If you ask Hakim, gone are the days when a good resume and a solid interview are enough to secure a new position. Today, your digital footprint is what will set you off in the right direction. “Recruiters spend time researching the social media profiles of applicants and will dismiss a candidate if the candidate’s social media activity or online presence is questionable,” she shares. “This is why it is especially important to keep private accounts private and to ensure that all public accounts reflect the applicant in a positive and professional light.”