Key Takeaways from 2019 to Strengthen Hiring in 2020

Trends such as increasing use of technology in hiring, social media recruitment, focus on employer branding, candidate experiences, looking at hitherto under-recognized potential, etc. have transformed hiring in 2019 and will continue to shape the hiring landscape in 2020. Let us take a look at these trends.

Planning and strategizing for a blended workforce

We are headed towards a more blended workforce, and the man vs. machine debate is pointless. We will have a workforce that has full-time employees, gig workers (including freelancers, consultants, contractors, etc.) and machines (including bots and algorithms) working together.

Organizations must plan and strategize for such a blended workforce in 2020 and beyond. We must redesign and re-imagine roles and responsibilities, designating specific areas of deployment for these different categories of employees. The travel industry is a great example in terms of leveraging a blended workforce to its benefits. After being hit hard by the 2008 recession, the industry faced mammoth lay-offs. Over the course of the decade, it has stabilized, thanks to the blended workforce strategy. The travel industry majorly leverages bots and algorithms to personalize and customize services at scale. They maintain a regular workforce to take care of the day-to-day and management of the company while hiring expert freelancers and consultants for strategy, design, experience, research, etc.

Shifts in hiring patterns of gig workers

In 2019, India had a growing base of freelancers, remote workers and gig workers in a wide range of industries (unlike past years when freelancers and other forms of gig workers would be limited to a few industries). Gig workers are being hired increasingly for knowledge-based engagements (including those in the field of finance, law, futuristic technology, etc.) and not just for labour-based or unskilled work. In 2020, the recruitment of gig workers will be more structured, not haphazard and they will have more defined roles and career paths.

Major shifts in hiring trends in India

According to the recent study by, India’s second-largest job search engine, smaller Tier-I cities such as Pune and Ahmedabad and Tier-II cities generated a massive number of jobs in 2019 in sectors such as BPOs, education, training, etc. Though metropolitan cities were the frontrunners in job creation, the sustained growth in job creation in Tier-II cities is noteworthy.

The study also highlights that there has been a shift towards hiring for mid-level jobs (53.5%) away from the usual trend of hiring for entry-level jobs. Hiring for entry-level jobs was only 41% in 2019.

Moreover, there has been a shift in the skillset requirements in 2019 as organizations preferred people with multiple skills, digital dexterity and potential to adapt to changing job requirements.

All these hiring trends will continue well into 2020.

'Existing Employees First'

One of the biggest challenges facing all organizations in all facets of their functioning, especially hiring/ talent acquisition, is the widening skill gap. Technology is rapidly changing the way organizations across the board function. In such circumstances and a tightening labour market, organizations must have an ‘existing employee first’ approach wherein they reskill and upskill their existing employees in order to retain them and help them grow. This instils trust and loyalty in employees, creating a positive work environment leading to better retention rates. Attracting and hiring the right talent in such organizations will be considerably easier.

In 2019, several organizations had started investing in creating top-notch learning experiences for their existing employees with the intention of upskilling them. For instance, Google has a comprehensive learning platform and peer learning platform to help its existing employees. Several MNCs and startups are embedding coaching in their work culture. As the skill requirements will continue to evolve in 2020, we believe this trend will and must continue. 

Use of powerful and advanced technological tools to elevate hiring and candidate experience

Several top organizations have been experimenting with advanced tech tools to elevate the quality, cohesiveness and seamlessness of hiring and crafting impeccable candidate experiences in 2019. Some noteworthy tools include:

  • Automated screening of applications to minimize inefficiencies and time expended in the initial stages of recruitment. It enables recruiters to spend more time on examining shortlisted and more relevant applications.
  • AI-powered chatbots and AR/VR for candidate engagement on career sites and social media career pages, as well as, in onboarding, orientation and employee training.
  • Augmented writing tools to remove unconscious biases in job descriptions and other communication with candidates.
  • Software for candidate relationship management and creating a pipeline of talent.
  • AI for personalization of the recruitment and marketing process.
  • Analytics to improve the quality and outcomes of hiring.

In 2020, such advanced tech tools will be further leveraged by organizations to minimize hiring/talent acquisition costs and wasteful expenses, eliminate drudgery and inefficiencies experienced by recruiters and maximize the effectiveness of the hiring process. Candidate experience will take centre stage in 2020.

Use of social media platforms and referrals

While job sites have been majorly used by recruiters for discovering talent, social media platforms and referrals have started gaining popularity as a means of talent discovery for recruiters in 2019. This is a major shift away from age-old hiring traditions and conventions.

From LinkedIn to Facebook and Instagram, recruiters have leveraged social media platforms to reach out to the right target audience, gain better insight into the candidate’s ability to fit into the organizational culture, as well as, to track and verify information on their resume. This will be an incomparable tool in the recruiter’s arsenal.

Employer branding more important than ever

In a tight labor market, attracting and hiring the right talent amidst the growing clutter is a mammoth task. This had made employer branding a critical tool for HR in 2019, and organizations have been making concerted efforts to nurture a strong and unique employer brand.

A growing number of experts believe that the employer branding strategy going-forward needs to be Instagram First, Influencers Second and then other social media platforms. Companies like Google, Accenture and Microsoft have vibrant and well-managed Instagram pages where they share insightful and compelling posts about the company, innovation lab, work culture, and employee stories. Organizations are also allowing employees to post their own work stories.

Diversity and inclusion pay off

In 2019, more organizations made policy changes and conscious efforts to embrace diversity in a big way by tapping into high-potential and hitherto unrecognized talent pools (persons with disabilities, trans-persons, elderly workers, etc.). An increasing number of organizations are striving to create a more inclusive workplace culture where every employee can thrive and are aiming to become respected and sought-after employers. For instance, in India, apart from a fast-growing number of startups and new-age companies, it is heartening to see traditional and large organizations like Tata Steel and TCS announce policy-level changes to make themselves more inclusive workplaces.

Effective hiring is critical in the fast-paced, ever-changing business world. We hope these key takeaways from 2019 have equipped you with promising tools, techniques and strategies to further elevate the hiring process in 2020.



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