20 Experts Reveal How Talent Acquisition Will Change In 2019 (+ How We Can Keep Up)

How we do business today is rapidly evolving thanks to the advent of tools like AI and other technologies that allow us to deepen relationships with our audiences and do our jobs better — and talent acquisition is no exception.

But all of this advancement comes at a time when recruiting and talent acquisition professionals are facing a nearly unprecedented uphill climb in getting — and keeping — the right candidate in the right position. Historic lows in unemployment rates, talent shortages in our increasingly data-driven world, and rising employee turnover mean that talent acquisition professionals will need to up their game to win in 2019.

That’s why we asked the experts how they see talent acquisition changing this year, and how we will need to adapt to keep up.

Here’s what the experts had to say…

Andrew Akesson

In my opinion, Google For Jobs will probably become a game changer over the next year. Google rolled it out in the US and then they were very careful to assess its impact before rolling out to other territories. It takes time for job searchers to change their job searching habits, and Google will know this as they inevitably wait for the impact they hope it will have on the market, as searchers move away from big job boards such as Indeed and Monster (unless they seriously grow their marketing budgets to ensure they stay in public consciousness), and directly go to Google for the most suitable collection of jobs. Don’t be shocked to see the tool being used in conjunction with paid ads for jobs though in 2019. The search giant does nothing unless it grows their bottom line through ads.

Ruchi Bhatia

TA professionals will act more like marketers. More Recruiters will leverage and adopt social media to influence and attract passive candidates. Companies will leverage AI in recruitment for the screening of candidates. Recruitment marketing will foresee the entry of new HR tech startups. Many companies will deploy technology platforms to manage their hiring processes. Companies will also invest in employer branding to compete in a competitive talent landscape.

Dawn Burke

I think 2019 will bring an upsurge in text-based recruiting. Let’s face it; we are all exhausted with the insanity that is our email inbox; candidates are no exception. When candidates get “email overload” they tune out (especially passive candidates). However, most text message inboxes are still relatively “clean”. With 98% of text messages read within 2 minutes, more talent acquisition platforms are adding text-based functionality.

Joel Cheesman

Recruiting gets more meaningful in 2019. Automation is taking away so much monotony and drudgery, recruiters will have no other alternative but to talk to candidates and build real-life relationships. The bots will force us to be more human.

Mark Crowley


3.5 million people quit their jobs — every single month — in 2018; the most in 17 years. The US Labor Department predicts these numbers will climb even further in the new year — a trend that will finally force companies into making deeper and more meaningful commitments to their cultures and workplace leadership. Now that workers have many choices on where they will work, the best talent will go where they are valued, supported & nurtured. In 2019, talent retention will prove more important than talent acquisition.

James Ellis

2019 is the year the business gets a lot more involved with recruiting, both the processes and the tools. Recruiting tends to look at all of its problems through the lens of recruiting: They keep doing what they’ve always done, just a little bit bigger and a little bit faster. To a recruiter, all problems can be solved with faster software and another body to lend a hand, but they exist in a world in which all elements are anti-customer: the ATS, the application process, the lack of communication, the lack of transparency, etc.

Their metrics have no connection to the business (number of applications, time to fill, requisitions per recruiter, etc.) and only speak to other recruiters.

The fact that recruiting exists as a function within HR is a historical legacy, from back when recruiters were there to manage the application paperwork, not source, sell and build relationships (things HR isn’t usually great at). This is the year a handful of companies will realize how strange this position is, and split their recruiting function off, either to report directly to the business or as its own pillar within the organization, with the Head of Talent reporting to the CEO instead of the CHRO. This will be seen as an experiment to some, but from it, we’ll see what happens when recruiters are expected to work against business-driven metrics that are money-based and brand-based. Most of these companies will see the immediate positive impact (because recruiting and hiring managers will no longer be positioned against each other, but living on the same side), and also not tell a soul because of what a business advantage it drives for them. But boy, 2020, one will write up a nice little article on the subject and be seen as a genius, a revolutionary in the space and everyone will be looking to follow suit as vendors start incorporating that thinking into their products and pitches.

Tom Haak

The use of ‘Virtual Job Tryouts” will increase. Pre-employment screening is getting more advanced, and with the technology of today, it is possible to combine employer branding, an attractive virtual job tryout, and an initial assessment on really relevant criteria. Integration and face validity (relevance for the job) are important.

In my predictions for 2019 (“10 inspiring HR Trends for 2019”) I mentioned the continued importance of personalization. The need for personalization will also have implications for talent acquisition. There will be less demand for people who fit in one specific job profile, and more for people with broad (but not superficial) skills and a future proof personality. This will enhance personalization when people enter the workforce (job crafting). Candidate experience design can also benefit a lot from more personalisation, as the expectations and preferences of candidates also greatly vary.

What will not change in 2019: the importance of the human touch and a real interest in candidates.

Venkat Janapareddy

In looking at the realities of the labor market in 2019, talent acquisition professionals will need to increasingly meet candidates where they are, to be able to get in front of top talent. An “if you build it they will come” mentality will no longer serve TA professionals in 2019, as job seekers increasingly begin their searches via search engines themselves, not third-party hiring sites. HR departments will rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning to find quality candidates more efficiently and without the need for job boards.

Katrina Kibben

In 2019, I see talent acquisition fundamentally changing the way they tell recruitment marketing stories. Our content shouldn’t be all about the company and perks anymore. We have to explain what a person will experience if they work for you. Why the work matters. With that narrative in mind, I hope they’ll take the time to audit, reflect and update the current candidate experience. It’s overdue.

Hung Lee

2019 will see HR move from talent acquisition to talent access & allocation. Many of the hard challenges we have in recruiting and retention stem from our traditional default mode, which is hiring for permanent, full time, onsite staff. Next year will see organizations become much more in tune with the needs of the modern worker – flexible, project-based, distributed. Organizations that are quickest to switch will be the ones who have the advantage in the battle for talent access.

Maribel Lopez

Companies are actively working with AI software to eliminate hiring biases, increase diversity, and expand the candidate pool. Additionally, AI-fueled tools such as chatbots are improving candidate knowledge and engagement with real-time answers to questions at any time of day.

Lindsay Parks

I think the focus on empowering recruiters is going to become pretty substantial. A company’s employer branding strategy is really only as strong as its talent acquisition professionals. We’ll be turning to them to help us promote content, teach internally and engage candidates beyond the intake/interviewing process. The buck really does stop with this group, no matter how many individuals you have on the recruitment branding team.

Andy Partridge

I think the biggest change will be an increase in matching people to culture, and candidates promoting more holistic profiles. Old school CVs and job specs just aren’t working well anymore. Candidates are looking at better ways to articulate their personal brands, and employers are finding better ways to articulate their intangible assets.

Tim Sackett

I find year-to-year changes to be almost not noticeable. So, I’m not sure we’ll believe much will change in 2019. I do think we’ll see a continued focus on recruitment marketing as organizations start to mature their ability in this area. More and more I’m seeing organizations understand how important it is to market to candidates in the same way they market to their customer base. Part of this emphasis clearly is around the concept of hyper-personalization, as candidates want an experience that is built for them, not just the same old process and experience every other candidate is getting. How do you make “me” feel special? How do you show “me” that I’m the actual person you want to work for your company? Making your recruitment personal takes more work, but the response rate is much higher.

Robin Schooling

In 2019 we may, finally, reach nirvana when all the budget dollars spent on branding and recruitment marketing pay some dividends. TA leaders will focus on inbound marketing; not necessarily great news for sourcers, but the payoff is long overdue for all the time and effort invested in bringing candidates “TO” one’s career site.

Lori Sylvia

The candidate experience is really a communications experience. In 2019, talent acquisition leaders will invest more in strategies and technologies that enable them to improve how they communicate with candidates at every step of the candidate journey. We’ll see more sophisticated employer brand messaging, more mature implementations of CRM as well as greater adoption of email, chat, and text messaging to enable personalized communications at scale through automation. Recruiting Marketing content is only getting better, and we have better tools available to help us communicate more humanly with talent.

William Tincup

As more AI success and setback stories become publicly accessible, we’re all going to see a change in TA (and HR). We’re at such an interesting point in time where technology both confounds and excites us. We’ll see more of where and how things are working which will temper the fear about these new technologies. Read that as we’ll start to see AI as our friend not enemy. To me, that will be the biggest change in our industry in 2019.

Elena Valentine

In 2019, I see talent acquisition experimenting with new, more immersive, mediums. Video, virtual reality, and employee-generated content will make applying for jobs more personal. Candidates want to know what jobs are really like, and experience the work first-hand before they apply.

Carrie Walecka

We are living in an increasingly data-driven world, so at Brightcove, we look for points on resumes to show how applicants use data to prove value and ROI in their jobs. Decision-makers throughout the company crave better insight through data to make the best business decision possible. We need employees throughout the company who are able to provide that value in their roles as well. On resumes for salespeople, we look for proof points in how they do against their quota and goals, for talent management it is about candidate acceptance rates, sources, and quality of hires, and for customer success roles it is about the NPS score. All roles and candidates can be evaluated to some extent through data and it’s only going to play a larger role going forward.

The big trend I see and anticipate it continuing to play a role for hiring is recruiting people with data analytics skills, mainly for people looking for Business Intelligence focused roles, but also for leaders who are responsible for managing and reporting out on the data of their departments.

Ira Wolfe

Technology combined with a tight labor market will make 2019 more disruptive than ever. Every company will face more challenges and more competition. Leading the way will be Google. Between Google for Jobs and its constant stream of algorithm updates, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) will become a required skill set for recruiters and HR. Second, both hiring and recruiting decisions will be increasingly powered by AI and People Analytics. It will make hiring success much more difficult for managers who rely on their gut more than the facts. Third, voice search will begin to impact how job seekers search and the ability of companies to reach job seekers using conventional marketing strategies. Unless your job postings show up at or near the top of search, candidates won’t see (or hear) you! Finally, turnover will trend upward. It’s a warning to every employer. With low unemployment, the best candidates may be on your payroll, but they are all walking around with a bulls-eye on their back waiting for a competitor’s call.

More Predictions for 2019

What are your predictions for changes to talent acquisition in 2019? Tell us on Twitter. You’ll find us at @jobiak.ai. We look forward to connecting with you there and on LinkedIn.

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