What to watch for in 2019 as an HR professional

17th January 2019

HR techWe are all back from the holidays and finally catching up on all those emails we missed over the holidays. Budgets are set and companies are preparing for one of the busiest hiring months of the year. So what will be the biggest changes to come into talent acquisition in the new year?



I believe that 2019 is the year we will start to see wide spread adoption of AI powered recruiting tools.  While it seems intimidating, there are a few simple ways that an AI can help you and your team become more efficient while providing a better candidate experience.  I am the son of a mechanic and my father would tell me; “when you are fixing an engine start with the least expensive and easiest fix first’. The same logic applies to those who are venturing into AI for the first time=.

I recommend to start by looking at tools that help you schedule interviews.  There are very few recruiters that would lament the loss of this time consuming task. Industry studies that show recruiters spend as much as 30% of their time scheduling interviews. In response to that, companies moved to a model that uses recruiting coordinators.  

This does have a benefit of giving back some time to the recruiters. However, there are a number of drawbacks.  The most obvious challenges are the cost and the introduction of another handoff for the candidate. Automated interview scheduling tools are generally less expensive than the cost of a coordinator. They also empower the candidate to schedule a time that works for them. All this, while eliminating a lot of the back and forth communication traditionally required for scheduling things like in person interviews.  In my opinion this is a great starting point for AI.

The next area I would investigate would be chatbots.  Chatbots have become common place in the retail and consulting world and are now are gaining momentum in talent acquisition.  There is a wide variety of chatbots available that offer a stunning features. However, you can start by looking at some that offer basic functionality.  One of the best ROI money you can invest, is a chatbot that makes it easier for candidates to express interest in your open roles.  We are in a candidate-driven market – especially in the data world . Back in 2008 it was feasible to use the application process itself as a screen to test and see if candidates are genuinely interested in a job or if they are desperate because of the economy.  However, 2008 was an employer’s market. 2019 is a candidate market with many employers struggling to fill their tech positions.

This means that the companies that use a traditional application model, will see a drop in their inbound applicant traffic. Keep in mind, candidates are able to easily access hundreds of job postings.  Industry reports state that between 80 and 90 percent of all people that land on corporate careers pages do not finish an application. As thus, an engaging chatbot on your careers page, will make it simpler to invite the candidate to express interest. 

Chatbots can help with this bottleneck. They are mobile-friendly and text-based.  In 2019, do not overestimate the value of a text-based conversation. With over 8 trillion text messages being sent in a year, texting is the dominate form of human communication. Leverage that by allowing your platform to connect with candidates the way they like communicating nowadays. 

The third area to investigate in 2019, is the new CRM platforms available to the market.  A CRM can be a more substantial investment than the previous options and it can be a forward looking project. A CRM will advance your recruitment marketing the sharing of your  employer brand.  While often over looked, employer brand has become an increasingly important aspect, according to talent acquisition surveys. What this indicates is that now more than ever, it is not enough to have a big name in the marketing. Companies like Amazon have are now struggling with negative media regarding their brand. Brands need to now be  known for their right-doings for their employees and community at large.

In summary, 2019 will be a year with the adoption AI tools in the front line.  My advice is to start understanding where in the process your biggest bottlenecks are. With that in mind, start taking demos of tools that can address your specific challenges.  Start off small and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take demos and listen to vendors. We are in the early stages of AI adoption and there is a lot of variety in the market.


Take your time, take notes ask questions and don’t be afraid to try!


Read also: Workplace culture: 7 steps to success

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Mike Wolford

A published author and experienced recruiter. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, Mike published “Becoming the Silver Bullet: Recruiting Strategies for connecting with Top Talent” and “How to Find and Land your Dream Job: Insider.

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