4 Trends That Will Shape Employer Branding in 2020

Unemployment in Ireland has fallen to its lowest level since 2007. And while that rate of 4.8% is great news for the economy, it makes things a bit more complicated for hiring and HR managers.

Because when the number of open positions exceeds the pool of available candidates, job seekers can afford to be choosy.

According to the Hays Ireland Salary and Recruiting Trends 2020 report, three in four employers have expressed difficulty hiring permanent staff in the past year, with 64% citing a shortage of suitable candidates and more than half pointing to competition from other employers.

It goes without saying that employers need to step up their hiring practices if they want to stand out — and that goes way beyond touting salary and benefits. 


Here are four trends to watch in 2020 that will change how you hire incredible talent:


1. Put company culture first

Company culture is more important than ever when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent. Jobbio’s Work Happy Index 2020 ranked flexible hours, healthcare and pension schemes, and remote work as the top three most important perks to employees in 2020, while work-life balance outweighed a competitive salary when it came to the mark of a good employer.

Meanwhile, an American Express survey found that 75% of millennials want to work for employers that put purpose ahead of profit and help to make a difference in the world. Similarly, Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent Trends study revealed that three in four employees who feel professionally fulfilled say it’s because they work for a company with a strong sense of purpose.

People are increasingly looking for purpose-driven employers whose values reflect their own. As you look at differentiating your value proposition, be sure to promote your Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility efforts as part of your employer brand. 


2. Build a blind hiring programme

Today’s job seekers, particularly Millennials and Generation Z-ers, want to work for employers with diverse workforces. A Deloitte survey found that diversity is not only the key to attracting these workers but also keeping them: 69% of respondents said they would be more likely to stay five or more years compared to 27% of those who say their employer is not diverse.

The first step in building a diverse workforce is to create a pipeline of diverse talent. Alas, a recent Yale study found that candidates are judged on their socioeconomic status within seconds of starting to speak, showing that biases go beyond looks and where someone went to school.

One way to eliminate unconscious bias from your hiring process is to build a “blind” hiring programme that takes race, nationality, gender and age out of the equation. Companies around the world are turning to technology to help. GapJumpers removes CVs from the process entirely and Interviewing lines up qualified candidates for technical phone screens without sharing their information. Meanwhile, Nottx, Seekout and TripleByte remove candidates’ identifying information from CVs or from typed responses to interview questions.


3. Make your applications mobile-friendly

According to Deloitte, 19 out of every 20 adults in Ireland own a smartphone and use it for everything from texting friends and ordering a takeaway to replying to work emails. That’s why it’s no surprise to learn that smartphones feature prominently in job searches.

Glassdoor research found that 58% of its users today are looking for jobs on their phones and 35% would actually prefer to apply for jobs that way too. So not only is a mobile-optimised career page a must to compete in today’s tight labour market but so too is a mobile-friendly application process.

And don’t assume it’s only younger generations who expect it: Glassdoor also found that mid-career workers —those aged between 35 and 44 — are the most likely to look for jobs on their mobile phones.

That being said, mobile job seekers successfully complete 53% fewer applications and take 80% longer to do so. Consider making use of the one-click application process offered by the likes of Jobbio, LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster, which enables applicants to submit a pre-uploaded CV. 


4. Create a great candidate experience

In a candidate-driven market, it’s crucial to remember how important it is to leave a positive impression on anyone who’s considering your organisation. In fact, Deloitte discovered that 83% of job seekers say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or organisation they once liked. On the flip side, 87% say a great candidate experience can change their mind about an employer they once doubted.

Let’s face it: unless you’re a household name, most people won’t know what it’s like to work for your organisation. So if your recruiting process is chaotic, that’s how the candidate will perceive the entire company. And as Deloitte’s researchers noted, “Not every candidate will join your organisation. But every candidate will have an opinion about whether your organisation is worth joining.”

Focus on creating a great candidate experience every step of the way. While technology can help speed up time-to-fill and reduce cost-per-hire, there’s no substitute for human interaction early and often. Keep candidates informed on next steps and what to expect, offer feedback and if you decide not to move forward with someone, let them know as soon as possible. 


Today’s competitive hiring landscape shows no signs of letting up in 2020. Rethinking how you engage with and evaluate candidates will go a long way towards ensuring your organisation puts its best foot forward and builds the perfect team.