HomeTalent3 disruptions evolving the early talent recruiting landscape

3 disruptions evolving the early talent recruiting landscape

  • 5 Min Read

Now more than ever, people leaders need to understand the challenges that lie ahead early talent acquisition. Discover the 3 key disruptions transforming the recruitment landscape in 2020, and how to stay ahead of the curve.

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The world of recruiting is ever-evolving and adapting as the workforce changes. Whether it’s adopting social media as a recruiting tool, engaging candidates on a more personal level, or using technology to find new and innovative ways to hire, recruiters are always looking for creative ways to stay ahead.

A big part of this stems from forecasting recruiting trends and responding appropriately. At Handshake, we leverage insights from our unique three-sided network of 500K+ employers, 900 partner universities, and 6M students so we can facilitate qualified connections in a personal, scalable way. When it comes to recruiting early talent, here’s what we believe 2020 will have in store.

  1. COVID-19 is Challenging Employers to Go Digital

COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, has had global impacts for everyone. Employers, employees, and recruiters are no exception. With thousands of events across the world being canceled and strong recommendations towards social distancing, in-person recruiting is on hold, at least for now.

This shift has led business leaders to enable their teams to recruit from home and mobilize their spring recruiting to an all-digital approach. Instead of attending or hosting in-person career fairs and events, or bringing candidates into the office for an interview, recruiters are utilizing live streaming and video conferencing platforms to host virtual recruiting events, career fairs, and one-on-one interviews.

Since the outbreak, the demand for video conferencing apps such as Zoom has increased nearly 5x. Recruiters will likely adjust to remote interviews and hiring processes until conditions improve.

Some businesses are implementing hiring freezes on non-essential roles as a result of these uncertainties. By putting a temporary hold on hiring, we predict a large backfill of open roles that will need to be filled once the impacts of COVID-19 subside.

Employers are responding to these changes by shifting the way they have traditionally nurtured relationships with top talent—from partly in-person to purely digital. They are reaching out to students that responded to their now canceled on-campus events to invite them to attend their virtual events, and are increasingly looking for ways to message and connect with candidates online.

In many ways, employers on Handshake have already been doing so for some time. From fall 2018 to fall 2019, campaign messages on Handshake have increased by 320%. The number of candidates sourced through online messaging has increased, too—by 4.7x.

We’re also noting that employers are increasingly looking for digital ways to replicate now canceled trademark industry events like NSBE, which has historically offered a groundswell of diverse, qualified talent. Uber, for example, has made the switch to virtual and will enable its 400 interns to go through virtual onboarding and attend virtual intern events this summer.

Employers are utilizing online engagement and sourcing tools like Handshake and social media platforms to proactively connect with and engage potential candidates at scale. Not only does this keep everyone safer, but it also requires recruiters to be more personal, which is important to this new generation of workers.

  1. Fresh Talent is Mitigating the Newly Retired

As baby boomers enter retirement, Gen Zs are entering the workforce en masse. Nearly 4.5M Gen Zs will replace the 3.6M baby boomers who plan to retire this year. There may be more people entering the workforce than are leaving, but this gives employers the opportunity to better match these newcomers with newly open functions left by retirees.

To understand how early talent can fill these roles, recruiters are looking beyond traditional attributes such as STEM-related majors or GPA. Instead, they’re focusing on skills—both hard and soft—that can provide a more accurate assessment of early talent’s ability to succeed in a new role.

Another attribute recruiters are considering is what Gen Z candidates value in the workplace. As more and more Gen Z candidates launch their early career, recruiters are shifting their approach to accommodate what’s most important to them: authenticity, upward mobility, and diversity.

Gen Z spends time crafting their unique identity, building up their skills, and working on ways to set themselves apart. They want to work for an organization that appreciates their diverse skill set and identity.

  1. Gen Z is Increasingly Tech-Proficient

Unlike other generations, Gen Z grew up after the technology boom and are considered highly tech-savvy. As such, they’re more drawn to technical roles. Not only are these roles in very high demand, they typically pay more, too, which appeals to Gen Z’s financial motivations.

To get these roles and set themselves apart, this generation is responding to a shift from employers’ traditional hiring criteria by focusing on developing their soft and hard skills as well. By learning how to use technology—apps, computers, smartphones, and more—at an early age, they’ve developed a solid foundation for some of these hard skills throughout their childhood.

We’re also noticing that top technical applicants aren’t necessarily majoring in STEM-related programs. About 1 in 3 women who apply for software engineering and developer roles on Handshake majored in curricula other than STEM, for example. This includes business analytics, communications, marketing, language, and political science. To fill technical roles, recruiters have begun engaging early talent outside of traditional STEM majors and will continue doing so.

Navigating the Trends

As COVID-19 continues to impact businesses everywhere, the ways in which employers recruit will change indefinitely. Digital engagement, virtual events, and video conferencing will become more dominant for engaging with and hiring job candidates.

Employers will still have to adjust and pivot as talent needs change, new candidates enter the workforce, and employers seek out a more diverse and talented candidate pool. If they can use trends to their advantage, the recruiting process may become more efficient and yield better-matched candidates.

Learn how the world’s leading employers engage early talent by visiting Handshake.


By Kristen Ribero, Head of Employer Marketing at Handshake

Register for FREE virtual attendance to HRD Summit/US: A Virtual Experience on April 9th 2020.

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