Slim pickings during the holidays? Now's the time to find talent.

It's a new year, but the big challenge for companies seeking talent remains the same—at least in the short term.

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The tight job market is expected to continue into 2020, furthering an 11-year run of economic expansion—and declining unemployment—in the United States. A panel of 57 economists who participated in The Wall Street Journal's December economic survey offered a relatively optimistic outlook for 2020 growth, although they anticipate a slower pace than in 2019.

With these conditions—and this buyer's market continuing for job seekers—employers need to be thinking right now about executing on recruiting strategies in a market where competition for talent is fierce.

Landing talent in the holiday season is tough sledding, but a new year offers renewed promise. Armed with fresh budgets and ambitious plans, now is the time to make the resolution to develop a plan that will enhance your opportunity to land strong candidates that can take your organization to the next level.

It's also worth mentioning that it's commonly recommended that job seekers search for jobs in the new year, mainly to align with companies' new hiring and payroll budgets. And you can be sure that many of America's workers set career-related resolutions on an annual basis—in 2018, 14% of people polled had a resolution to "get a new job."

Finding top talent

When it comes to finding top talent, it's a good idea to look back, as well as forward. Review how you've consistently found your best talent in recent years. Was it through employee referrals? LinkedIn ads? Industry networking events? Maximizing what has delivered success can help keep your candidate pipeline full and reduce time wasted on tactics that don't produce results.

That being said, with so much competition, you can't afford to only rely on what worked yesterday. Resolve to keep up with the latest ways to find and attract talent, such as investing more time and resources in social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where prospective employees may be spending much of their screen time, even if job hunting isn't top of mind.

Streamlining your process

With prime candidates often interviewing at multiple companies—some of which are likely lengthy, painful hiring processes—you can set yourself apart by honing your hiring process in ways that assure it is thorough, but also efficient. Let candidates know up front what your process is and how long it is expected to take, and then stick to it. Strong candidates will appreciate the transparency, and you'll end up landing top talent who have positive things to say about your process. (Of course, more-than-competitive pay and benefits helps too.)

Empowering your hiring managers

HR can do a great job finding candidates, but after they do, you might think about getting out of the way and letting hiring managers own the process. That's the approach that gaming company Arkadium has taken to deliver improved recruiting success, according to Forbes. Arkadium decided to “flip the traditional approach on its head and distribute more hiring responsibility to department managers. Now, HR is far less involved and hiring managers are empowered to take the lead in attracting and hiring talent."

The result: Candidates interact from the get-go with department heads who know the role well and can provide details and insight into what each specific job will entail. The approach has vastly improved recruiting for Arkadium and can do the same for you.

Leveraging automation

While you're digging through resumes, your competition is leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to efficiently identify the top candidates. Technology is becoming increasingly more capable and automation can help facilitate candidate screening, interview scheduling and skills analysis. The human touch will always matter in the hiring process, but using tools to help handle more manual tasks will help you focus on landing the right people quickly—a win-win scenario.

Polishing your branding… and promoting it

Job candidates can afford to be choosy these days, and they will shy away from organizations that don't effectively promote their strengths and the benefits of working there. Borrow from the tactics of successful brands that are using consumer marketing methods including SEO, content marketing and social media to attract and recruit the right talent. Your organization should invest in promoting itself as an attractive place to work. Testimonials from longtime employees and recent hires go a long way in improving the comfort level of potential candidates.

The holiday rush is winding down, if not over, and the rush for new year hires is fully underway. Getting focused now will help make 2020 a year in which you win the war for talent.

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