Presidential elections capture the attention of business leaders and decision makers just as they do the hearts and minds of individual voters. With a new or re-elected US president comes new policy decisions that will undoubtedly have implications for business. The impact is even deeper if the president’s party also captures (or loses) more seats in Congress.

When business leaders have confidence in the political system and economy, they tend to be more likely to take actions that will spur company growth. In fact, a recent survey of CEOs revealed that company leaders are fairly confident leading up to the next presidential election, with 51 percent saying they plan to increase headcount or capital expenditures in 2020. 

On the other hand, when key decision makers are less confident, they may be less likely to invest and spend, which certainly impacts plans for future hiring. Here are five areas where the 2020 election could affect employment and hiring processes.

Unemployment Levels

Unemployment levels are never static, and there are highs among the lows. When the economy shows signs of slowing or moves fully into a recession, hiring plans also slow down, and some companies even begin to consider layoffs. Hiring does still happen in a down economy, but there is more scrutiny placed on hiring and spending.

Conversely, if the economy continues to be strong, as is the case going into 2020, companies are likely to continue hiring. This is certainly good news for candidates because there will continue to be a strong supply of jobs, but it also means companies will need to continue competing heavily for talent. Companies that want to attract a greater share of available talent will need to employ strategies that provide candidates with an easier, streamlined, and time-efficient recruiting and hiring process. Some of the solutions organizations will need to consider to boost talent acquisition competitiveness include: 

  • Employer branding—using channels such as social media and career networking sites is an effective way to showcase company culture, people, and job opportunities.
  • Shorter application and interview processes—streamlined interview processes and short applications that are easy to complete will keep candidates engaged. 
  • Efficient candidate screening—efficient background checks that are both fast and high-quality bring the hiring process to a timely conclusion.

Healthcare Legislation

It has been some time since the Affordable Care Act was passed, but there has been no shortage of attempts to overturn or water down the law. Depending on who wins the 2020 election, the Affordable Care Act and other healthcare legislation can either be strengthened or weakened. 

With more legislation and tighter regulations, there may be more compliance pressure on all employers. Healthcare employers, in particular, could face some unique challenges. If new or expanded healthcare legislation attracts more people to use healthcare services, health systems and hospitals will need to recruit even more talent to meet that demand, even as the industry is in short supply of doctors, nurses, and technicians. 

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Candidate Experience

The candidate experience is already important, but it will become more important in an economy in which companies need to compete more for talent. Because election outcomes will impact the economy, they will also impact the degree to which the candidate experience will be more or less of a competitive differentiator for companies. 

A strong economy will drive companies to further refine and improve the candidate experience in order to attract the highest-quality candidates possible. Because the candidate experience spans from the point of initial contact with a candidate all the way to eventual hiring, there are many actions that can deliver a better experience for candidates. Some examples include:

  • Candidate surveys—asking candidates for feedback delivers insights about which aspects of the hiring process are more effective than others, helping companies refine processes going forward.
  • Automation—new technology and integrations help to eliminate manual, paper-based hiring processes.
  • Efficient background screening workflows—reviewing the existing background screening process can identify opportunities to reduce turnaround time.


Laws regulating such things as overtime, paid time off, and salary history bans can be influenced by post-election policy changes. Policies deemed more “employer-friendly” may lighten the regulatory burden on employers and make it easier to hire, whereas other policies may focus more on worker protections, privacy issues, and increased employee flexibility. 

Any changes affecting employee compensation can have implications for hiring practices. Tighter regulations increase the compliance burden for employers, making it necessary to review and upgrade existing hiring processes where necessary. For example, new state and local salary history bans will lead organizations to examine job offers with more scrutiny, so there will be less pay equity risk in the future.

Background Checks

According to a national survey, most employers conduct background checks. Each must navigate a complex maze of laws governing how background checks should be conducted.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), for example, which governs employer background checks, can be amended, expanded, or rewritten after a major election and a change in government. Even something as seemingly straightforward as a change in the wording of FCRA background check disclosures can impact hiring practices and the steps employers must take to remain in compliance. Nuances that also, when not attended to, result in lawsuits and penalties for employers.

With changes in background screening laws, it will be more necessary than ever for companies to partner with a reputable background screening service provider that can provide much-needed compliance advice and support. A trusted background screening partner can help with resources to facilitate the process of reviewing a range of background check and hiring practices that could be impacted by a change in legislation, including:

  • Job applications—the passage of a new federal Ban the Box law or changes in existing state laws will require some employers to make additional changes to job applications.
  • Drug testing—the passage of more state laws on recreational marijuana use or national legalization will require companies to further change drug testing policies.
  • Adverse action—hiring decisions will be impacted by changes in laws dictating the parameters for taking adverse action based on background check results.

A New Hiring Landscape for 2020

The year has already begun with a fresh new batch of legislative changes affecting hiring practices. More change is likely on the way in the weeks and months leading up to the general election. Thankfully, there are resources available to help employers navigate upcoming changes, whether change comes in the form of a fluctuating unemployment rate or new laws that impact how companies recruit and hire. By exploring new strategies for improving the candidate experience, streamlining hiring practices, and working with a partner that can help you stay abreast of changes in federal and state regulations, it’s possible to successfully attract and hire great talent in 2020 and beyond.


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