The end of 2014 is near, and overall it has been a good year for the business world. While we still haven’t completely recovered from the “Great Recession” of 2008, corporate profits are up, the stock market hit record highs and gas is actuallyaffordable again.

There have been tremendous changes in the hiring landscape as well in the past 12 months, much of it positive. So, without further ado, here are the top 10 hiring trends we saw in 2014 (and some bold predictions for 2015):

1. Hiring Was Up

The best news of all, and something that is the root cause of many of the following trends. The unemployment rate has dropped from 6.7 percent at the end of 2013 to 5.8 percent at the end of November, according to government figures.

On top of that, at VoiceGlance, we’ve talked to dozens of recruiters in the past few months and they all said the same thing: normally we are slow during the holiday season, but not this year. And not filling in employees at existing positions, but adding new jobs at all levels.

Bold Prediction for 2015: Hiring continues to increase as the unemployment rate nears 4 percent.

2. Despite That, Salaries Stagnated

Generally, when hiring increases, salaries increase as well. However, that just wasn’t the case in 2014, with salaries staying low while corporate profits skyrocketed. Specifically, statistics show that corporate profits have increased 84 percent in the past five years – one of the largest five-year increases in recorded history – while salaries have increased a mere 7.86 percent over that time – one of the smallest five-year increases in recorded history.

There’s strong evidence that will change, though. A survey by MRINetwork of 333 recruiters found that the market has become more candidate-driven, as opposed to employer-driven, in the past few months. That, coupled with a lower unemployment rate, should mean higher salaries in 2015.

Bold Prediction for 2015: The upcoming year will be a good one for workers, as employees will see their largest salary increase since 2008.

3. Slow Hiring was a Major Problem

If you wanted to get hired in 2014, the secret was not holding your breath. The Wall Street Journal reported that companies took an average of 25 days to fill a vacant position in 2014, a 13-year high.

The reason wasn’t lack of candidates, as the unemployment rate – although shrinking – is still relatively high. Instead, it appears many companies are suffering from “perfect fit syndrome”, where they are being incredibly picky and deliberate while hiring.

However, that slow hiring process is hurting smaller businesses, who are losing strong candidates before they even make a job offer. For smaller businesses to stay competitive, that is going to have to change.

Bold Prediction for 2015: Exceptionally attractive companies to work for – Google, Amazon, etc – will still have long, intense hiring processes; but smart, smaller companies will begin to speed up their hiring.

4. Immigration Reform Still Didn’t Happened

President Barack Obama made news last month by giving temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. That might help some companies, but a bigger problem for organizations is the difficulty of adding workers via Visas to their ranks for high-skilled jobs.

The demand for high-skilled workers – particularly ones in the IT field – is at an all-time high, making it more competitive than ever for companies to bring in the people they need. Increasing quotas, meanwhile, remains a controversial move, particularly while the unemployment rate in America remains high.

Bold Prediction for 2015: We’d like to be more optimistic, but with a lame duck president and a “do-nothing” Congress, there’s little hope that substantial immigration reform will happen in the next year.

5. Hiring Became More Evidence-Based

Many companies, like Capital One and Xerox and hundreds of others, have adopted and enhanced an evidence-based approach to hiring over the past few years. However, studies show that far too many companies, especially small companies, still are “trusting their gut” too much while hiring.

What does an evidence-based process look like? It means collecting hiring data over time and beginning to realize what works and what doesn’t for certain positions, similar to the “Moneyball” approach to baseball Billy Beane made famous at the Oakland Athletics.

Smaller companies haven’t adopted this approach yet, believing they don’t have the data or the tools to incorporate it. But with an influx in technology in hiring, that excuse is becoming less and less valid.

Bold Prediction for 2015: Evidence-based hiring becomes the industry standard for companies of all size by the end of the year.

6. Screening Was A Bigger Issue Than Sourcing

In the old days, sourcing candidates was a big deal. But with the internet and LinkedIn and workers more eager than ever to get new jobs, the issue for many companies is increasingly becoming screening over sourcing.

The reason? Companies are getting more resumes than ever, with ERE reporting that the average corporate job posting in 2014 garnered 250 resumes. Some candidate pools were smaller, but they require fast decisions because generally that talent is highly-desired, so again screening quickly was paramount.

Bold Prediction for 2015: Applying for jobs becomes easier than ever, leaving employers to sift through massive candidate pools to find the right people.

7. Screening Tools Became More And More Popular

Wherever there is a problem today, new technologies pop up offering a solution, and that is true for the screening issue mentioned above. Hundreds of new recruiting tools popped up in the past year and almost every big company – and a lot of small ones – used some sort of screening tool.

That should only continue as technology has made recruiters more efficient and hiring more collaborative, despite larger-than-ever applicant pools. The question is which tool will dominate the market?

Bold Prediction for 2015: dominant hiring tool or two will emerge and, to get most jobs in America, the first interview will be an online personality assessment or automated (or both).

8. Hiring Is Becoming More About Intelligence And Culture Than Skills

Jobs are changing faster than ever today as new technologies make old tasks obsolete. That means that the modern employee needs to be smart and adaptable, as opposed to skilled in a particular area.

Additionally, led by Zappos, a new trend has emerged where companies are putting an increased emphasis on the cultural fit of the candidate. Again, because the needed skills are so fluid in today’s marketplace, employers will continue to care more about who a candidate is, as opposed to what they know.

Bold Prediction for 2015: That trend amplifies, as the credo among companies becomes “hire for attitude, train for skill.”

9. Candidate Experience Was Ignored

Again, candidates had to wait longer than ever before to get jobs in 2014. On top of that, they were forced to endure awkward one-way video interviews (not saying anything, but there are far more candidate-friendly solutions out there) and weren’t given any update on their status, even after an in-person interview.

That should change in 2015. With an increasingly-competitive hiring market expected for the upcoming year, companies that have candidate-friendly hiring processes will be more successful than companies that don’t.

Bold Prediction for 2015: Companies will begin to make candidate experience a priority and will favor hiring tools that are candidate-friendly over ones that aren’t.

10. Hiring Still Mattered – A Lot

This one hasn’t changed for a thousand years and won’t change for another thousand years: getting the right people is still the key to success for any organization. Companies that assembled the right teams in 2014 excelled; those that didn’t failed.

Of all the business plans out there, there’s no better one than hiring great people and staying out of the way. That’s not really a trend for 2014, but an inescapable fundamental of any organization.

Not-So-Bold Prediction for 2015: Getting the right people will still be crucial for any organization.

About VoiceGlance

VoiceGlance is a cloud-based hiring tool used by forward-thinking companies to hire smarter, instead of harder. Learn more here.