Top Recruiting Trends for 2021

There’s no doubt that the upcoming year will be the year of adaptation. Our work processes, travel experiences, and our very way of life might need to be reinvented to a certain extent.

The Covid-19 pandemic, along with multiple other factors will make 2021 a strange year in which we’ll need to closely monitor changes and stay on top of the latest developments.

The recruitment industry won’t be immune to these changes. The whole recruiting experience from talent pools to interviewing and onboarding might look differently from what we’re used to. That’s why we need to try and predict trends, to get ready for what lies ahead.

Here are some of the most important recruiting trends for 2021 that we believe will affect companies from all over the world.

Focus on employer branding

In certain fields, especially in tech, finding the right talent is a matter of tough competition. If you’re looking for a senior developer with more than 10 years of experience, chances are most of your competitors are embarking on a similar adventure.

With this level of competition, the companies that have the best employer branding strategies tend to end up on top.

According to LinkedIn’s Ultimate list of employer branding stats, around 75% of candidates take a look at a company’s brand and reputation before deciding to apply for a position. That means you need to ensure your company’s image is crystal clear and appealing enough to drive someone’s decision to join your team.

When all things are equal – salary, vacation days, tech stack – candidates are likely to take a look at things like your core values, team structure, and your general work philosophy. In 2021, as things start getting even more competitive, your social networks, website, and all your public information might need to be rehauled so your brand gets a stronger voice.

The use of tools in HR

One trend that seems to be getting more popular, even in 2020, is the use of automation tools and AI in recruitment. This is a trend that is sure to translate into 2021, as more and more companies start to realize the advantages of streamlining the hiring process with software.

In fact, 72% of employers expect that talent acquisition will be automated by 2027. The software used for talent acquisition can help companies with various recruitment processes; from attracting candidates to nurturing them and turning them into applicants. You can also streamline the recruitment process by making the application process easier and more digital.

Another emerging trend in this field is Artificial Intelligence (AI). With the use of AI-powered and data analytics software, companies can source and screen candidates, as well as easily schedule interviews. Getting through large numbers of resumes in record times, speeds up the process and produces higher quality hires. These tools also save candidate information and help you create an efficient database that you can use for future positions.

Remote working staff

One significant change that has been a direct consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic is the increased need for remote working. For now, this change may benefit both companies (from a financial standpoint) and workers (from a flexibility standpoint). However, some are beginning to question the productivity of this model.

Here are some challenges that come with remote working:

Talent pools will be changing

As the whole HR industry keeps focusing on efficiency and time-saving as primary goals, we could see an increased focus on talent pools in 2021. Searching for your company and gathering talent from previous open positions can be the most effective recruitment tactic.

However, scouting for new talent might change, now that location is no longer an issue. This will allow you to scout for people in different cities or even across country borders. Larger talent pools usually mean more high-quality candidates, so this new development can be a great opportunity to improve your talent pools across the board.

Just make sure to include internal talents in your pool as well, since that can increase loyalty and employee satisfaction (as long as it’s a promotion, rather than a horizontal move).

Remote hiring will be the new norm

Another trend that the global pandemic has already brought us is the expansion of remote hiring. While some companies were caught off-guard by this new phenomenon, others were quick to adapt and soon found that this process has a lot of advantages over the traditional approach.

This has been one of the most important changes in 2020, and it’s likely we’re going to see even more of it in 2021.

Video interviews and online tests both remain solid options to assess candidate skills, but they aren’t able to completely replace the face-to-face experience of physical interviews. Hiring managers and employers will have a tougher time estimating candidates without the help of verbal cues and body language.

This could lead to risky hires that looked fine on interviews but prove themselves to be inadequate when put to work. If that becomes the case, many companies might need to invest in solutions that could help them improve the technical skills of their new hires quickly.

Diversity is here to stay

Companies have already started to make efforts to employ more diverse teams in 2020, and that’s highly unlikely to change in 2021. Taking a close look at your company structure and being proactive when it comes to creating a diverse workforce will be an ongoing task for hiring managers in the following year.

When we say “diversity”, most people usually think of characteristics like race, gender, and age, but diversity could refer to a lot of different skills. Good company culture will appreciate different personalities, soft skills, and professional backgrounds.

While recruiting a diverse workforce will increase your employee satisfaction and even bolster your company image, it can also have a measurable business impact. For example, it could help you to better understand your customers, give you more perspective, and even generate higher revenue.

In other words, diversity in the workplace can be good for your employees, customers, and your revenue. And it looks like 2021 will be the year of diversity.

Prioritizing candidate experience

This is a trend that has little to do with the ongoing pandemic but has been gaining popularity in the past year.

From the first contact with your company, your candidate will be assessing the whole experience. Their experience will have an impact on your brand perception, as candidates are now able to have a greater influence on your reputation than ever before. Employer review websites are an official channel where this influence is seen, but informal interactions and “word of mouth” are equally as important.

If a candidate goes through a pleasant experience with your company, they will be more likely to accept a job and even refer someone for an open position.

Open yourself up to feedback and listen to your candidates – both those who end up taking the job and the ones who reject you. If the majority of them mention that one particular part of your hiring experience could use some work – they’re probably right and you should address the issue.

A large discrepancy between junior and senior hires

As our future becomes more uncertain, companies will be less likely to hire juniors and recent graduates with little to no work experience. Hiring a junior means taking on some risk, and risky behavior is amplified when the economy is as unstable as it is today.

This will likely lead to a discrepancy: the competition for expert workers will be harsh, while juniors could find it harder to land jobs. Within the tech industry this is particularly evident where help desk and IT operations jobs (typically more senior positions) have fared better than the rest of the industry.

Another reason why juniors won’t be as appealing is their lack of soft skills. Skills like work ethic, personal responsibility, and dealing with pressure are almost exclusively acquired through work experience. So, no amount of education or good academic performances will be enough to convince an employer that a person with no experience can respect deadlines and fill in for colleagues while working from home.

Final word

While the Covid pandemic will certainly be a key factor impacting the hiring industry in 2021, other trends have started in 2020, which are likely to continue throughout the next year.

It’s our job to keep these trends in mind and adapt to the new situation that we find ourselves in.

With new information being posted almost daily, there will be no definite answers to our questions in the following year.

All we can do is continue to reassess our processes and keep improving them with our candidates’ experience in mind.

Jakub Kubrynski is the CEO of DevSkiller, a developer screening & online interviews platform powered by RealLifeTesting™. He’s an experienced Java developer and development manager. He’s an avid conference speaker and business-aware entrepreneur.