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Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Trends in 2021

Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Trends in 2021
Maelle De Francesco

Maelle De Francesco


After such a complicated year in 2020, it’s no wonder that businesses are reevaluating their talent acquisition and recruiting strategies for 2021. It hasn’t just been the pandemic that caused major changes in the marketplace, though that was a big contributing fact. Over the last decade, many advancements in technology were made that changed the entire landscape of recruiting.

We also understand that technology improves at a rapid pace, adoption is sometimes much slower. 2020 saw increased use of some recruitment and employee management technology simply because if businesses did not adapt, they would find themselves unable to navigate a quickly changing workplace.

2021 recruiting trends

With all of these changes in place, what talent acquisition and recruitment trends are we seeing in 2021?

1.     Remote Work

It’s no surprise that remote work is at the top of the list for recruiting this year. Companies transitioned to remote work quickly in early 2020 and many have decided to continue. But that does shift the directive for talent acquisition and recruiting. Companies are now looking for individuals who work well in remote environments and understand how to collaborate when not face-to-face with coworkers.

According to FlexJobs, remote jobs on their site increased 12% between June and August of 2020. And 65% of people who responded said they want to continue working from home post-pandemic. But recruiting remote workers is different than traditional employment, so it’s important to understand how to target the right candidates.

2.     Social Media Recruiting

Social media is no longer considered a fad. While the platforms and processes may still evolve, social media has become the driving force of interpersonal communication. That means, to target top talent, you need to be where the people are. Posting jobs on social media or attracting potential candidates by interaction will continue to be essential.

The statistics are pretty revealing. 70% of recruiters say they’ve successfully used social media to hire new employees.

3.     Artificial Intelligence

Recruiting has always been a high-touch industry, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. AI is becoming a major game-changer in staffing and talent acquisition. It automates the repeatable processes allowing recruiters to focus more time on the high impact parts of their job. AI can also speed up the process by which candidates are sourced through an applicant tracking system.

Recruiters typically spend 13 hours a week recruiting for just one role, so tools such as AI can that streamline the process are a gamechanger.

4.     Project-Based Contract Hiring

The Gig Economy got a lot of press over the last few years. Some aspects, like driving for rideshares, get a little more press than others but the gig economy was around well before Uber and Lyft became household names. For many people, freelance project work is still preferred and companies are on board with bringing in these contractors.

Roles for freelancers have been expected to increase for some time, but the pandemic accelerated the need. 73% of managers believe they will hire more contingent workers even as layoffs continue.

5.     Diversity and Inclusion

While diversity and inclusion in the workplace have been a topic of conversation over many years, several U.S. events of 2020 pushed it back to the forefront all over the world. Companies are looking at ways to make employment more equitable and inclusive for all people. Hiring a diverse workforce isn’t just about representation, though that’s an important aspect, it also creates a company culture where various mindsets contribute to success.

Diversity considerations will include redefining leadership, creating diverse teams, closing gaps, and paying attention to worker needs.

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6.     Employee Wellbeing

Throughout 2020, mental health awareness among workers became another huge talking point, so it’s no surprise that wellness and mental wellbeing is a major topic moving forward. Workplace related stress can cause several long-term health problems, and companies are starting to understand how their actions are complicit.

Up to 33% of American workers reported feelings of depression during the early months of the pandemic. Of course, mental wellbeing is a concern for workers across the world.

7.     Work/Life Balance Facilitation 

Hand in hand with mental health awareness, work/life balance is still getting a lot of attention. Especially as more employees are working from home, employers are recognizing that time away from work is still important. In remote work settings, companies still need to respect start and end times and not expect employees to access work after hours just because they’re working from home.

Some cultures have embraced the idea of work/life balance. In The Netherlands, for example, only 0.4% of people work long hours. But in Turkey, 33% of people spend more than 50 hours in the office.

8.     Employer Brand and Candidate Experience

For talent acquisition, employer branding and candidate experience may be the top discussions today. The employer brand is a combination of your reputation as an employer and the candidate experience. Even as many of the candidates you speak with will not get job offers, companies know that they need to treat everyone well at every step of the way to improve the overall process and quality of hires.

78% of job candidates believe that the way they’re treated in the hiring process is a clear indicator of how a company will treat their employees.

9.     HR Outsourcing

With so many companies working in a remote capacity, outsourced HR functions are becoming even more popular. Reducing overhead by having an in-house HR department may no longer be the most critical use of the company’s budget. HR Outsourcing through organizations that provide exactly this service can improve the processes behind the scenes.

According to Inc, some companies are choosing to outsource only a few aspects of HR, so the options are limitless to create a custom solution for your business.

10. Virtual and Augmented Reality

It may sound like futuristic science fiction, but virtual and augmented reality is being used right now to facilitate employee training and onboarding. In some industries, the use of virtual reality helps new employees understand specific processes with aspects such as manufacturing, safety, and fabrication. They can bring employees on a virtual tour of the worksite.

Some experts are speculating how VR and AR can impact the recruiting field in the future.

11.  Remote Onboarding

Similarly, remote onboarding is also a key factor in the success of remote working arrangements. Most companies are starting with online paperwork, including e-signatures, for all of the essential details such as tax forms, I-9 verification, employee handbooks and policies, and contracts.

Onboarding goes beyond just paperwork and training. A good program will also integrate employees into the workforce culture. So understanding not just what to do but how to do it will be essential.

12.  Gamification

The term gamification means using game mechanics, theory, and design to motivate people to achieve their goals. The use of the concept in recruiting has become a major player in the marketplace. Companies are now using quizzes, challenges, and behavior-based evaluations to determine if candidates showcase the job qualifications they’re looking for.

Gamification can be used on both the recruitment and candidate side, making such important aspects of hiring as skills evaluations more entertaining.

Stay Ahead of the Game with the Right Tools

To ensure success in the coming years, build your foundation from a system that streamlines your entire process. Manage your recruitment all in one place, from sourcing to interviewing and assessments, to increase the ability to focus on other important aspects of your job.

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