Last year was tough on recruiters. The pandemic and its repercussions devastated some talent acquisition teams, heaped new demands on others, and proved to be a historic change agent as virtually recruiting and onboarding a remote workforce became the norm for many.
2020’s adversities will certainly inform talent acquisition trends in 2021. More companies will adopt virtual recruiting technologies; shift talent attraction efforts to remote candidates; consider internal talent pools; and focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. The best recruiters will take the opportunity to add new skills, adapt as needed and show their value to the organization.
Over 1,500 talent acquisition professionals from 28 countries identified these trends in a survey conducted by LinkedIn and supplemented by data generated by more than 760 million members on the professional networking site.
Daniel Chait, CEO of New York City-based Greenhouse, one of the fastest-growing recruiting software providers, envisions the talent acquisition function playing a major role in what he calls the “great rehiring.”
“When COVID is mitigated and life can start returning to normal, businesses will need to quickly gear back up,” Chait said. “If things go well, it’s possible that more people will re-enter the workforce in 2021 than in any single year on record.”
[SHRM members-only toolkit: Recruiting Internally and Externally]
Virtual Hiring Is Here to Stay
In the same way that a hybrid workforce of onsite and remote employees will become more normalized, a hiring process that combines virtual and in-person processes will become increasingly standard due to the associated cost and time savings, according to 70 percent of respondents to the LinkedIn survey.
“Job interviews will largely continue to be conducted virtually,” said Candace Nicolls, SHRM-SCP, senior vice president of people and workplace at Snagajob, a Glen Allen, Va.-based online staffing platform that specializes in matching candidates to hourly wage jobs. “Even for businesses resuming in-person operations, I expect that virtual and automated interviews will instead replace many in-person touchpoints, helping to accelerate timelines while also providing a critical layer of safety as we continue to observe social distancing rules.”
Ryan Healy, president and co-founder of Brazen, a virtual hiring event platform, said virtual recruiting in 2020 helped organizations streamline recruiting processes, improve diversity hiring and hire better talent by reaching across geographic barriers.
“These gains mean virtual recruiting has earned its place in the ongoing talent acquisition strategies of nearly every industry across the country, and employers will continue to use virtual recruiting alongside more-traditional in-person recruiting and interviewing once it’s safe to meet with candidates face to face again,” he said.
But Addison Group CEO Thomas Moran contends that the future workplace will be less remote than many are forecasting. “As the COVID-19 vaccine takes hold, people will welcome a return to the office to be with their colleagues,” he said. “While the pandemic may have taught us just how resilient we can be working remotely for an extended period via Zoom conference calls, it is not sustainable. Humans are a social species and ultimately need that direct, in-person contact and connection with one another.”