Hiring in a changing world – trends for how we work now

It’s hard to think of something that hasn’t changed in 2020. Recruiting is no exception. The recruitment landscape in 2020 has dramatically shifted, and trends emerging this year will affect 2021 and beyond.

Being forced to complete the entire recruitment process virtually has exposed areas of opportunity for HR teams everywhere. And while most companies have used recruiting technology for years, there are plenty of new, innovative ways to source and retain talent. It’s time to get and stay ahead of your competition.

Below, we outline 13 top recruitment trends for 2020. Each trend will have lasting, long-term impacts on your business. Following them can help build a more sustainable recruitment process — no matter what happens in the future.


1. Online Recruitment

Online recruitment and onboarding is the new normal. According to Glassdoor, over half (51%) of workers and job seekers say their preferred source for finding a relevant new job opportunity is an online job platform. While online recruiting can make it easier to connect with job seekers, over 20% of recruiters still feel they cannot meet the demands of the best candidates.

To ensure that you’re using online recruitment resources like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Seek to the fullest, first consider the types of responsibilities the candidate will have to tackle, what a day-in-the-life might look like, and what soft skills the applicant will need to succeed. Once you’ve created an ideal candidate profile, carefully craft a strategy to court candidates who have the right qualifications, the right level of interest, and are available at the right time.

Most importantly, build an engaging, intuitive career page on your website. An online portal that’s easy to use and highlights the best aspects of your culture is key. To get traffic to your page, consider running ads, posting on social media, and on job boards.

Ensure that your job posts and ads match up with the profile you’ve created as well. Any misalignment will throw a wrench into your online recruiting efforts from the get-go. You can also make a list of screener questions, keywords, and filters to help catalyse your efforts.

And don’t forget about mobile search. 90% of job seekers use a mobile device when looking for a new opportunity. Make sure you are on apps like LinkedIn that are readily available on a smartphone. Contemplate building out a specific mobile campaign to access this massive applicant pool.


2. A Better Candidate Experience

A great hiring experience is the best first impression. According to IBM, people who are satisfied with their candidate experiences are 38 percent more likely to accept a job offer. You want your company to stand out in terms of professionalism, timeliness, and flexibility. IBM also found that applicants who are content with their candidate experience are twice as likely to recommend the hiring organisation to others.

The number one aspect of the experience you should concentrate on is speed. Fantastic candidates get poached quickly. Use a well-functioning candidate portal to make it easy for candidates to search and apply for positions, and take advantage of analytics to find others that match your job description online. Move candidates through the interview process swiftly by educating hiring managers on each candidate ahead of time. Debrief immediately afterward so that you can gather and provide feedback promptly.

In addition, regularly communicate with each candidate. Keeping them up to date makes them more engaged and excited to move to each subsequent stage. While constant communication may seem bothersome or desperate, ignoring a candidate or failing to follow-up in a timely manner will have a far worse outcome.


3. People Analytics

In a recent study, 78% of large companies rated people analytics — also known as talent analytics — as urgent or important, yet only 7% rated their organisations as having strong HR data analytics capabilities. If your company doesn’t yet have algorithms to help you with skill gap analysis and workforce planning, make the case to your leadership team. Not only will it improve the candidates you attract, it will also free up HR’s time to work on developing the rest of the workforce.

Taking advantage of key insights from that data can streamline your entire recruitment strategy. People analytics can uncover the most fruitful talent pipelines and determine when the market is right for hiring versus retaining talent. What’s more, it can inform recruiting teams on which strategies are working and which ones are not year over year.

Plus, your rivals are probably using people analytics already. Enormous corporations like Microsoft and Google employ AI and big data to improve their talent management systems. Organisations need to harness data, translate it into actionable insights, and implement smarter HR processes to stay competitive.


4. The Value of Soft Skills

Recruiters often search for very specific, technical keywords on candidates’ profiles. Of course, some roles require particular certifications and levels of expertise, but soft skills can be just as important. In fact, Deloitte reports that roughly 66% of jobs created between now and 2030 will depend on soft skills. Some of these skills — like effective communication — can be learned. Others, like empathy, are more challenging to teach.

Recruiters must anticipate a shortage of these skills and attract as many emotionally intelligent candidates as possible. Candidates who have demonstrated flexibility and self-motivation in previous roles are good indicators of emotional maturity. Employees who started their own projects or switched into a completely different department are likely able to adapt to new responsibilities, evolving technologies, and variable economies. These people are huge assets to your company. When the going gets tough, these are the types of people who lead the company to safety.


5. Improving the Interview Process

Glassdoor reports that interview schedule changes are one of the main stressors job seekers face. A seamless interview process will help interviewees and interviewers know what to expect and when. Even if you end up not selecting a candidate, they should come away with a good impression. They might be a great fit for roles later on or recommend your company to qualified peers.

Before you try something out of the box, train interviewers to interview. Just like anything, interviewing is a skill. Encourage leaders to take interview courses that you host yourself, or bring in a third party to educate them. Emphasise the need to think through the most important competencies for each role, and have them turn these elements into interview questions that will reveal whether or not the candidate has the appropriate level of experience or critical thinking for the position. This preparation accelerates the interview process and will help the company hire better employees.

Candidates are increasingly chatting with interviewers by phone or video rather than in person. Use video for positions that require strong communication and presentation skills. You can even have the candidate perform tasks that they would on an average day or work through a case study live. This allows the hiring manager to see an unpolished version of the candidate and gives them a sense of how the person performs under pressure.

You should also make sure the candidate talks to more than one employee. A diverse panel of interviewers with different perspectives will enable a better assessment of the candidate — particularly in regard to cultural fit.

If you’re ready to get more imaginative, try administering a soft skill examination. The advantage is that it’s relatively easy to compare test results among candidates. For an even more modern approach, give virtual reality (VR) a whirl. In VR, you can have the candidate work through tough problems, make hard decisions, and work with other team members.


6. Leveraging the Employer Brand

Big names like Salesforce, Airbnb, Zappos, and HubSpot stand out because of their exceptional employer brands. Even if you’re not sure what the company sells, you can tell that the people who work there love their jobs. LinkedIn finds that 75% of jobseekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying. And companies with great employer brands receive 50% more qualified applicants.

Leveraging your employer brand during the recruitment process and fine-tuning it to attract talented applicants is key to a successful recruitment cycle. Many employers assume that this means they should increase their outbound marketing. While outbound communication can be flattering to some candidates, the best ones likely receive solicitation messages already. Some refuse to respond to outbound marketing regardless of who the message is from.

Instead, think about how to increase your inbound traffic. An employer brand isn’t just about perks or how much someone gets paid. It’s about having a terrific culture. Work with your marketing team to make sure that your culture is evident from the very first time someone clicks on your company’s website. Does your career page make your workplace look exciting? What is the sentiment of reviews on sites like Glassdoor? Every touchpoint a candidate could possibly encounter should reflect your culture and reputation.

If you’re having trouble finding out how to shape your culture into something extraordinary, try interviewing current employees or past interviewees. What stands out to them as something to spotlight? What part of your mission resonates most with them?

You should also think about how to showcase your culture on social media. Things like company traditions, working with charitable organisations, and even video clips of employees talking about their experience can make a big difference in a candidate’s impression of your organisation.


7. AI Insights

When most people think of AI, they think of it in terms of taking away jobs. But recruiters should think of AI as their best friend. Artificial intelligence can speed up recruitment dramatically and reduce bias in screening and selecting candidates. It’s no surprise that 96% of recruiters believe AI can improve talent acquisition and retention.

There are many ways AI can help you create a more nimble and intuitive recruitment lifecycle. For example, conversational chatbots can interact with and collect information on candidates at various stages of the recruitment journey. These chatbots can ask candidates about what kind of job they are seeking and point them in the right direction on your website or online jobs portal. Data scientists then can use chatbot intel in addition to profiles on job posting sites, resumes, and cover letters to match candidates to open roles. The end goal is to use AI to source the brightest, most capable candidates quickly.

While introducing AI can be expensive, increased productivity lowers costs, and more efficient technology makes it more likely that you’ll identify and retain excellent talent. In a 2018 Recruiting trends report, talent professionals spent nearly 33% of their work week sourcing candidates for one role. Imagine how much more efficient and productive recruiters could be with AI assistance and the right recruiting solution.


8. Building a Talent Pool

A talent pool is a list of pre-qualified candidates and runners-up from previous interview cycles. Although talent pools aren’t revolutionary, most organisations don’t update them often, nor do they nurture individuals in the pool over time. It takes consistent work to keep the talent pool warm and continuously add more candidates. But even though it may take a while to build up a reliable talent pool, this trend is becoming increasingly prominent because of its long-term value. Recruiters can immediately tap into this group whenever a new role opens up.

To keep your talent pool engaged, notify them of product launches, new white papers or case studies, and webinars. The people who sign up for these events or download content are probably still following your company and would potentially be interested in open positions. So when new roles crop up, let your talent pool know. Give them as much information as possible about what you are looking for in a new hire. Doing so will get you more candidates who are fully prepared for an interview.

Don’t forget that your current workforce is a key part of your talent pool as well. In a Deloitte survey, 76% of C-suite members rated internal mobility as important, and 20% rated it as one of their companies’ top three issues. Plus, Harvard Business Review estimates that it takes three years for an external hire to perform as well as an internal hire, and the time and resources to court external talent are substantial.

Uncovering amazing talent within your organisation is easier than you think. Proactively develop different career paths within your company and highlight that moving to other departments is completely normal and encouraged. Host departmental webinars or publish videos on your intranet about how to apply to internal roles.


9. Social Media and Recruitment

At first glance, social media and recruitment may not seem to go together. But these days nearly everyone spends time on some sort of social media, and this behaviour has skyrocketed over the past year. More and more people on digital platforms makes social media a gold mine for recruiters.

Companies can use social media to highlight their company’s brand and culture. Pictures and videos express so much more about what it’s like to work somewhere than a generic job posting, blog post, or one-sheet. “Day in the life” videos are becoming quite popular, as are clips of leadership speaking at internal events or participating in fun community activities. Emphasise diversity of thought and other unique elements that are core to your culture, and make a hashtag for certain events so that employees can tag their organic company experiences. Remember, candidates can tell if these videos are scripted or photos are staged, so authenticity is key.

In addition, actively use social media to identify and reach out to passive candidates who have the skills you want but won’t reach out to you on their own. Make sure your company is one that they’re hearing from — reaching out and keeping those potential candidates warm can pay off in the long run.


10. Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace are non-negotiable. Candidates want to know that your company takes equal opportunity seriously and is committed to sustaining a culture where everyone is accepted. Bigger organisations started hiring employees specifically dedicated to building diversity and inclusion in earnest this year, and this trend is not likely to slow down. Recruitment lays the foundation for strong cultural values. And while diversity is a huge social and moral issue, it also contributes to a company’s bottom line. Countless studies have concluded that diverse workforces consistently outperform their competition.

HR teams need to be holistic in their outreach and source diverse candidates in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation. Put time into revising job descriptions by inserting gender-neutral language, talking about any employee resource groups your company might support, and mentioning any other policies that would make diverse candidates feel comfortable in your workplace. Post these jobs in various community groups that you can find online and on social media.

Bear in mind that not all amazing candidates are hanging out on LinkedIn, Indeed, or other job platforms. Be strategic about where to look. Read blog posts, listen to podcasts, and pursue other avenues to discover all the places you should be searching.

Another thing to think about is diversity of thought within a department or your organisation as a whole. Should there be another type of voice at the table given what you know about the hiring team? Make incorporating a wide variety of perspectives during the hiring process and beyond a major priority.


11. Cross-Functional Skills

Cross-functional skills are future-proof and help employees deal with change. Employees with cross-functional skills excel at problem solving and often make an outsized impact when they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. When screening applicants, look for talents that could be applied to other departments and roles if necessary. Eagerness to learn is also a plus. You may find these qualities in younger candidates who are more malleable and receptive to training and development or in experienced candidates who have seen it all and excelled no matter what was thrown their way.

Sometimes applicants might come from industries you may not normally consider. Give these people a chance — sometimes they have transferable skills that will help them adapt quickly. Moreover, these folks will lend a critical eye to rote processes and can end up giving their new team a competitive edge. Recruiters should look for candidates who demonstrated creativity, put in the time and effort to learn something new, and adapted to new roles in the past. Even better are candidates who can communicate the way in which they think about tackling hard problems eloquently and confidently.


12. Cultural Fit and Community

Hiring for culture and fostering cultural alignment within your organisation creates a sense of belonging and community. This isn’t easy, even in the best of times. Virtual recruitment has made it even trickier to figure out who is a good fit.

To start, make your company values, mission, and vision crystal clear in every step of the recruitment cycle. Mention how vital these elements of your company are in job descriptions, phone screens, and online interviews, and encourage hiring managers and other interviewers to do the same.

You can also craft situational questions to gauge whether or not candidates’ responses are in line with your culture. Get a sense for what the candidate liked or disliked about their previous employer and what kind of hobbies or side projects they are interested in outside of work. Try adding some team problem solving activities with other employees in the interview process as well. All of these methods can help you determine whether or not the candidate is aligned with the culture you want to build.


13. Recruitment Software

Recruitment solutions are needed now more than ever to find and secure the best talent available. They keep costs low and can save hours during the recruitment process.

For instance, most recruitment software contains dashboarding functionality that can help recruitment teams manage every applicant at each phase of the process. Any lapses in communication are immediately identifiable and can be addressed instantly. Software also permits recruiters to tailor messages to specific applicants depending on the number of times they’ve applied with the organisation or when they aren’t moving onto the next stage. Recruitment platforms can even help with measuring recruiting team performance. KPIs are much easier to assess, take action on, and evaluate over time.

A pleasant, easy-to-use application portal is key as well — this is a candidate’s initial exposure to your company. The portal interface is a reflection of the pace of technology at your company. A modern platform is fast, optimised for mobile use, and adequately manages expectations by outlining a realistic timeline for getting to a final interview. Recruitment portals give an unparalleled level of transparency, which is appreciated when candidates are applying to multiple roles.

Finally, a recruitment platform greatly assists with the onboarding process, acting as a “one-stop-shop” with company policies, training, and other resources. Self-serve content gives HR professionals more time to spend on other hiring-related tasks.


Stay Current in a Changing World

Even the most motivated recruiting team can only do so much. To implement these trends, you’ll need an all-encompassing solution that helps shorten time-to-hire, attract quality talent, retain the best employees, implement HR best practices, and grow employees into amazing leaders.

Look no further than HireRoad  — the leading holistic recruitment solution available. With HireRoad, recruitment teams can efficiently source, select, and hire high quality talent. Onboard by HireRoad is easily configurable with support for unique workflows, and an intuitive UI ensures an enjoyable candidate experience. By automating communication with candidates and measuring success through reports and dashboards, you can build a successful recruiting pipeline while reducing talent acquisition costs.

Learn more about how you can revolutionise your recruitment strategy by scheduling a demo of Onboard today.