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Top Priorities for Recruiters in 2021

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The world of talent acquisition, like the rest of us, couldn’t escape the changes we underwent in 2020. With hiring needs rising and falling continuously, the huge increase in working from home, and everything else that affected our day-to-day life, TA teams had to evolve to meet these changes head on. Some of the effects are still being felt but what does this mean for 2021? Are we still as reactive to these changes or are we focusing more on long term strategies to combat them? TA teams want to get ahead of the game and be ready for when hiring demand is back to normal. Their priorities may be different this year to suit this main aim. Below are some of talent acquisition’s main priorities for the new year and how they may differ from our goals in 2020.


Recruitment teams are focused on diversity and inclusion now more than ever. Making commitments to meet diversity requirements is important but backing these commitments up with appropriate actions is vital. Different organisations do this in different ways. Reviewing your recruitment process to ensure there are no hurdles that may exclude underrepresented groups is a good place to start. As well as this, reviewing your organisations relationship with underrepresented communities will help you strengthen your alliances with diverse groups who may be the future of your company.

Taking advantage of remote working

No one can escape it. Working from home became the norm in 2020 and it’s looking likely that it will stay that way for 2021 and beyond. So, what does this mean for TA teams and their hiring needs? With most, if not all, hiring processes becoming virtual in the past year, recruiters are now overcoming these barriers and focusing on more long term and strategic remote working initiatives. These initiatives could include evaluating your leadership hiring to ensure you’re hiring leaders who can motivate and engage well with remote workers. With the majority of employees working from home, geographical barriers to hiring have also been removed. This means a much larger pool of talent is available and organisations must ensure they’re taking advantage of this to get the best possible people for every role they’re hiring for.

A focus on data analysis

In recent years, data analysis has become an increasingly important skill for recruiters to have. It is vital that TA teams make use of their data to drive improvement across all areas of the business. This could include a focus on metrics driven plans for diversity and sourcing as well as using data and insights to gain access to a high volume of well suited and qualified candidates. Data can drive improvement in all areas of recruitment including hiring processes and virtual engagement, making it one of talent acquisitions top priorities for this year.

Adapt employer branding material

Empathetic and trustworthy story telling is what caught candidates’ attention in 2020. Going into 2021, it’s important to ensure you’re telling the right story and it’s one which is not only relatable but reflects the new reality we’re all living in. With the recent change in the talent landscape, it’s important that your employer brand material changes too. The fundamental shift that the recruitment industry has experienced recently means the old messaging to candidates may be completely irrelevant now. Companies are recruiting for different types of jobs and the focus is on remote working as well as web, mobile and phone-based services. Organisations must ensure their messaging to candidates reflects this.

Recruiter and Hiring Manager relationships

For many organisations, candidate experience will always be their main priority but what about the hiring team experience? This often gets forgotten about and in an online only environment, ensuring a good relationship between recruiter and hiring manager is vital. This will provide a seamless hiring process as well as allowing the hiring team to define expectations and engage with each other. Empowering recruiters and giving hiring managers the tools they need to succeed is just one reason organisations have made strengthening this relationship a priority for 2021.

Evaluating the remote onboarding process

The quick and unexpected shift to remote working last year left many recruitment teams struggling to create a virtual onboarding program at a moment’s notice. As we have become used to the new ways of working, TA teams are prioritising the improvement of their virtual onboarding processes. With hiring demand back to the level it was pre-pandemic for many organisations, now is the perfect time to improve their hiring experience.

Effectively deal with the increase in hiring needs

With the huge drop in hiring needs in 2020, organisations finally had time to review, evaluate and implement a number of different strategic initiatives. However, as hiring demand picks up again, TA teams have one main priority for this year: efficiency. Organisations must go back to basics and fill open roles as efficiently as possible. Hiring top talent as methodically and accurately as they can is many recruiters’ top priority for 2021. Talent pipelining is the best way to effectively prepare for the uplift in open roles that many organisations will face this year. Having a slate of candidates prepared and ready to go when demand is back to what it once was will ensure your organisation can hire the best talent as quickly as possible to stay ahead of the game.

There was a lot to be learned from the changing world in 2020 but for talent acquisition teams, one thing was clear: adapting to the change in hiring process and ways of working is essential. Change is constant and it’s likely the recruiting world will face more change this year. It is vital that organisations have the ability to review and adapt their priorities and strategic initiatives to suit this change.

Building for the future with talent pipelining will allow organisations to be prepared and ready to go when hiring demand rises and there is a significant uplift in open roles to fill. Having a pool of candidates waiting will allow recruitment teams to be one step ahead, which in the current climate, can make all the difference.

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