2021: Ringing in Renewed Hope and a Healing Era of Amazing Hires

2020 has been one of the toughest years for too many, so I’m not exactly heartbroken to see it go. Are you? Probably not. In fact, as the New Year gets closer, I’m feeling a renewed sense of hope, like the storm clouds of 2020 are lifting and I’m beginning to see the possibilities ahead.

Don’t get me wrong, the New Year won’t magically erase the many challenges we still face, especially with the pandemic’s continued impact on recruiting and hiring. Many businesses and industries will almost certainly be on the road to recovery for quite some time. But I’m convinced that 2021 can help us start fresh in lots of ways.

For instance, I believe the New Year could herald the start of a new era—an era in which more and more employers are able to hire (and rehire) truly amazing people. People who want to thrive and are willing to learn new skills and bring new possibilities to businesses everywhere. What’s driving my belief? Three clear trends:

  1. The Potential Pools
  2. Recruiting Automation
  3. The Best of Candidate Experiences

The Potential Pools

As we mentioned in our CandE Recruiting Focus 2021 article, 2020 was a year like no other. The global pandemic impacted economies everywhere (and continues to do so), which in turn brought recruiting and hiring to a halt for many companies, with millions of people losing their jobs.

However, there were those employers that also avoided furloughs and layoffs where they could by re-skilling and redeploying employees to other roles (and continue to do so). Working remotely also opened up employers to the fact that work can still get done. And it opened up new sourcing opportunities they wouldn’t have looked at otherwise.

It’s been much more difficult for businesses that need to have onsite people (stores, manufacturing plants, offices, etc.). Safety protocols have had to be adhered to in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, keeping staff at limited capacities while ensuring some level of continued productivity and output.

But with multiple vaccines on the horizon in 2021, potential pools abound. We now have access to smart, experienced, accomplished individuals—people we might never have known about or been able to hire otherwise. Employers who move swiftly to engage with these people will benefit greatly and help get the millions still out of work back to work.

Recruiting Automation

Recruiting software and solutions are helping us automate, personalize, and reinvigorate every stage of the candidate/employee lifecycle. It’s not new to 2020, but with recruiting teams leaner than in recent memory, it’s key for employers of any hiring volume and scale. Also, transitioning to virtual interviewing and onboarding, then having to manage more remote teams everywhere, was no easy task (and will continue to be the norm in 2021).

It’s also important to note the positive impact of artificial intelligence, smart technologies and machine learning on recruiting and hiring. We’ll continue to see increases in utilizing chatbots, virtual sourcing and more in 2021. Employers that have any hiring volume need to leverage these technologies that help them to improve quality targeting, automate personalized communications, and to help reduce human bias in all recruiting and hiring processes.

The Best of Candidate Experiences

Our mission has always focused on helping companies ensure a quality candidate experience, and our CandE community this year responded to candidates and employees alike with a higher level of empathetic communication like never before.

Those who had a “great” overall experience said they’ll definitely increase their employer relationships—they’ll apply again, refer others and make purchases and/or influence purchases when applicable. These aren’t just the job finalists or those hired; the majority are individuals who research and apply for jobs but who aren’t hired. These are also the candidates willing to share their positive experiences with their inner circles and publicly online. And in 2020, the great experience increased significantly around the world.

What’s important to keep in mind is that the volume of applicants also increased in 2020 due to millions out of work. This in turn increased the number of candidates that employers reject during the recruiting process, and this can quickly impact the business and the brand, both positively and negatively. This is why the increased level of empathetic communication and transparency from employers was so important in 2020.

As I said, with these three trends in place, 2021 could start a whole new era of hiring and rehiring amazing people.

So, Exactly What Are “Amazing” People?

I’ve spoken with business leaders, HR and TA leaders, recruiters, and hiring mangers all over the world, and the consensus is that “amazing people” refers to people who are deeply, personally aligned to their organization and its mission—or at least have the potential to be so. These people routinely go above and beyond the basic requirements of their jobs, and are again willing to learn new skills and adapt to constant change, something that 2020 demanded exponentially. These people deliver exceptional performance day after day because they’re not just doing a job. They’re doing what they believe in and love. And they’ll happily do it for you if they’re intrinsically aligned to your company’s mission.

This is why it’s so important to get your candidate experience right: you need to share the right information about your company and its culture … ask the right questions during candidate interviews … make the right assessments … and match the right candidates to the right jobs (not always the ones they apply to). All of this is worth the effort because it draws amazing talent to you, and amazing talent is what your company needs to persevere and even thrive in tough times like these.

So, here’s to a healing era of amazing hires. And here’s to a renewed sense of hope, stellar candidate experiences, and the happiest New Year for us all!

Be safe and well. Happy Holidays.

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board President
– written December 16, 2020

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