As we all know, recruiting today looks radically different than it did just a year ago. 

Accelerated by COVID-19 as well as the movement for racial justice, changes that were expected to take years happened instead in months. 

Virtually recruiting remote workers is the new norm for many and has been for a while now. Diversity is finally being treated with the urgency and accountability it always deserved. 

Based on these changes, we made a list of six recruiting trends that shaped 2021.

1. Recruiting has built and borrowed more.

    • Internal mobility became a must-have. Partnering with learning and development (L&D) and broader HR, recruiting had the opportunity to lead/build a rigorous internal mobility program rather than leaving it to hiring managers or ad hoc practices.
    • Companies aimed to catalog employees’ current skills and clearly tie internal job opportunities to relevant L&D resources that helped employees fill any qualification gaps.

2. Recruiting helped keep businesses accountable for diversity.

    • Companies around the world pledged their support for Black Lives Matter and greater diversity, candidates, employees, and consumers looked to see how those words translated into action. Diversity is not a feel-good “initiative,” but a business-critical imperative – one that recruiting can and should continue to lead. 
    • Remote work has vastly expanded available talent pools, allowing for greater access to candidates from underrepresented groups and deflating empty excuses that the talent isn’t there to be found. 
    • Recruiters have not only delivered a diverse pipeline of candidates but advocated for them and held hiring managers accountable for moving those candidates through the funnel. This has restructured the hiring processes to reduce bias, from building diverse interview panels to mandating data-driven reporting against diversity goals. 

3. Virtual recruiting became the new norm.

    • Companies have dabbled with video interviewing and remote assessments in the past, but the lockdown realities of COVID-19 have sparked them to create an end-to-end virtual recruiting process for the first time. 
    • Virtual recruiting has saved money and time. In the same way that a hybrid workforce of onsite and remote employees has become the standard, a hybrid hiring process that combines virtual and in-person elements have become the new norm too. 

4. Recruiters lead the transition to remote work. 

    • Remote work has tantalized with its promises of diverse talent pools, increased productivity and retention, and savings on salaries and facilities, not to mention a smaller carbon footprint.
    • Recruiters have become uniquely positioned to provide essential insights on this transition, coming to the table armed with data-driven insights about where talent is and anecdotal feedback about what talent wants and needs. 

5. Recruiters have built new skills to align with the business.

    • Recruiting teams have been stretched and wrenched and refashioned in recent months, and that’s likely to continue. From dealing with hiring slowdowns (or, in some industries, unprecedented spikes) to align with ever-shifting business priorities, the one constant for recruiters is the need for adaptability. 
    • While some recruiters hire for different roles, locations, or teams as needs change, many others have been asked to go beyond hiring. In fact, the fastest-growing skill for recruiters is personal development – the ability to add new skills.

6. Employer brand is now hinged on empathy and actions.

    • As candidates and customers looked for companies to take stronger stances on social issues, recruiting leaders increasingly focused on employer branding.
    • Instead of showcasing the company’s products, perks, and office amenities in polished marketing materials, recruiters publicized what the company is doing to support employees, customers, and communities in times of crisis.

Recruiters will continue to increasingly serve as the bridge between a company’s hiring needs and other key HR initiatives. 

As we approach the last quarter of 2021, recruiters should rapidly consider adding skills like diversity and inclusion, decision-making, and HR strategy to their tool belts and resumes. This will not only bring clarity to talent data but also reshape employer branding, and fine-tune the virtual hiring process.