The Talent Scout Episode 42: Scout Talent’s Guide to Recruitment in 2021
4 minutes | Posted 12 January, 2021

2021 has certainly started with a bang. I know last year I made some predictions for recruitment trends that were gaining traction and were going to be big players in the world of recruitment. Given the way the year turned out, this first podcast of the year is going to be a little bit more conservative than its counterpart from last year. I don’t think it makes any sense to state that the recruitment highs we predicted in January of 2020 are likely to come to fruition in 2021. However, that doesn’t mean everything is doom and gloom for the year ahead. In a lot of ways, we’re in a strong position right now. We have a much better lay of the land and a much greater insight into “the new normal” than we had this time last year. Though I don’t want to jinx things I do think it’s fair to say we have a better idea of what to expect of 2021 from this vantage point than we ever did before.

Getting the basics right

I think this year is all about going back to the basics of recruitment and getting them right. If you don’t have your basics working for you then you’re not going to be able to pull off the more elevated aspects of recruitment like Employer Branding or Talent Pooling. Now is the time to go back to the fundamentals of the recruitment process which are Candidate Attraction, Shortlisting and Selection, and Candidate Care, and make sure your organization is excelling at each of them in turn. If we’re going to navigate another year of uncertainty then we need to be executing the best Candidate Attraction strategies for our open roles, efficient and optimized Shortlisting and Selection processes, and excellent candidate care. Without these foundational recruitment components, you’re not going to be able to secure the top talent that your organization needs to survive.

Candidate attraction

The best candidate attraction processes are those that make use of a well-written job description and deploy it to both passive and active candidates. You’ll find that both of these groups are somewhat exhausted at the moment which means if your job description is going to stand out from the crowd it needs to be written by someone who actually knows how to write. A basic and mundane job description is going to attract basic and mundane candidates if indeed it manages to attract any. Create a compelling job description that highlights the unique aspects of your organization and showcases how a candidate’s life will be better should they work for you. What that life improvement looks like will vary depending on who you are and what you’re looking for; it could be salary, career opportunities, or an actual work-life balance. Find your selling point and sell your job description with it.

With a strong job description, you can more effectively attract available candidates. You might find that posting your job on the most popular job board for your area gets you a large volume of applicants. Unfortunately, a big candidate pool doesn’t translate to good candidates. Use multiple job boards and headhunt your ideal candidates through resume search databases like LinkedIn. Give yourself every opportunity to find the best people for your role.

Shortlisting and selection

Our next recruitment cornerstone to nail down in 2021 is Shortlisting and Selection. If you don’t have an Applicant Tracking System then you need to get one to help combat the sheer volume of applications most of us are receiving for our roles. Here at Scout, we have a very affordable Applicant Tracking System entry point at $150 per month. Using an Applicant Tracking System like ours you can link screening questions to your rating and ranking and automate the ranking of candidates that are presented to you. This in turn will allow you to much more quickly find the top individuals within your pool and bring them forward for an interview. Your initial interview will likely need to avail of video call tools like Skype or Zoom, and it should cover everything from a candidate’s qualifications to their motivations. Get all of the information that you need in order to create a shortlist for second-round interviews and to subsequently make informed decisions.

Candidate care

The final important aspect of recruitment to get right this year in order to ensure your success is Candidate Care. Everyone is exhausted right now and that exhaustion isn’t going to go away any time soon. When candidates take the time to apply for your role, give them an automated response that indicates timelines and shows that you value the effort they’ve already made. If your applicant tracking system allows it, send messages to candidates that you are releasing from your process so they know not to wait around any longer for a message from you. In essence, do your best to treat your candidates like people and give them the respect and dignity they deserve. We all remember what it was like to be frantically applying for roles; we can all stand to do better in supporting the people that are currently unemployed and applying for roles.

2021 is unfortunately going to mirror the year that came before in a lot of ways. For recruitment, that means lots of resumes to review and business needs that suddenly and jarringly shift. If you have your recruitment basics covered and they’re working well for your organization then you’ll be able to contend with this year.

If there are areas to improve then that should be your focus this year. 2021 we’re going back to basics in order to deliver exceptional recruitment for our hiring managers, our organizations, and our candidates.

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