21 Recruiting Trends for 2021

21 Recruiting Trends for 2021 - Style Nine to Five - Fashion Jobs in Canada

With the new year quickly approaching, and the state of the world in flux, it’s an interesting time for both job-seekers and employers—to say the least. As employers move forward with hiring, 2021 is disrupting our norms and shaking things up with some exciting new trends. Here are 21 for ’21.

1 – Make Diversity and Inclusion a Top Priority

Creating a diverse workplace isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, but 2020 pushed the importance of equality back to the forefront, where it belongs. Diversity isn’t hiring a person or two from a minority ethnicity—it’s a multi-layered approach that goes beyond tokenism. It’s about broadening your company’s approach to operations and your brand through unique voices that all have an equal, valuable, and welcome point of view to bring to the table.

If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it was the importance shine a much-needed spotlight onto glaring issues of inequality. As a business owner, three areas to focus on are diversity, equality, and inclusion. It’s not just about hiring people of different races, genders, physical abilities, and even generations—but how can you leverage their skills and experience? Not just to grow your business, but to create a culture of inclusion where everyone feel that they’re part of the discussion and decision making and helping shape your brand voice.

2 – Remote Roles Are On the Rise

Thanks to Covid-19, working remotely became the norm for many businesses in 2020. But, even with hopes of coming out of the pandemic, remote roles aren’t going anywhere, even when offices open back up. Working remotely, and the flexibility that it brings, is huge plus when attracting candidates in today’s recruiting landscape.

While remote working has many perks, it has also created a stressful environment of ePresenteeism, where employees feel that they need to be available to answer emails or messages at all hours. The pressure to be work-ready at all times creates anxiety and lowers morale, so part of your hiring process should be laying out your expectations for work/life balance—from the initial job description to the final round of interviews to show candidates that value their wellness as much as their ability to the job.

3 – Consider Contingent Roles

After 2020’s unfortunate surge in layoffs, both employers and job-seekers are putting a new spin on traditional employment. Many people who were laid off turned to one-off gigs, seasonal positions, or freelance work where they could find it. Creating these types of roles is something you should strongly consider as an employer in 2021, especially if you’re uncertain about financially committing to full-time, permanent roles.

Consider hiring freelance roles or contract positions—you always have the option of extending your offer beyond the determined time period or project scope, but you’re also not tied into a long-term commitment.

Keep in mind that hiring contingent employees typically means that you don’t have to offer a benefits package since they aren’t considered as employees, but you’ll want to make sure you adjust your pay rate accordingly to compensate contingent staff for the lack of other perks.

4 – Value Experience over Education

In the modern era of hiring, we know that an Ivy League education isn’t necessarily more valuable than hard skills learned at a community college. The next step in embracing the future is pivoting away from traditional requirements, like education. While a degree or specialization may be a requirement for engineers, doctors, and scientists, ask yourself if that bachelor’s degree on your job description is what really matters in finding your ideal candidate.

Does a university degree show determination and commitment to hard work? Yes. But so does years of work experience, a long tenure with one company, and good old fashioned common sense and street smarts. 2021 is the year to look at applicants from a holistic perspective on what they can bring to the company, rather than getting held-up on education and dismissing potential star employees for their lack of formal education.

5 – Create Brand-Reflective Job Descriptions

Say goodbye to job descriptions that consist only of listing your education requirements, a description of the role’s duties, and a few bullets points—they don’t serve you if you want to find top-notch talent. These days more than ever, people want to work with brands with a purpose, and this is especially true of Gen Z and other young people joining the workforce.

This means telling your ‘About Us’ story, talking about your company’s ‘how’ and ‘why’, and taking time to talk about your brand values and mission right in every job description that you post. This gives candidates a clear picture of your company so they can decide whether your values align before they apply.

Style Nine to Five’s Founder, Christie Lohr, believes that it’s critical for companies to oomph up their job descriptions to attract the right talent. “I think making them fun, witty, and ALIVE is so important now,” she says. “It should be like reading an engaging story about the company. Requirements, duties, pay, inclusion—that should all be included, but so many are like boring essays. It’s important to include your values and what you stand for so you can attract like-minded applicants.”

6 – Weave Your Values Throughout the Hiring Process

In addition to conveying your brand values in your job descriptions, make it part of the whole process. Look for candidates whose values align with yours as you go through resumes and cover letters. Spend time talking about your brand mission and goals in the interview and tailor some interview questions to asking them why they want to work for your company or what qualities they admire about the work you do.

Some companies take it a step further by letting candidates meet other team members during their interviews or having them shadow other people in the company to help both parties decide if you really are a culture and values match before making the final hiring decision.

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7 – Work with a Recruiter

With all of these trends coming into play as we move into the future, your hiring process may need to undergo some dramatic changes. Setting up new systems, redirecting your job descriptions, conveying your brand voice throughout the process, assessing candidates, and all of the other newly defined tasks make for a daunting to-do list. Regardless of whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, working with a recruiter is a smart way to significantly reduce time and stress.

A good recruiter will go beyond screening resumes and vetting candidates—they’ll become a spokesperson for your brand that finds applicants who check all the boxes of your job requirements, along with those who align with your core values. From creating rich, juicy job descriptions to attract top talent to the interview and pre-screening stages, investing in a professional recruiter who knows the modern hiring process inside and out and offers a fresh perspective is an invaluable asset in 2021.

8 – Create a Great Candidate Experience

For Christie, there are some important basics of how to treat applicants during the hiring process and in their first days on the job:

“Not ghosting candidates, but touching base with them throughout the process and giving constructive feedback on why they weren’t hired. Us business owners have a lot going on all the time, but for many job-seekers, that’s all they have going on and they’re checking their emails by the hour,” she says. “Once a successful applicant is hired, make sure that the role matches what you sold them. As a recruiter, I bring enthusiasm, smiles, and a lot of energy when speaking about the role. I hope that when they walk through the company’s door on their first day they aren’t welcomed with doomsday vibes, duties that don’t utilize their skills, poor communication, or low morale.”

In addition to giving job-seekers an accurate picture of the role, creating a stellar candidate experience also reduces the possibility of losing top talent to a competitor because your application process is clunky, outdated, and cumbersome.

9 – Look Holistically at Application Packages

Plain, old-school applications are in the rearview mirror as we move into 2021. You can tell a lot about a candidate by looking at their application package as a whole, rather than just assessing the individual components. Does their set of documents give you an insight into who they are as a person (in addition to meeting the job requirements)? Have they taken the time to create a cohesive package that represents why they’ll be an asset to your company?

The idea here is to help you narrow down those stand-out applicants who you want to learn more about in the interview process. With this mindset, you’re only interviewing the applicants that are the best of the bunch—the candidates that made a genuine effort to show how much they’re invested in working with your brand. This will come through when you consider the full picture they paint for you with their cover letter, resume, personal branding, social accounts, and even the design of their application if they’ve created more than just Word documents.

10 – Increase Social Media Recruiting

Big job boards aren’t going away, but you can significantly narrow down the type of candidates who apply for your jobs. One way to do this is by posting on niche job boards, but also through your social channels. Recruiting through social media is advantageous in so many ways. It’s free (with the exception of paid ads), the jobs are easily shareable among your audience, and you’ll attract applicants who are fans of your company, rather than just people who are applying for any and every position they see on job boards.

Christie sees really real value in social media recruiting. “Even if no one is actively searching for a job like they would be if they’re visiting the Style Nine to Five job board, our social post or Instagram story might catch their eye when they weren’t expecting it. Or someone might see it and share with a friend or connection who might be an awesome candidate.”

Even More Recruiting Trends for the New Year…

11 – Embrace Virtual Interviews

Whether your company is back to working in the office, virtual interviews aren’t going anywhere. 80% of recruiting and HR professionals agree that virtual recruiting will still be standard after Covid-19. Depending on the type of position you’re hiring for, you might not need in-person interviews at all.

12 – Seek Disruptors

2020 has taught us the importance of being flexible, agile, and open to new ideas as businesses scrambled to adapt to a rapidly-changing landscape. Rather than looking for cookie-cutter candidates, employers are looking for applicants who can think outside the box, find new ways of doing things, and innovate on new ways for the business to grow and stay on its toes.

13 – Use Analytics to Improve Your Hiring Process

Streamline your hiring process by using analytic data to identify your pain points, the areas of hiring that are sucking up most of your time, or other areas where you can improve efficiency or look for external help.

14 – Create Talent Pools

If a candidate doesn’t cut it for a certain position but is still a potential fit, keep their resume in a talent pool file so when you’re hiring in the future you can reach out to see if they’re open to another role with your company. Internal talent pools are also useful in finding employees that you can promote within in the areas where they show promise.

15 – Be Open-Minded About Younger Managers

Not all VPs, Directors, or Managers need to be in their mid-to-late career phase or have 15+ years of experience. Younger talent can succeed in upper-level positions when they’re given the chance. With a team of all generations in varying positions, you’ll find a supply of fresh ideas and perspectives.

16 – Pay More Attention to Entry Level Hires

People you hire for entry-level positions can be just as valuable to your brand as your executives. The right entry-level hires present you with eager workers who can be great candidates for fulling new positions from within once they’ve proven their value.

17 – Build Compelling Job Offers

In 2021, job offers need to include more than just salary and health benefits if you want to stay competitive. An increasing awareness around metal wellness and lifestyle flexibility means that employers need to think creatively about how they can address these areas in their offer packages.

18 – Dial In to Soft Skills

Meeting job requirements and bringing hard skills to the table are always important, but so are soft skills, especially as we move into 2021 and beyond. Besides the basics like excellent communication abilities or being a team player, consider how some new soft skills, like empathy, compassion, and authenticity, can benefit your brand.

19 – Mingle HR with Marketing

HR professionals are vital to the hiring process, but communicating your brand’s voice might not be their strongest suit. Bringing the marketing team in to help write job descriptions or formulate interview questions can help weave your brand values throughout the process to help you connect with quality applicants.

20 – Measure Candidate Metrics

Resumes or cover letters that list ‘social media skills’ don’t pack the same punch as those who call out their measurable achievements. When a candidate says they’ve grown their company’s social engagement by 40% in a six-month period, you get a tangible view of their skills. You might even call metrics out in your job descriptions, asking applicants to highlight a specific way they’ve put their skills and experience to work in a measurable way.

21 – Automate Your Hiring Systems

You might have refined your hiring process over time, but that doesn’t mean there’s not an opportunity to streamline it even further. Big companies might have the budget to use AI to automate parts of your recruiting efforts, but even small-to-mid size companies can smooth out their hiring by taking advantage of templates that exist for interview questions, job offer structure, and more.

There you have it—the biggest trends of 2021 and even beyond. Attitudes have shifted, priorities have been rearranged, and values and diversity have taken center stage. Keeping up with the latest recruiting trends will empower you as a hiring manager so you can attract the right talent that will keep your company current and relevant as we move forward.

If you need help moving your hiring strategies into the future, Style Nine to Five’s Recruiting services give you a variety of ways that Christie can do the heavy lifting for you and simplify the task of hiring new talent for your company.

By: Jeanine GordonJeanine is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for creating stellar content for global brands and small businesses alike – specializing in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle.

Feature Image: Adobe Stock