Recommendations from Recruitment Experts – what is inevitable in 2021?


The year 2020 changed recruitment quite a bit. Who would have known that we’d be pulled out of our usual work routine and forced to find new ways to recruit? It’s likely everyone used more technology in their work than usually, making you think: which tools are helpful and which ones cause stress instead? In the first quarter of 2021, it is normal to ask whether recruitment will ever be the same again?

Helped by the recruitment experts from ABB, Veriff, Babbel, Brandem, and IT Talent, I’ve put down some thoughts about what 2021 will bring.

The roller coaster of recruitment continues.

The last 5-7 years, and especially 2020, with all the changes that COVID-19 brought, have been tough for recruiters.

Occasionally, it feels like recruiters have been pushed to the very edge of their abilities to fulfil the employer’s needs and grant the candidates’ wishes while creating the best employer brand possible.

A survey conducted among 800 recruiters has shown that their stress levels increased significantly in 2020. 2021 and the years after that will not be an exception either, and the people in the HR field should be ready for the latest changes and quick adaptions.

Recruitment automatisation is inevitable.

There are higher expectations for the recruitment process from both the candidates and employers – it means that the recruiters will not get by without technological tools.

There will be a serious focus on automatisation in 2021. Since technology usage has become effortless and intuitive, the number of people using recruitment technology will increase even more rapidly than in 2020.

That brings up a new challenge – finding a balance in the recruitment process between automatisation and human contact. How to guarantee that not too much focus will be put on the former? It is rather probable that once this balance has been achieved, the stress level decreases, and the recruitment speed and candidate satisfaction increase, simplifying recruitment.

Recruiters need more tools that are clever.

The year 2020 taught us we can recruit more efficiently during the pandemic and in the normal world order.

Here’s an easy question to prove it – if you had around 50 monthly job interviews at your office, then how many will you conduct via video, even when the risk of infection will be 0 at some point? Contactless recruitment will continue not only in 2021 but also in the upcoming years because it has been proved to be more efficient.

For the recruitment process to be comfortable for the candidates, recruiters, and recruiting managers, clever tools that act as if they were your team members and adapt to your work style and processes are needed. These new circumstances call for recruitment software that saves time, cooperates in the best way possible, and does not cause a headache with all the extra tasks you need to do to implement it in the first place.

How to understand whether you already have functioning recruitment tools?

Have a one-on-one meeting with your recruitment software. That recommendation might sound odd at first, but if you think about it, it’s an effective way to see if the solutions help you do your job better or not. We’re used to having meetings with our team members and managers to analyse or discuss something. We should do the same with our recruitment software and other tools.

Booking a slot on your calendar just to analyse the efficiency of your tools is a secure way to discover where you’re standing and what needs changing.

Worthy suggestions from the recruitment experts

I asked recruitment experts from different industries to share their thoughts and suggestions about recruitment and recruitment automation in 2021. What should be the top priority? What to avoid?

Renita Käsper, Recruitment Team Lead at Babbel

Recruiters and talent acquisition managers should automate everything that steals your valuable resources in day-to-day tasks. Recruitment should always stay human, and recruiters should allocate their time to tasks where human interaction brings the most value. For example, simple tasks like scheduling the interviews can sometimes take up a big piece of recruiters’ day, and it is not really a value add.

It’s also imperative that you automate the right tasks. Like automated no-reply rejection emails for candidates are not a good example of automation’s best use case.

Also, one should be very mindful of choosing their tools well. Before rushing into a quick fix, take a step back and validate the situation. What do you need? Where are the pain points? The solution which suits one company can be absolutely no use for you, it depends on so many factors and as it is a big decision you would like to get it right from the start. Only after your homework is done should you start a conversation with tool providers.

Ly Malk, East Europe HUB Lead for Talent Acquisition at ABB

If I could choose only one aspect to automate in recruitment, I would choose to give feedback to every single candidate who applied with automated solutions. Manual feedback is much more time-consuming and often skips a step in the recruitment, but it has an irreversible negative effect on your company’s candidate experience. It is often feared that automated solutions are robotic, but how can you formulate the feedback’s content in your automated messages and change it to be reflecting appreciation and encouragement to try again next time?

Julia Jolkin, CEO of a recruitment agency, IT Talent

I would recommend automating outreach and growing your network. Spend the time you saved helped by automation on talking to your candidates and listening to what motivates them. It will help you to close the deal as it is harder to make people move nowadays. We have to do twice more work to get the same results as in 2019 because more job offers get rejected. Automate recruitment workflow and measure what matters. Nurture your candidates, and work on building proactive pipelines, as the clients have less patience nowadays.

Kristiine Kukk, Recruitment Team Lead at Veriff

Recruitment Automation is often thought of as something that must be expensive. In Veriff, we grew our team by 340% within a year by building scalable recruitment processes. As recruiters, we often want to tailor-make the process for candidates and hiring managers. This causes difficulties for hiring teams and poorer candidate experience due to chaotic interview processes.

Our cure? We had a lovely 2 team offsites – one where we took the interview process to pieces and see where we lose time or experienced problems. Problems were solved using video interview tools, email tracking tools, new sourcing tools, and many more. On the second one, we wore a candidate’s hat and went through what they would do when interviewing with us. We have a recruitment standard we communicate in Veriff, so everybody is on the same page, and an FAQ page added to our careers page for candidates to get answers easily.

Keiu Kaitsa, CEO of a recruitment agency Brandem

If you couldn’t find the time to analyse your recruitment processes in 2020, then now is your last chance to do it. The numbers in different recruitment stages speak for themselves. Do you know which stage in the project is the most time-consuming? Or how many candidates should be headhunted? Or how many interviews should you conduct to find the right person?

I always encourage recruiters to use data when communicating with their superiors. It’s essential to show the numbers to the managers since these results also depend on them.

Offering a positive candidate experience is not getting easier, either. Personal approach and transparency are still important in recruiting. Authentic human connection is the key to creating a positive employer brand and a good candidate experience.