Many of the ways the global pandemic has changed hiring and running businesses look set to continue – indeed grow – into 2021; this has resulted in accelerated recruiting trends.

As customers, we are also behaving differently due to changes we’ve had to make in our lives and companies need to adapt to accommodate us. Some changes improve the way firms run, others make things a bit more tricky. 

The most obvious, high-level trend companies are seeing is the acceleration of digital transformation, And a greater demand for soft skills means businesses are finding it hard to evaluate a person’s skill set.

We’re a recruiter with experience supporting inclusive employment and continuous upskilling and reskilling through technology.

So, let’s take a look at the recruiting trends we’ve seen becoming stronger throughout 2020 and that we think will become more prominent in the year to come.

Remote Working criteria added to job ads

Is working from home (WFH) becoming the norm? Did we even need to spell out what WFH stands for? 

Certainly, throughout the first half of 2021, we’re still going to be Zooming from our dining tables. We know this because huge companies like Indeed, Microsoft and Google have said they are extending remote working until at least summer 2021. And they will let people WFM indefinitely. We expect this to continue to grow as lockdown systems become stricter in an attempt to stop second waves of the virus. That means the skill set workers need has shifted a little bit. And job ads have changed as a result. 

As well as core job skills, applicants will have to show they can manage teams remotely and communicate effectively via remote messaging. You can also expect environmental requirements like WiFi strength and having a suitable workspace at home to figure in job ads. Workers will, of course, still need to compete on a variety of more traditional skills. 

Companies will use data tools to identify candidates’ less CV-ready skill sets

Given the incredibly fast pace of change, companies need to find people with the soft skills to make that human connection. Which ones are they? Those that help gain visibility, build relationships, and create opportunities for advancement. 

However, they are hard to pick out in traditional CVs as these often place candidates in predetermined restrictive boxes resulting in subconscious recruitment bias. In fact, 53 per cent of employees told TalentNeuron survey that the inability to identify these skills was the No. 1 impediment to workforce transformation. So, employers will be seeking platforms verifying a candidate’s soft and hard skills via a variety of digital sources. 

Examples are our SmartMe profile (skills verified from over 30 sources) and we have seen a 192% increase in users since April 2020. We predict this growth to continue into 2021.

Non-traditional tech roles will require critical skills

Increasing numbers of workers will need to have critical skills and prove tech literacy on their CV, as well. That’s because reacting to the pandemic has given society a digital boost, transforming day-to-day tasks. Just think about your day; you need to use a barcode scanner to enter a public place. And online booking has become the norm, where possible. 

Even “analogue” companies are investing in a digital transformation. They now need employees who possess or can develop remote work skills and critical thinking to help achieve transformational success. But the shift hasn’t come from nowhere: this “new normal” has grown out of society’s increasing reliance on online products, exposure to digital marketing and soaring use of the Cloud. 

More companies are relying on AI and automation to improve the quality of candidates

There’s no longer any need for HR to vet and rank candidates themselves! AI can do the job better and four times the speed of traditional recruitment methods, easily identifying the top talent that meets the job requirements and strengthens the team. 

Comparecamp says that more than 80% of companies are already using HR-based AI, so we expect to see more employers looking at new approaches to hiring as saving resources becomes a priority. 

Focusing on removing hiring bias to improve diversity and inclusion 

A hiring process that eliminates recruitment bias can build strong foundations and research proves that companies who develop diversity and inclusion strategies perform better

“Employers today understand the importance of inclusion and diversity for their talent and business performance more than any previous point in history,” says Rachael McCann, senior director of health and benefits, Willis Towers Watson. Despite this, businesses also struggle to find the right approach to hire for diversity and inclusion.

Our experts recommend “blind hiring” rather than sifting through traditional CVs. The problem with the resume is that the focus can be on gender, background and experience instead of skill and expertise. 

We’ve found this approach also builds great teams with a diverse set of skills, so you can expect to see this form of recruitment becoming more common amongst the hiring process.


If you are planning your next hire, think about our recruiting trends predictions to help beat your competitors to the top candidates.

If you are a candidate, think about how you can evidence remote working and beef up your digital sources to support your work history.  

You can view our IT and Design Guidebooks to help maximise your digital presence.

If you want to try our platform, signup as a candidate or employer now.

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