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Max Armbruster
Max Armbruster
CEO Talkpush

10 Recruiting Trends that Won't Stop Post-Covid

Volume hiring will never be the same, get ready for 2021 and beyond with this list of trends backed up with real data you can use to benchmark your own operations.


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What the hell just happened? I think we’re all ready to say goodbye to 2020. Every crisis is a chance for people to adapt and the global pandemic reshaped the way we will hire forever. The new normal is very real in talent acquisition, driven by the WFH revolution which changed the way teams attract, hire and onboard talent. 

 

Our software is used to engage with over 1 million candidates every month, so we have a lot of data. We dug that 2020 data to identify a few mega-trends that we believe are here to stay. Our 2020 data includes over a thousand recruiters working for over a 100 organizations, processing over 10 million candidates annually in over 15 countries, with 98% of the candidate volume comes from Asia, Australia, North America and Latin America. We specialize in high volume recruiting (entry level white collar, blue collar, temp/gig workers) and do the vast majority (98%) of our volume from the retail, call center, IT and banking sectors 

 

The first quasi-universal observation is that volumes are up. On average, recruiters and hiring managers now handle triple the volume of candidates they were managing last year, with some doing 10x more in spite of completely shutting down all in-person sourcing channels, such as career fairs, campus hiring, walk-ins, and “bring a friend” campaigns, which together accounted for as much as half of all candidates for some employers. With no on-site processes to lean on, employers leaned on digital channels more than ever, and that resulted in an explosion of volume. 

 

Looking back at this strange year, we looked at every stage of the candidate journey, tracking success metrics, and spotting some new best practices with long-term staying power. What started as a traumatic experience for many recruiters became an opportunity to redefine how we do recruitment and to find ways to make it more fair, more open, more democratic and more high performance.

 

10 trends that are here to stay 👇

 

Trend #1: Recruiters will handle wayyyy more volume

Our users have tripled the volumes of candidates over the past year. This happened mostly In April, when we saw a huge increase in candidates, while the number of recruiters decreased slightly. While this was partially driven by an increase in talent supply (and unemployment), history tells us that these  productivity trends rarely reverse. Now that automation has enabled talent acquisition teams to handle 3X the volume, expect this efficiency upgrade to continue for years to come. The leads per recruiter volume will continue to trend upward, even after the economy has fully recovered. 

 



Trend #2: The initial phone screening is (almost) dead

 

The proportion of candidates who are shortlisted or rejected automatically (without human intervention) has shot up from 40% to 64% over the course of the year— that’s an unprecedented year over year increase, which makes sense considering the aforementioned increase in volume. For most of our customers, that means that the initial phone screening practice is no longer necessary. The digital agents shortlists the qualified candidates and the qualified ones are then invited to complete online assessments and profiling. The phone interview is not eliminated entirely, but happens much later in the journey.  

 

Trend #3: WFH is 4eva - many recruiters won’t return to the office

Looking at the IP addresses of the recruiters who log onto talkpush, more than 70% of them are currently working from home, a huge increase over 2019 where the number was in single digits . I expect this number will decrease down to 50% perhaps but in the history of labor relations, we know that taking away a benefit that has been granted is very hard. My best guess is that most recruiters will continue to demand WFH benefits with or without a lockdown. The overall impact on productivity from WFH is clearly positive, at least for experienced staff. 

 

This also applies to the rest of company operations, which means recruiters will keep on hiring for many new WFH positions. Because of this, candidate profiles look a lot different today than they did last year. The rise of psychological assessments and different skills for WFH will continue to develop and recruiters will have to double down on their employer brand to reach global talent pools. 

 

Trend #4: Recruiters are the new digital experience designers

Currently, recruiters fall into different categories of automation proficiency: beginner, intermediary, or advanced. To stay competitive they’ll likely have to become advanced, or at least proficient. As automation increases at every stage of the hiring funnel, a big recruiter’s job is now to design the perfect candidate digital journey.  In 2020, the Talkpush feature that saw the sharpest increase in adoption was AutoFlow which lets recruiters design an automated journey of the applicant based on different scenarios. It is now activated for two thirds of sourcing campaigns, up 20% over the summer.

 

Talent acquisition teams are also seeing a greater need for recruitment marketers that can tell a story to local candidates that is relatable, while fitting into a company’s global narrative. I recently interviewed Lena Lotsey, Global Employer Brand Director at Experian, who has been doing precisely that, she shared insights on how to make a regional team work under a global content direction.

“Making sure that we were creating content that hit on things that were going to resonate locally and regionally was a big part of our content strategy. We created a calendar that we all were able to collaborate on so that we have this line of global content, but then we also have regular regional content that's coming out,” Lena Lotsey, Global Employer Brand Director at Experian

Trend #5: Career fairs will remain virtual 

The attendance of our events has gone up considerably. We saw a +120% increase of people sign up to our latest online event. To get those same people to sign up to a real-life event is a lot more difficult. Virtual events are more accessible, show rates are higher, and geography isn’t a limitation. I expect that this will continue to be the norm, especially in talent acquisition where career fairs are such an effective sourcing tool for junior hires. With virtual career fairs garnering more participation on a global scale, and all the opportunities for one on one and engagement, and re-engagement, they will continue to be the norm for WFH and in-office positions alike.

 

Trend #6: Every action will be digitally captured

Our customers are increasingly demanding to capture all data digitally, far more than interview notes and employment contracts. Now, hiring managers want easy access to social media comments, chats, phone calls, and rich media, in a single platform. Technology has come a long way in data capture, where it’s no longer necessary to painstakingly scrape that information from multiple sources, but rather have a full picture view inside your CRM. I expect more recruiting software to up their data collection, and TA teams to make the move towards one system that does it all rather than a complicated tech stack with multiple data sources.

 

Our data shows that the volume of rich media (images, video, and sound) has rapidly increased month by month this year. The amount of rich content that’s getting captured is steadily climbing — and this is just the beginning. We’re being asked by top customers to track IP addresses, how many people are logging in, and which channels they’re using. This constant demand for more information captured digitally and in real time won’t slow down.



Trend #7: The ATS will continue to be bypassed by recruitment

As most high volume employers are operating without the traditional career website, applicant Tracking Systems are losing steam. Even though ATS are a regulatory requirement for most companies, we’ve seen a global trend of companies doing their sourcing and recruitment operations on separate specific recruiting systems. This makes complete sense when we examine where most candidates are coming from in the high volume hiring industry. Only 2% of candidates are actually applying through career sites — while we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of applicants from social media and other digital channels. These are sourcing channels that an ATS can’t track.



 

Trend #8: The “screening” interview will be automated

Phone screening isn’t the only type of screening that’s disappearing. The time when recruiters would spend 70% of their time talking to unqualified candidates is almost gone. The main trend here is that recruiters will only talk to qualified people and leave the rest to automation. This is strongly supported by the volume of decisions that are made through AutoFlow (pass or fail screening system in Talkpush). There has been a rapid increase over the past 8 months. This leap was absolutely necessary for most high volume hiring companies who were suddenly dealing with 3X their normal applications, but it’s also proven to be highly efficient. Leaving recruiters to only speak with qualified candidates has increased quality of hires, retention, and shortened hiring cycles. The interview will remain, but it will be an interview where recruiters are selling the job and the company, and not using knockout questions as an initial filter.


Trend #9: Employers to design their own unique tech stacks using open APIs

Companies are becoming more nimble in technology, TA teams are buying their own tools and coming up with their own tech stack. We’ve seen an array of different and impressive configurations this year. We have integrated with ATSs, assessments and even other chatbot vendors. It’s becoming a more complex tech stack, however it’s also becoming easier for companies to put that tech stack together. Integrations will be easier to do and more commonplace in years to come.

 

ATS

CRM*

Scoring

Workable

Talkpush

HireIQ

Taleo

Talkpush

Aspiring Minds

Workday

Talkpush

Vervoe

Hubspot

Talkpush

CrossKnowledge

ADP

Talkpush

Versant

* there are other good CRMs out there, Talkpush just happens to be where I work! 

 

Trend #10: What candidates know will matter more than who they know (or where they are). 

Historically, the majority of hiring decisions have been predicated on the personal network of the candidate. Who did the candidate know inside the company that could get their application at the top of the pile? These connections are still super helpful to the candidates of course, but not for the same reason:  the “insiders”  are key to educate them on what to expect in terms of company culture. Knowing the kind of behavior and attitude that is encouraged inside a company still gives referred candidates a big edge over the broader talent pool. In other words, its not longer about WHO you know, but WHAT you know. 

 

Whether they are referred or not, candidates are now asked WHAT they know immediately, with automated assessments (such as SHL, Vervoe, Hackerrank, Pymetrics) used at the very beginning of the candidate journey to decide who gets to the interview stage, whereas they used to be administered at the end of the recruitment cycle, after the interviews.   



We’ll get some of our predictions wrong, but we’ll adapt, we always do. 

 

My last prediction is that some of these predictions will be completely wrong, but if we’ve learned one thing in 2020 it's that our industry has the ability to evolve and adapt and come out better, more efficient, and with new ways to delight candidates even in a cruel world.

 

👉 Want to make sure you're ready to tackle these trends headfirst in 2021? Schedule a demo and let's get talking. 

Let's Talk!

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