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20 recruitment techniques you should be using in 2021

With the New Year upon us, you’re probably starting to think of different recruitment techniques that will help move the dial for your company in 2021.

Looking back at the last few years, there’s been a definite shift toward the importance of employer branding, smart inbound recruitment, improving the candidate experience, and using big data and AI to find the right candidate.

Important factors to find the right candidate

As the technology needed to streamline these modern recruiting techniques becomes more sophisticated, expect each of these trends to become more prominent this year.

But, while modern and technology-driven recruitment methods are definite game changers, you should never forget about the tried and tested traditional techniques for hiring candidates. Consider these modern recruiting techniques as a second layer to your overall strategy.

With much movement in job markets throughout the world, are the recruitment tools and techniques we currently use appropriate for each shift in the industry or do we need to move forward in line with the times?

Today’s workforce and recruitment landscape

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re in the middle of a massive demographic shift in the working world. Here are just a few of the major workforce trends that recruiters will be expected to address going forward:

  • More and more Baby Boomers are retiring, leaving a skill and experience gap in management and executive roles.
  • Gen Z is now joining the workforce, along with Millennials.
  • But there are still not enough Millennial and Gen Z workers to replace all retiring Baby Boomers.
  • A rising gig economy, where more and more people will work as freelancers or on short-term contracts.
  • A continued shift in many industries towards automation and remote working.

As a result of these trends, recruiters can expect continued and increased competition for top talent – as well as a stronger emphasis on talent management and succession planning – and their recruitment strategies this year should reflect that reality.

1. Develop a company culture that attracts top talent

The first, and perhaps most important, a traditional recruiting technique you should invest in is creating and nurturing a positive company culture that people want to be a part of. Spending time and resources on attracting the best talent means little if your company culture falls short of your employees’ expectations.

While company culture isn’t usually thought of as a ‘recruitment technique’, having a strong company identity goes a long way in pitching yourself to candidates. If you’re a company that’s lucky enough to have a strong culture already, then be sure to promote that fact throughout your recruitment strategy.

If your company culture is a weak point, then consider ways in which you can work with people throughout your organization to improve this critical business element.

2. Recruit and develop talent internally

Recruitment is typically thought of as an external exercise, but perhaps the best way to guarantee you find the right person for a role is to promote someone from within your organization. Hiring internally is a valuable recruitment strategy because it guarantees that you’re filling vacant positions with people who already understand your company, its culture and what is expected of them.

Additionally, recruiting internally shows employees throughout your organization that you’re committed to their progression and growth. A strong talent management program that focuses on development, succession planning, and upward movement is a great way to show employees and candidates that there’s a future for them at the company.

3. Launch an employee referral program

Employee referral programs are a common recruiting technique in many companies and are a powerful way to harness your colleague’s industry contacts. These programs encourage employees to help fill vacant positions at the company by recommending qualified candidates and vouching for their skills and experience.

This can drastically speed up the screening process of vacant roles and allows you to tap into candidate pools you may not otherwise have accessed.

referral program should offer incentives and recognition for successful hires. Typically, the human resources department will put together a short document, shared internally, that clearly explains how the referral program works, what employees get out of it, and how to get started.

4. Reform your interviewing process

Interviewing candidates is perhaps the most widely used and, often, the most poorly executed recruitment method. It’s so common, in fact, that many recruiters may rarely give a second thought to their list of canned interview questions.

But, as most modern recruiters know, reading a generic list of questions to every single candidate simply does not allow you to get a full picture of your potential hire. It also creates a terrible experience for your applicants.

If you haven’t done so already, take a look at your interviewing process and ask yourself a few questions: Do you spend the time needed to get to know your candidates? Are you asking the right questions to help make your decision? Are you tailoring your interview questions for each position?

If the answer to these questions is “no,” then it might be time to reform your interviewing process.

5. Hire a company that specializes in Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

While best practice recruitment methods are obviously ideal, many companies simply don’t have the resources to consistently execute them at a high level. If you work for a smaller company, or don’t have enough resources to find, screen and hire the best talent possible, then you might want to consider hiring a company that specializes in Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO).

RPOs are companies that you can hire on a monthly or yearly basis to manage your entire recruiting strategy. While traditional recruitment agencies will typically only source their own candidates for your vacancy, RPOs work with you and your existing channels to find the best prospects available.

They manage the full recruitment strategy and process, including writing job descriptions, screening candidates, working with hiring managers to find the right fit, and improving your employer branding. RPOs are a far more cost-effective means of recruiting talent than agencies because they do not charge flat rates based on hiring salary, and you also have continual access to all prospect you contact, even after your contract with the RPO is complete.

6. Data-driven recruitment

As companies increasingly adopt different technology platforms to help streamline their hiring processes, data-driven recruitment will help drive smarter strategies for finding and screening candidates. These platforms allow recruiters to manage candidate data securely, ad platforms, screening practices, onboarding, and talent management.

In 2021, companies should take a deep dive in their recruitment data and help them find insights into how they can adapt, improve and streamline their recruitment strategy going forward. For teams looking to adapt and thrive in the future, this is a top recruitment method to embrace and add to your recruitment strategy plan in 2021.

7. Invest in Artificial Intelligence

Like with data, recruitment using artificial intelligence (AI) is also expected to take off in 2021 and beyond. AI can be used to find efficiencies in your recruitment process by automating the most repetitive and tedious parts.

For example, AI scanners can be used to review cover letters and CVs to help find the highest potential applicants. Or, AI can be used to analyze old job descriptions in order to create the most effective ones possible in the future.

Additionally, companies can use the AI in chatbots to take care of reaching out to candidates, setting up interview times, and so on.  As AI and big data become more ingrained into the working world, their impacts on recruitment methods will continue to evolve.

8. Mobile-first recruitment strategy

With the majority of Millennials already in the workforce, and Gen Z quickly following suit, a mobile-first recruitment strategy should be at the top of your list of priorities in 2021. The newer generation of job applicants expect that your candidate experience will be a mobile-friendly one.

From the job advertisement to the application portal and all the way to the end of the screening process, you should ensure that candidates are able to complete each step easily on a mobile device. Luckily, there are many websites and recruitment apps on the market that can help make this a reality.

From the job advertisement to the application portal and all the way to the end of the screening process, you should ensure that candidates are able to complete each step easily on a mobile device. Luckily, there are many websites and recruitment apps on the market that can help make this a reality.

9. Strong employer branding

With the increasing popularity of employer review websites like Glassdoor, and the tendency for candidates to review a company’s reputation and culture before applying, employer branding is quickly becoming a popular recruitment method. The goal here is to clearly position your company as a great place to work.

This can be accomplished using a customized career section, employee testimonials, and profiles, an active Glassdoor or Instagram page that provides insights into what it’s like to work for you, and any other technique you can think of to put your best foot forward.

Creating and managing your employer brand will help show candidates why they want to work for you before they even sit down for an interview.

10. Strategic recruitment marketing

Like employer branding, recruitment marketing is a technique that’s designed to strategically position and advertise your company in the most efficient way possible. Recruitment marketing refers to a variety of strategies that an organization uses to find, attract, and nurture prospects before they apply for a job.

The most common recruitment marketing techniques include creating targeted audience profiles, customized content and marketing materials, a careers website, job advertising, social media, candidate lead capturing and nurturing, and data collection.

Taken as a whole, these recruiting techniques help create a measurable candidate funnel that you can harness to fill your vacant positions.

11. Improved video interviewing and screening

Video interviewing is a great recruiting technique to improve your candidate experience and eliminate geographic constraints. The old tradition of dragging every candidate into the office is a little bit archaic when you consider the quality of video conferencing and interviewing platforms on the market today.

In addition to formal interviews using video chat, you can also ask candidates to submit video cover letters, CVs, or pre-screening tests using a feature like Video Answers. This lets you get a feel for the candidate’s personality in a much more efficient way than in-person talks and allows you to interview candidates from anywhere in the world.

12. Invest in an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are a must-have tool for any serious recruitment strategy plan, and this trend will continue into the future. An ATS gives recruiters a wealth of easily accessible candidate information that can be used at every stage of the recruitment process.

Your ATS should act as the central platform that guides your wider recruitment strategy and talent management programs. By funneling all applicant data through an ATS, recruiters are able to not only quickly push candidates through the funnel, but also pull insights from previous recruitment campaigns to guide future ones.

If you don’t have an ATS yet, this should be your number one recruitment technique to implement for 2021.

13. Focus on passive candidates and talent pipelines

As we’ve mentioned repeatedly in this post, finding and attracting top talent will continue to be an issue this year and beyond, especially for highly sought-after technical roles. To combat this, many recruiters are tapping into passive candidates to fill future vacancies.

The idea behind this recruitment technique is to actively communicate with qualified professionals in your industry who may be interested in switching companies in the future.

This recruitment method requires you to continually find and reach out to potential candidates in hopes that one day they will be interested in hearing more about your company. Luckily, platforms like an ATS can help you keep track of these passive candidates so you can strike when the time is right.

14. Develop targeted job descriptions

If you’ve been scouring job sites lately, you’ve likely noticed a rise in more abstract or open-ended job descriptions. These are job ads that are written in a less formal way and speak more to the type of person they’re looking for, rather than specific skills or experience.

This recruitment tactic encourages candidates to apply, even if they may not have the exact credentials typically needed for that job.

Many times, a candidate may have the perfect personality and ambition for a certain role, but will not apply because of the strict requirements outlined in the job description. Writing open-ended descriptions is a great way to ensure that these potential golden nuggets aren’t missed.

15. Google job search

If you aren’t taking advantage of Google’s job search feature, perhaps it’s time you did. When anyone searches for job sites and pages on Google, as millions do every day, the search engine produces listings of current jobs available appropriate to each user. You don’t have to be a huge job site to qualify; all it takes are a few simple steps to get your positions included.

If the process appears a little daunting, many ATS systems and job pages automatically include posting to Google’s job search as standard. If you’re using an ATS as part of your process, check it’s adding your new positions, and if you’re not using an ATS—why not?!

16. Industry meet-ups

We continue to push the power of networking: attending job fairs, industry meet-ups, conventions, and conferencing is just as beneficial as it ever was. When it comes to unique and specialist positions, seeking out industry-specific events can be one of the fastest ways to find a new pool of uniquely appropriate candidates.

The most passionate about their careers and industries will make the best new team players; where better to find them polishing up on their knowledge, skills or learning about the breakthroughs in their chosen areas than at such specialist events. Local, national, or globally online—is it time to tap into a resource pool that’s swimming with your specialist candidates?

17. Collaborative hiring

Considered one of the more modern recruitment techniques, collaborative hiring is a process that brings additional members of your operation into the recruiting system, usually during the interview process but not exclusively. Collaborative hiring has proven to benefit hirers with the best cultural fits, reducing the stress of recruiting and providing candidates with their prime candidate experience. As well as speeding up the recruiting process, it provides better-fitting and strong hires, boosting employee retention and saving money long-term.

If you’d like to know a little more, we’ve already written a quick-guide into the key benefits to help you get better acquainted with the process.

18. Social media recruiting

One of the more poorly utilized or badly managed recruiting techniques, social media recruiting can provide great results in tracking down candidates when carried out correctly.

Although hiring through social media isn’t anything new, it’s still a powerful way to reach candidates. With so many users, so many platforms, and so many methods to reach out, SM recruiting techniques are often free or hold incredibly good value; hirers would be remiss to fail to include them as part of their process.

Depending on your brand, some platforms will work better to find your ideal hire than others. Don’t count out any less conventional platforms either, as there are plenty of opportunities in places you might not have considered. Have you tried Tinder or any of the dating apps to spread your reach? If your market is less mainstream or youthful, do your hires fit into the demographics you’ll find on Snapchat or TikTok? Just because you haven’t tried them yet, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

19. Niche job boards

We previously spoke about attending industry meet-ups and heading directly to the places specialist staff are likely to be hanging out. So it makes sense that if you can’t attend those events physically, the next option is online.

Where do you go to start shouting about your exciting new roles, to find those same candidates online? There are plenty of niche job boards perfect for those situations. We’ve put together a guide to get you started with some of the best job boards we know of, including a range of niche, speciality options.

20. Test your own guerilla recruiting

The last recruitment technique to consider adopting in 2021 is guerilla recruiting. Or, putting your guerrilla marketing hat on and thinking of radical ways to connect with qualified candidates and beat the tight competition.

This can include finding places in real life or on the web where your candidates gather and marketing your roles directly to them in unexpected and creative ways.

Recruitment strategy plan for the future

Be creative, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to changing up your recruitment methods. Look at your selection strategies and recruitment processes critically. And look beyond your own environment; innovative recruitment methods may be sitting right under your nose.

Standing out from the rest of the crowd will go a long way to securing the best talent in 2021!


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