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We Asked Recruiters:
What Are Your Recruiting
Predictions for 2021?

Results of our Recruiter Survey

Who’s ready to put 2020 in the rear-view mirror? Between COVID, record unemployment, and the election, it’s been the hardest year of many peoples’ lives. It's also been one that’s pushed people to do things differently. Recruiting and hiring has been a traditionally in-person affair – but with the usual process upended, recruiters and TA pros have had to embrace remote technology to do their job and make hires. Are these just stop-gap measures, or are some a process improvement or even a game-changer? We asked over 150 recruiters and TA pros what they think the future holds.

The Rise of Remote Work

Remote work icon.

Though COVID has forced millions of employees to work from home, many have adapted to the lifestyle. The flexibility can aid in work life balance, and many people find they can focus better. What started out as a “have to” has turned into a “perk.” This is just one of the ways that people have adapted to the "new normal," and it has not been lost on recruiters.

Circle with 42 percent icon.

Of respondents believe that going virtual is the major trend of 2020.

23 percent icon.

Believe that WFH and remote working will continue into the future.

8 percent icon.

Think that we are headed toward a 100% virtual workplace.

A workforce that’s going increasingly global will contribute to another trend we've seen throughout the pandemic: virtual hiring and onboarding. Despite hopes that offices will be up and running sometime in 2021, many recruiters think that virtual hiring is here to stay.

29 percent icon.

29% of respondents said that virtual interviewing & onboarding is the most important trend to come out of 2020.

14 percent icon.

14% said that the technological improvements they’re most excited to see next year are of virtual interviewing platforms.

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“I think COVID has driven an extreme and sudden shift in the manner that candidates interview, and where the workforce physically sits to do their job. I anticipate we'll continue to see an increase in remote interviews and work with additional flexibility for the candidate.”

Technological Advancements in TA

As the world goes virtual, technological advancements are fighting to meet our needs. The tools recruiters are using to reach job seekers have also fundamentally changed in the last few years. The growth and diversification of recruiting channels, the incorporation of social media and text messaging in candidate outreach, and even things like virtual reality candidate engagement efforts, are some of the ways that talent acquisition has continued to adapt to a changing world. Of the recruiters we surveyed:

Quote icon.

The recruiting technology I’m most excited about is “anything to better automate processes and save candidate information.”

15 percent icon.

15% see the rise of social media marketing and text messaging as essential to a 2021 recruiting strategy.

20 percent icon.

20% think AI and bots are the future of recruiting.

Top tools mentioned:

Zoom logo.
Microsoft Teams logo.
Cisco Webex logo.
Icims logo.
Avionte logo.
Handshake logo.
Hire Velocity logo.
Spark Hire logo.
Talroo logo.
Recruitee logo.
Hubspot logo.

Technology has improved a lot in the last year and before, but recruiters are still itching for a better system to put everything together: an ATS with scheduling capabilities, machine learning to better match applicants, and automation to build out a great candidate experience. One thing’s for certain: the influence of technology on the recruiting space isn’t going anywhere.

A Changing Workforce

Another trend happening in the recruiting world is a changing workforce: one that is younger, more technologically capable, and cares about diversity, equity, and inclusion. With many of us hoping that 2021 will provide some economic recovery and decreased unemployment, providing a positive candidate experience will become more important than ever. Here were the top changes recruiters anticipate seeing:

Candidates becoming comfortable with the virtual space.

No more “ghosting!” Candidates going radio silent is a major frustration.

Increased focus on DEI initiatives.

Job seekers prioritizing cultural fit and meaningful work.

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“Organizations will be forced to focus more than ever on organizational fit, culture fit, and finding ways to express how they focus on staff happiness and wellness during the recruiting process more than they ever have before.”

Workforce landscape icon.

Whether in-person or behind a screen, candidate experience is crucial. Increased transparency, shorter applications, and less “ghosting” are some of the ways that employers will have to adapt to create a successful recruiting strategy. Understanding the changing landscape of the workforce and acting accordingly will be critical for recruiters in 2021.

Top Recruiting Challenges for 2021

Here are the challenges that recruiters are expecting to face in 2021:

Finding candidates icon.

#1. Finding enough qualified candidates

Applicant volume icon.

#2. Getting enough volume of applicants

Reducing time to hire icon.

#3. Reducing time-to-hire

Measuring hiring success icon.

#4. No way to measure success

Though most of us are ready to put 2020 completely behind us, this year has been chock-full of lessons. While some recruiters miss the human element of recruiting, many workers have fully adapted to a world where business can be done from home, interviews can happen through a screen, and a candidate’s journey can be completely digital. The lessons we have learned about diversity, illness, and empathy — in and out the workplace — will not soon be forgotten. Finally, no matter what year it is, recruiters will need to keep up with an everchanging workforce, technological landscape, and world.

Talroo Insights

Talroo Insights icon.

Throughout 2020, we’ve brought you up-to-the-minute employer and job seeker trends with our Talroo Insights™ data. Each month seemed like something new was trending that was affecting the labor market severely: COVID spikes, lockdowns, CARES Act benefits, job seekers moving to the suburbs, the rise of e-commerce to get goods “the last mile,” and more. Using Insights, lets look at the past year and see what trends emerge.

Top 5 job titles searched

Job title icon.
1 Warehouse
2 Customer Service
3 Cashier
4 Driver
5 Receptionist

Top 5 industries searched

Top job industries icon.
1 Fulfillment & Distribution
2 Logistics & Transportation
3 Hospital & Healthcare
4 Restaurant & Food Service
5 Grocery & Retail

Top 5 cities for
job seeker activity

Texas state icon.


Illinois state icon.


New York state icon.

New York

Georgia state icon.


California state icon.

Los Angeles

Job seeker clicks from
January – December 2020

Chart of gig job search statistics.

Job seeker clicks went up in January of 2020, like they do every year as the holiday season ends, and people resolve to change jobs. The graph clearly shows when COVID hit, with a large spike of job seeker activity, followed by a deep trough, as closed businesses and CARES benefits stalled re-hiring. Job seeker volume is on the rise, in a promising upward trend as we enter the holiday season.

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*** Source: Talroo’s Insights business intelligence tool sifted through 6 billion points of data including job postings and job seeker activity from March - December 2020. Insights also provides major and minor job classification data as well as geographic data from the national level to cities and zip codes.