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Recruitment Trends in 2021

Cogent Infotech
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Recruitment Trends in 2021

The recruitment industry is going through a pandemic induced overhaul. The year 2021 is expected to be a trendsetter in many ways.

Recruitment is an exercise of twin-way strategic marketing. Not only does the prospective employer need to have a buy-in on a candidate, but the candidate also needs to have a favorable opinion about the prospective employer.

In this ever-evolving matching exercise, technology has begun to reduce the need for human touchpoints steadily. However, recruiters are hesitant to let go of the in-person perspective.

Pandemic shaping hiring trends

The pandemic has shaken the hiring processes of companies. It has blown away the old pattern and laid the ground for new hiring strategies. This downtime for the recruiters has also warranted some severe thinking regarding the complicated workforce planning.

The work-from-home norm came with its own set of challenges. The pandemic resulted in job losses and uncertainty. There were makeshift attempts to deal with the crisis. The year 2021 is witnessing a consolidation of some of these trends.

1. Internal recruitment

Companies are bound to look in their backyard for suitable candidates first, rather than going the extra mile in hiring new talent in a restricted environment. It makes more sense to re-skill the workforce or engage available talent on a project basis, given that emphasis on internal mobility is likely to bolster employees’ confidence and subsequently lead to a better retention rate for the company. 

No wonder, when Infosys re-started hiring after the first wave of COVID-19, it was the internal recruitment channel they first banked in on. The human resources (HR) teams of companies will have to burn the midnight oil to map the skills of the workforce and establish a rigorous learning and development (L&D) program.

2. The hybrid model of recruitment is here to stay.

Virtual and traditional forms of recruitment will now coexist. In dealing with volatility, recruiters discovered that virtual hiring came with its own set of advantages; it was cost-effective and time-saving, besides accelerating the entire hiring process. With social distancing norms still in force, recruiters are expected to continue and streamline their online hiring strategies. Likely, in-person interviews will make a small comeback only when our guards can finally lower.  

In reality, recruiters will have to walk the tightrope to balance the evident advantage of face-to-face interaction in assessing a candidate’s worth without losing out on the efficiency of the virtual medium.

3. The increased role of AI and NLP

Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) will see faster adoption by the companies in COVID-19-dictated changes. AI will help recruiters sift through the high volume data to prepare the first shortlist of applicants. NLP tools can help a recruiter make a data-driven decision about the candidate and see the person’s fitment in the organization more quickly. As a technique that maps behavioral patterns, it comes in handy for the interviewer to study and slot a candidate’s response to different questions to assess whether they align with the organizational goals.  

4. Remote working becomes a norm.

The continuing shadow of the pandemic has ensured that remote working is here to stay for at least some time. The Talview Remote Hiring Trends Report, based on information collected from 145+ companies across 20 countries, showed that as many as 80% of the respondents have opted for remote methods for their hiring processes. 

In the virtual medium, it would be difficult for recruitment teams to ensure a stimulating customer experience and, at the same time, gauge a candidate’s fitment for the position. One good fallout will be that companies will be able to attract a diverse and better talent pool and cross newer geographical barriers while recruiting.

5. Diversity, equity, and inclusion

A LinkedIn survey says that remote jobs have resulted in 20% more geographical diversity among applicants. The same factor will hold the talent acquisition team accountable in picking up the right talent from a racially and culturally diverse talent pool, setting aside their biases.  

Diversity and inclusion will become a business imperative for brand-conscious companies. HR managers will be held responsible for ensuring such candidates have lower entry barriers and move up the funnel. Empathy will define the employer’s brand value. Those who stood by their employees in the difficult times and extended a helping hand are likely to be held in high regard rather than those companies that let go of their staff.


The year will prove to be a trendsetter for the recruitment industry in many ways. Those who will adapt fast are set to rule the roost.

Cogent Infotech has significant experience providing staffing and workforce solutions, consulting, and analytics to Fortune 500 companies and the US government for more than 18 years.

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