What recruiters will look for in 2021

In normal times, entire industries and business models don’t typically change seismically in the course of a year. But in 2020, the rules go out the window. Virtually every sector changed in some way since the beginning of the pandemic. And many of those shifts have created changes in what companies prioritize now.

Recent research from HR software firm Jobvite found that the importance of time-to-hire—getting someone onboard fast—has given way to a more thoughtful process that prioritizes factors like diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as the quality of the candidate. And that means that what recruiters are looking for in the coming year has shifted, too.

“[Recruiting] takes a much different skill set than in the past,” says Amy Glaser, senior vice president at Adecco USA, a recruitment and workforce solutions provider. With the changes and stressors hiring managers and candidates are facing, recruiters need to operate with more empathy and emotional intelligence, she says. And to meet the demands of both—finding the best talent for hiring managers while providing an exceptional candidate experience for job seekers—some of the traditional assumptions about what recruiters want have shifted in important ways.

Then: Job titles and degrees
Now: Transferable skills

Glaser says that hiring standards will be looser, focusing less on job titles and degrees. “In the ‘new world,’ those things are not important. What’s important are the skills you have. Are they transferable?” she says. You can learn to do the tasks related to many jobs, but it’s harder to teach people to be adaptable, adopt a problem-solving mindset, and collaborate well with others. Glaser says one of the most exciting shifts she’s seeing is how recruiters are truly focused on the right transferable skills needed for the job while considering how the job-specific skills can be developed if they don’t exist in an otherwise promising candidate.


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