The Virtual Work World Is Here to Stay: What 2020 Means for Hiring in 2021

Ask any recruiter, HR professional, or job seeker about the future of hiring, and they will tell you the game will never be the same again. Recruitment practices were totally transformed as companies transitioned from in-person work to a completely remote model practically overnight.
These dramatic changes to both hiring practices and professional mindset came to the fore in Talview’s latest report, Remote Hiring Trends for 2021. We surveyed more than 145 organizations across 20+ countries and 15+ industries, including the likes of Amazon, Uber, Disney, and Zoom, alongside many small and medium-sized businesses. 
The survey uncovered the key trends that talent leaders and recruitment teams expect to see in the year ahead, and it yielded insights into how companies have adapted their hiring strategies over the past year. Here are some of the highlights:
Remote Hiring Will Lead to Greater Diversity and Broader Access to Talent
The survey confirmed what many of us have known for a while: Remote hiring allows companies to access previously unreachable talent and tap more diverse talent pools overall. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they could improve diversity now that they are no longer limited to recruiting candidates within commuting distance.
When companies hire remotely, people from other parts of the country — or even the world — can apply for jobs that used to be wedded to a specific geographical area. The high cost of living in hot employment hubs like Silicon Valley and New York City used to act as a barrier for many candidates, but remote recruiting opens the door for previously excluded communities.
Participants made their renewed commitments to diversity clear. One organizational rep said their company prided itself on “having a strong presence in all parts of the world, with a diverse and inclusive company culture.” Another stated that being a global company means collaboration and synergy between people in different locations. (It’s no secret that a more diverse workforce leads to economic benefits.)
However, that’s not to say all barriers to hiring beyond a company’s local region have fallen. Many respondents said that organizational beliefs that in-person teams perform better than remote workers are an obstacle to expanded hiring efforts. Looking ahead, companies must overcome this self-limiting mindset if they want to get their hands on the best talent out there.
Candidate Experience Is Paramount
Done well, remote hiring has the potential to seriously boost candidate experience. In fact, 40 percent of survey respondents reported their candidate satisfaction levels improved when they adopted virtual recruiting.
However, remote hiring isn’t a magic bullet. Companies can’t just switch to online recruiting and expect the candidate experience to improve automatically. As with traditional hiring, delivering a great candidate experience through remote hiring requires a thoughtful, people-centered strategy.
A number of companies in the survey recognized this, reporting on their own efforts to adapt the candidate experience to the virtual realm. One organizational rep said their company changed its strategy by “exploring and implementing new tools and techniques for a better candidate experience and virtual onboarding process.” One respondent reported championing a shorter and more streamlined process, while another said they were aiming to make the candidate experience as “digitally fluid” as possible by improving the initial candidate assessment process.
With 87 percent of candidates saying a positive interview experience can change their mind about an employer they had previously doubted, nailing the virtual candidate experience is nonnegotiable.
Businesses have largely overcome the initial hurdle of going remote. The majority of organizations surveyed reported feeling satisfied with remote work (and 38 percent gave a satisfaction score of 10/10), a statistic that was unimaginable to many this time last year. HR pros are already enjoying how virtual recruiting has reduced the number of interviews they need to conduct while cutting time and cost per hire. Now, they need to develop remote hiring strategies that are as positive for candidates as they have been to employers.
Investing in End-to-End Tech Is the Key to Success
Without the technology to support a remote hiring strategy, companies are left cobbling together disparate platforms like applicant tracking systems (ATS), Zoom calls, and email chains. That’s not going to produce a great candidate experience. Investing in technology solutions designed for virtual recruiting could be the differentiator between simply hiring remotely and creating a winning virtual candidate experience.
All-in-one platforms that handle the entirety of the hiring process were particularly popular with our survey respondents, with many expressing that they hope to see more of such platforms in the future. Organizations are also expecting to see innovations in recruiting chatbots, assessments, interviews, and ATS integrations.
A massive 94 percent or respondents said they plan to increase their use of virtual event platforms, while 44 percent said the same of interview coaching and analytics tools. Thirty-nine percent want to up their usage of video interviewing solutions. Clearly, the demand for cutting-edge recruitment technology abounds. It’s no surprise that the online recruitment market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 7.1 percent by 2027.
This has been a rough year for many, but it has also helped us discover the value to be gained by breaking away from the traditional ways of doing work. Companies that were previously married to the in-person model are now reaping the rewards of remote hiring. For best results, however, organizations must craft intelligent, intentional strategies and leverage the innovative tools the market has to offer.
Remote hiring is here to stay. Let’s make sure it’s a success.