What It Takes To Be a Great Recruiter in 2021

There’s something particularly refreshing about looking forward to the new year especially when we’re trying to leave behind a year like 2020. But what will great recruiting look like in 2021?

Woman working on computer with glasses and coffee cup on the table. The text "What It Takes to Be A Great Recruiting in 2021" is over the top of the image.

Looking Back

2020 was one of the most unexpected years we’ve ever faced…and that’s putting it lightly. Between layoffs, workplace changes, budget cuts, and a national recession, every day left people wondering, “What’s next?”

In the recruiting industry alone, major companies like Google were looking at cutting marketing and recruiting budgets by 50%. We saw an unemployment rate of nearly 15%. While the majority of job cuts were for the in-person industries like hospitality, nearly every worker experienced some amount of shift. All of a sudden offices closed forcing otherwise in-person roles to shift to remote and work from home.

No one was left untouched by the difficulties of 2020. As we move into 2021 we’re all hoping for brighter days ahead.

What Recruiting in 2021 Could Look Like

This is usually the part of the blog post where we’d share what we expect 2021 to look like, but if 2020 has shown us anything it’s that the time we’re in is just too precarious to have expectations.

That doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about how 2020 has affected the world and the recruiting industry. In fact, we’re going to take this time to think about what recruiters can do personally to make 2021 great…no matter the world we’re faced with.

How to Make Your 2021 Shine

Focus on Inclusivity and Belonging

If anything good came out of 2020, it was the frank and long-overdue discussion about diversity in the workplace. Numerous companies are taking stands and making sure that their teams more accurately reflect the communities they inhabit. While there is still so much work to do, seeing that progress has been a guiding light in the year. As we move forward, we need to bring the same voracity to fostering inclusivity and belonging in our teams. Recruiting in 2021 will rely on making sure that your teams are welcoming to everyone.

Learn about the differences between diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging here. There are an incredible amount of resources available to help you and your team amplify these traits, but this article from Forbes is a good place to start.

Invest in Candidate Rediscovery

We recently had Jeffrey Shapiro on the blog to talk about the importance of candidate rediscovery in your recruiting strategy. As we move into this new year there’s no better time to dig out past candidates and reconnect.

Your internal data, whether that’s previous candidates, applicants, or potential candidates, is a gold mine. Shifting your work process to checking your internal data before venturing into external sources will help you save time, money, and effort.

Not only does opening your pipeline to rediscovered candidates support your time constraints and budget it also builds a culture that supports growth.

Improve Communication

This is one of those goals that should be on your to do list every year. By investing in better communication, you’re investing in a better candidate experience and a more seamless workflow. Improving your communication can mean:

Making a stronger effort to disposition candidates quickly

Setting more realistic goals and expectations with hiring managers

Improving your check ins with team leaders so they are shorter and more impactful

Creating a weekly email to stay in touch with potential candidates

Take some time to audit where improved communication could make your work life easier and tackle this goal step by step.

Focus on Personal Growth

As time goes on, company leaders are going to be focused on understanding and correcting the skills gaps amongst their own teams. We’re entering a whole new world of work that requires different skills and abilities. What can you do today to help improve yourself to be a star player?

It’s a great time to sit down with a mentor to decipher where you want to be and what you need to do to get there. If you can, take some time to build out something like an IDP (Individual Development Plan) to map out the steps you need to take the reach your goals. Investing in your self-growth and your measurable skills doesn’t just help your team and company, it helps you.

Embrace Change

If 2020 did anything right, it taught us that we all need to work on our ability to embrace and face change. Uncertainty is one of the most difficult things for humans to deal with. We’re just notoriously bad when it comes to embracing change and uncertainty. If you do anything in 2021, do this: Embrace change in any way that you can.

The more you make a mental effort to embrace new changes in your life, the more equipped you’ll be to tackle anything that comes your way.

Embracing change is hard, but it is essential to growing. Here are some tips to get you started. If you’re a team leader, here is how you can help your team deal with uncertainty.


Ultimately, while none of us know what recruiting in 2021 will bring we can take this time to look inward and focus on how we can grow ourselves to tackle any challenge that may come our way.

Don't stop now. Keep reading!

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