You Recruitment Priorities for 2021 | UK Recruitment News

Our latest industry poll measures the intentions of top recruiters for the next twelve months. Do your recruitment priorities in 2021 match our panel of experts’ choices?

After the uphill battle that was 2020, many recruiters will be eyeing the next twelve months with hope. Although the UK has entered a new national lockdown this week, there are signs that progress is being made. Multiple vaccines have been discovered. New rules for public spaces are firmly established. And businesses are innovating new ways to remain open and viable in these challenging times.

Recruiters are likely to play a key role in the return to normal. With key sectors such as services, entertainment and hospitality taking a huge hit during lockdown, it is time to rebuild. Redundancies reached above 300,000 in December and have permanently changed the hiring landscape. Little surprise, then, that this year’s recruitment intentions poll is markedly different to previous surveys. Here is what you told us:


• 1st: Increase Your Recruitment Market Share


The most popular response to our poll was to increase market share. 28 per cent of respondents – the largest group in this year’s poll – cited growing market share as their top priority. This has actually increased from the 25 per cent in last year’s poll results.

Recruiters are an optimistic, go-getter bunch, but even this seems surprising on first glance. Yet, scratch beneath the surface, and it is perhaps easier to understand why now is the time to grow your recruitment enterprise.

Disruptions rarely create a perfectly even spread of negative consequences. The COVID fallout will affect different enterprises in different ways, depending on where they are positioned within the wider market. It should not be surprising to learn that many recruiters are poised to capitalised on this market shake up.

Businesses that have already modernised, introduced automation to their processes, and innovated new ways to target sales generation are winning. Why? Because they now have a huge reserve of applicants and skills. Plus, they are able to beat competitors to the punch when it comes to identifying sales opportunities.

eBoss recruitment consultancy tips:

The outcome is fairly clear. Agencies that put their futureproofing in place before 2020 are now well placed to move ahead of the competition in 2021. But what does futureproofing your recruitment enterprise look like? It means: less admin, quicker response times, improving your candidate experience, and lowering your costs. Read more


• 2nd: Reduce times-to-hired


Dashing to make faster placements was the recruitment story of 2019. Cutting times-to-hired even finished top of the recruitment priorities poll for 2020, with 44 per cent of the vote. How much can change in a year?

In 2021, times-to-hired took the biggest fall in voting. Just 22 per cent of recruiters saw speed as the most crucial part of their business. But why is this?

The changing nature of the recruitment market does not necessarily find an answer. Certainly, there are more candidates and a greater pool of skills to draw from now. It is no longer so urgent to place top talent immediately. (Four years ago, we highlighted how the best candidates remain on the market for only ten days.)

But, while the skills side of the hiring market is not adding pressure to recruitment, vacancies are harder to find. Recruiters are not worried that talent will slip through their fingers, but they are concerned about losing out on the job orders themselves.

eBoss recruitment consultancy tips:

Times-to-hired may have lost out in importance to factors such as survival and growth this year. But that doesn’t mean it is no longer relevant, and the eBoss expert verdict is that speed still counts.

And, while fewer recruiters may be throwing big budgets at accelerating their processes, we should also ask why that might be? If firms have already invested in streamlining their hires through a smarter applicant tracking system, then it is understandable that this is no longer a priority. The problem has already been remedied.

If, however, you are one of the few who has not invested in efficiencies in the last twelve months, you should look to address the issue. Find out why technology is the key to reducing your times to hired.


• 3rd: Improve Your Candidate Experience


The candidate experience has been a hot-button topic in recruitment for years. Why? Because we were all fighting over the same limited pool of skills that we needed to fill job orders.

That has changed, but it is clear that the candidate experience still goes hand-in-hand with marketing and branding as a key concern for recruiters. A strong candidate experience puts your agency in a good light. You get those vital word-of-mouth recommendations which secure you more of the top talent that you need. The value of a quality experience remains – and explains why this issue increased its polling by 2 per cent in twelve months
(to 21%).

But in 2021, what it is to offer a winning candidate experience may have changed with the market.

There are some specialist agencies which hire into a chosen niche. For those players, the rules of the game will have hardly changed. But for firms with a broader mission statement, the next twelve months could radically shake up your own candidate experience. Unprecedented high volumes of new applicants with a shortage of roles.

eBoss recruitment consultancy tips:

How do you manage expectations and ambitions with the reality of a shallow jobs market? The short answer is: get good at communicating.

What is good communication? It comes down to three factors: frequency, value, and responsiveness. Let’s break those down.

In 2021, every candidate is likely to feel crowded out of job opportunities. Communicate with every individual, and often. Ensure your channels of communication are established and used effectively – be they SMS text, bulk email, or direct video chat via Whatsapp or zoom.

Next, understand your candidates’ individual drives and requirements. This demands effective use of an applicant tracking system. As its name suggests, applicant tracking should tell you everything about any individual candidate’s job search process at any time. Use that information to build helpful and encouraging communications – messages that your candidates will want to receive. Think about sharing helpful market data with them, new opportunities, and – above all – simply staying in contact so they know that you are working hard and looking out for them. When they call you, be ready to take their call and assist in any way how. That’s responsiveness.

These are the fundamentals of recruitment, but it’s good to reinforce their values in these changing times.


• 4th: Modernising and Futureproofing Recruitment


It is understandable why many firms are looking to modernise this year. The way we work has changed drastically, and it is easy to see why many firms no longer see their processes as effective. Maybe remote working has opened your eyes to new ways of operating. Perhaps you have recently been swamped in administrative tasks and been forced to admit that manually processing every individual is no longer viable.

Whatever your reasons, futureproofing claimed 18 per cent of votes, making it the largest single increase of any of our options. Almost a fifth of UK recruitment firms will be investing new money into updating systems and workflows over the next twelve months, so what might that look like?

eBoss recruitment consultancy tips:

Futureproofing is a cover-all term for system-wide and technological improvements to your business. Want to learn more? Choose a few of the links already included in this article for core recruitment software features that can assist you in running a better business.

Review our case studies for some real world examples of modern recruitment offices.


• 5th: Survival & Recovery


2020 took it out of us. Record high redundancies arrived at the same time as a collapse in open job orders on the recruitment market. The result was no so much a shake-up as a complete reversal of existing hiring trends. The skills gap was eradicated in an instant. Costly administration work (processing new candidates) increased, while the promise of making valuable placements evaporated.

It is no surprise that survival and recovery are top priorities for more than one in ten UK recruitment enterprises.

eBoss recruitment consultancy tips:

For some, lockdown has cut business to the bone. But there is support and opportunities available to struggling firms.

Check out our price reductions for firms struggling to get back into recruiting after a setback. Or, if you’re ticking, look for new ways of working within tighter budgets, like our guide to working an effective two-hour day.

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