Hiring Lessons for 2021: What The Past Year Has Taught Us About Talent Acquisition

The past year has forced talent teams to adapt to a constantly changing hiring reality. Understanding candidates’ new perspectives, sustaining company culture in remote work environments, and building a post-pandemic talent acquisition plan are just a few of the considerations talent teams are navigating in today’s unprecedented circumstances. 


TopFunnel sat down with Rich Adao of Udemy, Hope Weatherford of InVision, and Lizzie Enderle Tubridy of AgentSync to discuss key shifts in talent acquisition from 2020 to 2021. They shared insightful experiences that you can implement to shape your talent acquisition strategy in the coming months.


Key Takeaways


  1. Successful talent teams are adaptable, resilient and empathetic to the full lived experience of colleagues and candidates


The most widespread effect of the pandemic has been a fundamental shift in how we work - be it parents who are juggling remote schooling with office hours, or extroverts who found the prolonged isolation of the last year challenging. Being flexible and leading with empathy and care in communications has been a key characteristic of successful talent teams. 


“Now more than ever, we're integrating our home lives with our work lives- we are truly bringing our whole self to work and this moment is really humanizing us.” Rich Adao, Udemy


In the absence of connecting in-person with colleagues and candidates, talent teams are finding that being more open and flexible in interactions leads to better recruiting outcomes. Taking time to have an open conversation to learn about your candidate rather than going directly into scripted questions can give people an opportunity to show their best selves. Letting candidates see that your organization is flexible and open to supporting  their unique set of life circumstances makes it a lot easier for them to consider making the leap and switching jobs in a very uncertain economy. 


  1. Consistent communication is a crucial ingredient to candidates’ interviewing and onboarding success



Be your candidate’s hype person! Interviewing today is compounded by unique stressors, and the antidote is to over communicate and over prepare. While this can seem like an additional investment, it is one that pays off as an organization’s employer brand is more important than ever. 


“We make sure that every candidate, regardless of the level we're hiring for, has a hype person. That hype person is their recruiter, and they are sharing what’s next every single step of the way.” Hope Weatherford, InVision 


When scheduling interviews, ask candidates their preferences around timing and breaks. Set them up for interview success by sharing what will be of most interest to hiring teams, and ensuring there are plenty of opportunities for their questions to be answered. Video calls are a great way to duplicate an in-office environment and offer visual cues into your company’s culture. 


This level of communication requires additional time and effort- and it's no secret that recruiters have become inundated with a high volume of applications. It may be challenging to stay in constant communication with all of your candidates, but automation software like TopFunnel offers effective solutions for scheduling and staying in touch with candidates, while avoiding burnout from an increased workload.


  1. Data-backed insights are key to building a partnership of trust with hiring managers



Data-informed communication about market trends is a key step to building trust and a close partnership with hiring managers. Consistent check-ins about the candidate market, the competitive landscape, and takeaways from interview debrief meetings are a few examples of transparency that leads to partnership success. 


“To raise the bar from excellent to elite, you have got to be a consultant to your hiring managers, and identify and call out trends with the use of data” Rich Adao, Udemy 


Help hiring managers define not only the job description, but also the specific skills sets that will add value to their team. Use data to paint a clear picture of the demand for those skills in their market, and the relative compensation expectations. Push them to identify their non-negotiables versus their nice-to-haves, so that they don’t accept a candidate that doesn’t fit their needs, but also don’t turn away a candidate that hits their most important criteria but lacks a nice-to-have.


  1. Establishing and reflecting internal values is key to successful DEI recruiting today 


“As recruiters, I think it's our job to educate ourselves on what's going on in the world and how that can affect different candidate experiences. Spend some time and it will be really eye opening” Lizzie Enderle Tubridy, AgentSync


Building a DEI talent attraction strategy starts with establishing your definitions, values and goals. Focus on the skills you’re hiring for, and make it clear that culture fit language is not appropriate in candidate feedback. Additional low-cost actions include representative interview loops, transparency about salary bands, and ensuring candidates are paid based on their skills and experience, not their ability to negotiate. Data is an effective tool here as well- look at your current diversity numbers and set reasonable goals. Dive deeper into the data to track candidates through the funnel, and try to understand where attrition happens and why. Normalizing practices that hold space for self-identification, such as stating preferred pronouns, can also shape a culture of inclusivity. 

As the broader cultural climate continues to affect work environments, talent teams will need to iterate their approaches accordingly. 2020’s lessons of resiliency, flexibility, empathetic communication and data fluency will only strengthen talent teams as they strategize for continued success in the future. 

View the webinar recording.