It seemed like 2020 was going to be the start of something big: the dawn of a new decade, an election on the horizon, and then…the worst global health crisis since World War II. This year has certainly been unique, and it has not only affected each of us personally, but it has also transformed how we do business.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on recruitment efforts. Quarantine periods and shutdowns all over the world have disrupted the natural flow of recruitment strategy. In these uncertain times, it is important as employers to continue our forward thinking. We must design an adaptable 2021 recruitment strategy that takes into account the current economic situation and the need to be accessible while not physically present in an office environment. Candidates themselves desire transparency and communication. The months ahead will bring changes to the candidate experience across all industries for many years to come.

Keeping It Simple

What drives candidate experience? Three key factors that emerge with the right strategy and tools are transparency, fairness, and feedback. If candidates have a good recruitment experience, they are more likely to accept a position.

Sounds straightforward, right? In this modern world of constant connection and the ability to reach your target audience at any time, it’s important that your recruitment strategy focuses on brand awareness. What are others saying about you in the industry through marketing and social media channels? Positive perception is how you will get candidates interested in who you are as a company and ready to explore new opportunities for their own career.

Furthermore, candidates want simplicity in their job search. They want a process that clearly outlines hiring steps and prepares them for the interview experience. Technology allows us to easily provide candidates with feedback through email or text updates during the recruitment process. Moving forward, recruiters will also need to make sure that job listings are mobile-friendly. Research has shown that not only are candidates searching for jobs on mobile devices, but mobile applications are submitted at a higher rate than desktop applications. Creating a mobile-friendly application process is a critical step toward candidate accessibility and making it easy for a candidate to submit their interest in a position. If your application process is too hard or requires too many steps, you will lose candidates at this critical early stage.

Remote and in Control

Remote working was already a top trend of the last several years. Formerly seen as an optional benefit, now it’s a requirement to stay healthy. Prior to COVID-19, about 40 percent of the workforce had some type of remote work as an option. Fast forward to March 2020, and many companies had little choice but to shift abruptly to 100 percent remote work.

The pandemic has forced employers to adopt and implement new technologies to foster a productive remote work environment. This is certainly true of recruitment. From the way jobs are posted and candidates are sourced, to how interviews are conducted and hiring is completed, procedures have been revamped across the board to fit the needs of a remote workforce. The ability to interview candidates globally using video conferencing, and to then onboard and train them using the same software, has been implemented remarkably fast as companies have pivoted to remain productive during a crisis. The theme for years to come will be keeping employees productive, engaged, and accountable while offering an extremely flexible working environment.

Retention and Promotion

Amidst this global health crisis, some organizations have had to completely freeze hiring. Due to COVID-19 uncertainty, no one knows when these companies will resume their normal hiring practices. We are in a different world. Hiring pauses and delays in recruitment are going to become normal for some industries. Businesses must take their budgets into account and try to predict what may happen in future months, even as COVID-19 has already affected many industries with significant financial blows. Look for a coming trend where positions are advertised and then either paused or delayed during the hiring process.

With these lulls in recruitment efforts, expect a growing focus on internal promotion and hiring. Companies will look for ways to fill gaps with current employees who have proven loyal during a difficult time. As these employees are already a match for the organization culturally, this is a win-win. It is also much more cost- and time-efficient.

Prior to COVID-19, there was a huge focus on retention. Now more than ever, retention is key. Turnover is extremely costly when you look at the time and money invested in recruiting, training, and onboarding a new employee. Organizations cannot afford to lose vital employees. Moving into 2021, companies will design strategies with retention in mind, attempting to eliminate the revolving door of costly hires who don’t stick around.

A big focus on health benefits will also be important. Employees want to have attractive benefits and resources available to them, and companies that focus on this will get a big return on their investment in the form of improved employee recruitment, productivity, and retention.

Looking Ahead

It’s beyond dispute that 2020 has been a very challenging year for us all. Furthermore, because the pandemic has affected every facet of how we do business, this year will also set trends for years to come. It will be important not only to acknowledge that this year hasn’t been easy, but also to be forward thinking and ready to adapt in order to remain productive and efficient. The companies to survive will be those that adopt innovative techniques to drive business forward, including smart strategies to support recruitment of a company’s most important asset: their current and future employees.

As a national leader in senior care management and consulting services, Health Dimensions Group is uniquely positioned to assist organizations currently facing obstacles in their recruiting efforts. If you are struggling to secure the staffing you need, we can help. For more information, please contact us at or 763.537.5700.