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Predictions For Recruitment In 2022 – What The Experts Say

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Tom Goulde Press Releases, Director, HR...

The team at TechRound has collected industry expert predictions on what 2022 will bring for the recruitment industry.

With the pandemic having a huge effect on how recruitment has functioned over the past two years, experts such as Nexford University’s Fadl Al-Tarzi and Dylan Buckley from DirectlyApply have given their opinion on what recruitment will look like in the coming year.

The world of recruitment is constantly shifting; more so than ever in 2022 as the job space has been permanently changed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether that is more people working from home permanently or the need for workers in different sectors, recruitment is going to look a lot different in 2022 than it ever has done before.

It is important to understand what these changes might look like practically and for that reason TechRound has spoken to our panel of recruitment experts to gather their predictions and opinions for what the future of recruitment will look like in the coming year.

Our Panel of Experts:

  • Fadl Al-Tarzi – CEO of Nexford University

  • Ken Morrice – Founding Managing Partner at MM Search

  • Julien Gargowitsch – CEO at Nicholson Search & Selection

  • Manisha Agarwal – Head of Business Development at Arjun Global

  • Mandy Watson – Managing Director at Ambitions Personnel

  • Neil Armstrong – Chief Commercial Officer at Tribepad

  • David Whitfield – Co-Founder and CEO at HR DataHub

  • Dylan Buckley – Co-Founder at DirectlyApply

  • Deepak Shukla – Founder at Pearl Lemon Recruitment

  • Andrew Fennell – Former Recruiter and Director at StandOut CV

  • Khyati Sundaram – CEO at Applied

  • Neil Purcell – Founder and CEO at Talent Works

  • Katie Redfern – Founder at Meaningful Recruitment and Author of ‘Working Meaningfully’

  • Dee Coakley – CEO and Co-Founder at Boundless

Fadl Al-Tarzi – CEO of Nexford University

As the visible and rapidly growing skills gap continues to present challenges to employers and employees on a global scale, one of the areas of focus we can expect to see innovation is in the hiring of entry level workers.  

One of the main issues in recruitment of entry level talent is that, while new graduates may be educated in more theoretical subjects, they often lack the practical skills demanded by employers in the “real world” workplace.  

An explanation for this is that many traditional universities do not consider their primary role to be helping prepare learners for their careers. Deep-rooted tradition and even bureaucracy prevalent at many universities is another reason, as is the fact that many faculties do not have the industry experience needed to teach practical skills and thus lack the incentive to focus on teaching them.

As innovation in the education and recruitment spaces continues to take place, one of the areas being explored is how student learning data could improve hiring of entry level workers.  

With over 200 million tertiary education students globally, according to World Bank data, educational institutions and students themselves possess a wealth of data that, by applying advanced analytics, could provide crucial insights to help employers make better hiring decisions, and entry level jobseekers find jobs. 

Re-thinking the way companies hire entry level talent could involve the development of more data-led systems to analyse applicants over a longer period before making hiring decisions. After all, wouldn’t it be much more meaningful to judge a potential applicant based on one year of data versus a few weeks of interviews? 

Employers investing in education as a recruitment technique can result in (i) a more informed hiring decision and (ii) access to the best graduate talent.  

Ken Morrice – Founding Managing Partner at MM Search

Throughout 2021 there were some evident and surprising recruitment trends, particularly for tech startups, from the increase in the demand for interim professionals to digital hiring and a new way of blended home/office work. What will 2022 bring?

We predict that one of the biggest trends will confirm that hybrid working works; it will be a mainstay for most businesses to demonstrate their trust in employees by allowing them to select their in-office days. The growth of the tech sector will also lead to the demand for more highly skilled and agile people.

This growth will bring big opportunities for candidates looking to develop their careers and also for businesses seeking the best talent to help drive their business forward. What we will see more of is the ability for businesses to tap into a global talent pool for interviewing and onboarding via technology and digital platforms, saving both time and money.

Tech startups are also in a great position to showcase their employee experience to potential candidates early on, many believe the candidate process is an indicator of how companies treat their employees, so make sure it is a good one!

Julien Gargowitsch – CEO at Nicholson Search & Selection

There will be a slowdown in the rate at which vendors are hiring compared to now; the current recruitment rush can’t go forever.

Companies will continue to see more value in specialist niche headhunters rather than generalist firms.

In FinTech there has been a shift from candidates chasing money and status to trying to find something they feel truly passionate about. This will continue in 2022.

Emails are getting fewer; phone calls are growing; in a WFH world people want to connect!

The war for talent will continue. Some organisations will continue to recruit as they did in pre-COVID with:

  • long and drawn-out interview processes
  • lack of flexibility in remote working policies
  • absence of diversity in leadership teams
  • below market rate salaries
  • non-existent company benefits.

These organisations will struggle to recruit and feel the impact of people shortages.

Inexperienced consultants ideally need to be in an office where they can hear more experienced recruiters on the phone doing the job and learning from what they hear. It’s important that their managers are able to hear the conversations and provide regular feedback. Most companies in recruitment are now moving to working from home for most of the week and as such this presents a significant challenge. This can be addressed by:

putting specific processes together that encourage more experienced people to communicate with junior ones when they are about to start calls and let them listen

scheduling more frequent one-on-one chats using video as opposed to voice when management, teams and individuals need to talk.

Manisha Agarwal – Head of Business Development at Arjun Global

It has been a difficult time, in all industries, due to the Global Pandemic of Covid-19, and I think no other industry than our own, in recruitment , know this better or feels this more than ever. The main reason this is happening is that there is a shortage of global skills and labour. There are also a lot of shifts going on, and more people are quitting their current roles to try to get new roles, therefore, trying to secure the right candidate for any position is proving to be a challenging process.

For 2022 I see this to pattern to continue so I think what all people in recruitment should be aware of is to maintain a good relationship with your clients. This will help to enhance your luck in finding more suitable and reliable candidates to fulfil the specific job roles.

My suggestion to get into your client’s culture is to go to their offices for a day or spend a few hours with some of their departments in meetings etc and observe what they are all about. Also ask key questions to senior management, or those who have with the company for longer lengths of time, to gain a full understanding of that company culture. If you understand a company’s culture then you can give your clients the candidates they want. It also produces longer lasting hires for the client/company.

For the candidates side of things, I believe it is important to record and track all the past recruitment data available. This can aid the client’s search for their job opening to be filled. By storing the recruitment metrics, it will make it less difficult in the future, as appropriate candidates will be honed into immediately, or be found to be right for more niche roles available. The key is to have a good system where this data can also be easily accessed and one that is always updated.

Mandy Watson – Managing Director at Ambitions Personnel

The world of recruitment was changing even before the pandemic hit and the general atmosphere seems to have accelerated some of the changes that were inevitable, but brought them forward by a few years.

One of the greatest successes has been seen in the rise of the video interview – it has essentially kept recruitment, and therefore, the economy moving. The ability to recruit in a covid-secure way, while also reducing the time to hire has been essential to businesses. This looks set to stay now businesses have adopted this new way of working and seen the benefits.

The staffing crisis has been widely reported already, with some of the biggest shortages hitting the low paid and unskilled end of the spectrum. Simply, we have a situation where there just aren’t the people to fill these roles now. We expect that tech – in particular, automation, will be the solution in the medium to longer term. This may also have been accelerated due to the pandemic through necessity.

Whilst this might replace some volumes of people, it will bring with it additional opportunities for people looking for related careers. The workforce will eventually have to skill up or risk being left behind.

Neil Armstrong – Chief Commercial Officer at Tribepad

2022 is the year for tech to turn around the diversity issues in recruitment. British citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds have to send, on average, 60% more job applications to get a positive response from employers compared to their white counterparts, according to Nuffield College’s Centre for Social Investigation (CSI). Tribepad is looking at innovative tools to help employers redress this balance and is committed to enabling the recruitment industry to become fair and impartial.

Removing the possibility for unconscious bias is one of ways to increase diversity in recruitment. Tribepad’s Anonymous Applications feature enables applications to be entirely anonymous with no names, gender, date of birth, location, nationality or education institution names visible to hiring managers prior to inviting candidates to interview.

Neil Armstrong, Chief Commercial Officer at Tribepad said, “We’ve seen a 117% uplift in BAME applicants following the introduction of anonymous applications, which is very promising. The increase in confidence from minority applicants in applying for roles and sharing their ethnic origin information indicates a reduction in fear of prejudice.

David Whitfield – Co-Founder and CEO at HR DataHub

Unprecedented levels of reward and benefit will be offered to attract and retain talent in 2022

The research by HR DataHub showed that the top two strategic priorities for HR teams in 2022 are to attract top talent (score 9.51) and retain existing talent (score 8.81).

In the survey, respondents were asked what they already have in place to attract and retain talent in their business, and, what they plan to implement in the next 12 month, or, would consider implementing.

The research suggests that companies may turn to increased levels of monetary reward in recruitment efforts. To attract talent, 17% said they already pay above market pay and almost half (49%) would consider it. Whilst more than a fifth (21%) said they already pay a sign on bonus and 37% said they would consider bringing one in.

To retain talent, over half (52%) are considering the unprecedented move of paying their employees above market average pay increases, 9% said they will implement this in the next 12 months and 14% said they already have this in place.

The research also suggests that businesses may start to use retention bonuses as a tactic to retain talent; 28% of businesses said they already have this in place, 4% are implementing it in the next 12 months and 45% said they would consider it. More than a third (34%) said they would also consider above market bonuses.

Companies also appear to recognise that in the ‘war on talent’ monetary reward alone is not enough to attract and retain employees.

70% of respondents said they already implement and promote their flexible working practices in an attempt to attract new talent, a further 16% are looking to implement this in the next 12 months and 16% said they would consider it. In addition, only 7% of those questioned said they would not consider additional wellbeing benefits as part of their plan to attract new talent. 50% said they already use additional wellbeing benefits in their strategy to attract new talent, 14% are implanting this in the next 12 months and nearly a third (31%) would consider it.

Enhancing development appears to be a key strategy businesses are implementing to retain the best talent. 54% said they already have this in place, more than a quarter (28%) plan to implement it in the next 12 months and 20% said they would consider it. Notably, developing leaders was the fourth highest strategic priority for HR teams in 2022.

The research also suggests businesses believe promoting their commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is key to attracting talent. Over half (56%) of companies already have this in place, whilst 16% are planning to implement this within 12 months and 24% would consider using it.

Outlook 2022 has illustrated an astonishing shift in employee strategy amongst the UK’s biggest businesses. Over half of the companies we surveyed said they will be looking to increase their headcount in 2022, which means the talent marketplace is only set to get feistier. It is encouraging to see more than half have already shared their commitment to ESG as part of their strategy to attract and retain talent. However, employees have become increasingly cautious about joining and staying in workplaces that pay lip service to ESG efforts. Leaders must ensure these pledges are not empty.

Dylan Buckley – Co-Founder at DirectlyApply

Video interviewing platforms

“The increased adoption and technological advancements of video interviewing platforms is only going to increase throughout 2022. Either in a live interview setting or asking for answers to pre recorded questions that the job seeker can complete in their own time (one way video interviewing).”

Salaries in Job Descriptions

“Many employers have been hesitant to place the salary or salary band in job descriptions which has long been a frustration and act of time wasting for jobseekers. Given that the candidate shortage looks set to continue across 2022, we are expecting to see salaries in job descriptions becoming the norm, which is good news for job seekers and employees in general.”

No degree? No problem! 

“Previously it had been incredibly common to see organisations requiring a minimum of a 2.1 degree, often from a ‘top tier university’. However, thankfully employers are now placing less and less relevance on the importance on a degree and instead are targeting school leavers or people who have relevant work experience.”

Deepak Shukla – Founder at Pearl Lemon Recruitment

In 2022, more recruitment processes will be led by artificial intelligence. To a degree, it has already happened, but it’s likely to be even more AI-led during the rest of the year. Right now we have tracking systems that identify appropriate keywords in resumes. When you look at the funding in recruitment and tech platforms, you’ll see that there is a lot of innovation there. It’s possible that recruitment could become more audio/visual and rely on people’s personal following.

Andrew Fennell – Former Recruiter and Director at StandOut CV

In 2022, it’s almost certain that more recruitment tech innovation will be adopted across all sectors, and it will allow smaller businesses to access more hiring opportunities. The days of walking into a local business and handing in a CV are gone. More innovation means more competition which will continue to make recruitment tech cheaper across the board. 2022 and the rest of the decade will see more automation enter the market, it’s still important for all job hunters to personalise their approach and target employers rather than firing out hundreds of applications.

We’re also going to see the continuation of remote and flexible working as a key recruitment tool. There is now more of a ‘remote by default’ approach to recruitment. By this I mean, interviews are likely to be held remotely, but also candidates will likely be offered remote work-from-home days, hybrid approach, or even totally remote roles. Employees will continue to push for this and recruiters need to accommodate for this where possible.

Well qualified job-seekers look set to be in a strong position in the candidate-driven market this year. They will be well placed to negotiate desirable salaries and benefits packages given the high levels of demand. We’re also likely to see more creative recruitment campaigns as businesses strive to attract the best talent. With the widespread discussion of ‘The Great Resignation’ in the media, it’s expected recruitment teams may have higher budgets to attract talent through different channels.

There’s bound to be a decrease in the number of applications per role, as candidates hold out for opportunities that match up with their skills and aspirations. Prospective employers should be more prepared to go the extra mile, improving working conditions and other elements that are sure to be prioritised by target candidates.

With the continuation of the candidate-driven jobs market, we can also expect a business focus on retention. Positive changes might have to be made in terms of company culture and rewards for loyalty. Companies should be gathering and responding positively to feedback from established employees.

Khyati Sundaram – CEO at Applied

2022 will cement the death of CV, which will be replaced by skills-based applications.

“CVs have long been the cornerstone of hiring processes. But when it comes to objectively finding the best person for the job, it’s becoming increasingly clear that they’re not fit for purpose. Proxies like where a candidate went to school or where they’ve worked previously are poor indicators of their ability to do a job; but can trigger unconscious human bias in employers.

“To avoid this, we will see increasing numbers of employers ditching CVs and turning to skills based hiring this year. By assessing candidates for role-relevant skills rather than making a judgement based on their CV, lots of companies – including ASOS, HarperCollins and Comic Relief – are already unlocking previously overlooked talent and organically diversifying their workforces. More are set to join their ranks in 2022.

“With skills-based assessments shown to be three times more predictive of candidate performance than CVs, there’s more reason than one to change the status quo. The war for talent isn’t going anywhere. But CVs are one casualty we won’t need to mourn.”

Neil Purcell – Founder and CEO at Talent Works

The overarching theme for 2022 is that we have entered a candidate-driven market. It’s the first time in a generation that the candidates have held the power. When it comes to the hiring process I expect to see that the number of applications may decline. Prior to the pandemic, it was not uncommon for candidates to adopt a scattergun approach to job hunting, sending out as many applications as possible in the hopes of getting employment.

2022 will see a shift amongst candidates to a more targeted, more selective approach to job applications. Employers can expect to see a decline in the number of applications because of this. Growing numbers of candidates will make the time to define what they are looking for and then look for jobs that match up, as they know in the current market they stand a good chance of being successful.

As candidates are becoming more picky, employers really need to put their best foot forward when it comes to employer branding and candidate experience. Employers need to make their workplace desirable by promoting what makes them unique and the elements which will appeal to their target candidates.

They also need to look into “quick apply” options to make the candidate experience as easy as possible. Both of these things will help to counteract the reluctancy candidates may have around applying for a job with them.

On top of this, I expect that Employee Value Proposition’s (EVPs) to become bolder and more specific. EVPs will have to adapt in ways we’ve never seen before. It’s important to remember that not every culture is right for every candidate, and you cannot speak to everyone.

All people are different and have different motivations for work just like companies differ. Employers need to consider who their ideal candidates are and how to appeal to them, looking internally at what makes you unique. This means taking a deep dive into your company culture and truly understanding who you are as an employer but also who you want to be in 2022.

This way you can adapt strategies and tailor your messaging to talk to specific candidates and reach them on the platforms where they spend time. Saying you’re a great place to work is no longer enough and neither is waiting for applications to come to you. You need to be specific to entice the right candidates and also exclude the wrong ones.

Katie Redfern – Founder at Meaningful Recruitment and Author of ‘Working Meaningfully’

Not creating an accurate job description. – It’s important to ensure that the job description is very clear and detailed after all the purpose of a job description is to ensure the job will meet the needs of the organization and to recruit the appropriate the right person for the the position. When you clearly specify the qualifications and skills needed for a specific role, it will be less likely that employees who don’t fit the criteria apply.  This will, in turn, help the business save valuable recruitment time by limiting the number of applications that come through the door, thereby improving the quality of the applications that come in.

Relying too much on Psychometric Testing  and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS):   Psychometric tests and ATS’s are used in all aspects of HR work, although they are not a ‘magic bullet’. They are part of a menu of information sources, such as structured interviews, CVs, supervisor ratings and appraisal results which, combined in the right way, provide insights into how people work. They can improve the accuracy of processes that predict a person’s future behaviour, success in a job or learning a new skill so Psychometric testing can help employers make informed recruitment decisions but the balance needs to be right.  We’d recommend filtering out some of the most unsuitable applicants first and not rely too heavily on the test scores when making final decisions.  This is where the interview process needs to relied on as when you connect with the candidate through interviews and assessment centers future employers can make well balanced and informed recruitment decisions.

Failing to consider recruiting from within. Often businesses consider acquiring new talent from outside of the company, but there may be skilled individuals without proper training inside the existing workforce.  So we’d always recommend a business develops their employees and considers advertising internally as they may be more effective than a new hire and they understand how the internal systems work already.

Dee Coakley – CEO and Co-Founder at Boundless

Recognising the more permanent shift towards remote working, prompted by Covid, organisations will be reviewing their hiring plans for the year ahead. For many, top of the list will be adapting their hiring strategy to access a wider talent pool by recruiting for remote-only roles – with no geographic constraints. This will not only create new opportunities to drive innovation and growth but also address those hard-to-fill domestic skills shortages. By allowing work from anywhere, they will also be able to address the demand of existing talent who may wish to relocate.

We will also see more businesses hire ‘Heads of Remote Working’ to oversee these overarching remote strategies and drive collaboration across distributed teams. Similarly, many are turning to expert consultants for ongoing advice about how to get the details right when hiring across territories, rather than take on this resource-heavy, time-intensive duty internally.

After all, to access a global talent pool, businesses need to understand the legal and cultural ramifications of making overseas hires, as well as the business implications of running dispersed teams across different territories and time zones. Employment laws, tax codes and statutory benefits all differ from country to country, creating a plethora of compliance concerns which can be difficult to navigate. Therefore, in 2022, we will see more employers use an Employer of Record like Boundless to take on all local employment responsibilities and go above and beyond minimum compliance measures. It’s this water-tight approach that will enable more businesses to recruit overseas and remain compliant in 2022.