The pandemic threw traditional hiring models into disarray, with overnight work-from-home policies forcing the processes online for countless organizations across the globe. With no option but to adapt, many companies have discovered the numerous benefits of remote hiring, and are now looking to build out their strategy for the year ahead—especially as 82% of US companies are planning to hire in 2021.

That’s exactly why Talview conducted the Remote Hiring Trends for 2021 survey. The report surveyed more than 145 organizations across 20 countries and over 15 industries, and features organizations such as Amazon, Uber, Disney, and Zoom, alongside many small and medium-sized businesses. Just some of the insights brought to light in the survey include the impact of remote hiring on diverse teams, newfound technology needs, and how the remote model can drive candidate experience—when done right.

Here are Talview’s top findings and predictions for remote hiring in 2021.

Remote hiring leads to more diverse talent

By now, the benefits of remote teams are known far and wide. Companies that champion inclusivity and diversity experience a happier and more motivated workforce, higher levels of creativity, and ultimately, better business outcomes.

Remote hiring plays a key role here: It inherently supports diversity as it allows candidates from all over the world (not just the most popular tech hubs and big cities) to apply for jobs that would have otherwise been unavailable to them. Companies can therefore include people from different geographic, economic, and cultural backgrounds in their teams, adding fresh perspectives to projects.

In fact, 79% of companies in the survey believe remote hiring can help improve diversity in their organizations. One respondent said: “I love the ability to attract from anywhere in the country, which automatically increases our diversity of experience and thought.” Another noted that being truly global results in “diverse cultures at work and a lot of collaboration, dependencies, and synergies between people in all locations.”

However, many companies still have obstacles to overcome to be able to hire beyond their local region. The top challenges to expanding their hiring horizons are organizational mentality, hiring managers wanting local candidates, and compensation and legal factors. While remote hiring is gaining popularity, there’s evidently still work to be done to accomplish diversity as a result of hiring across different geographies.

To be effective, remote hiring has to boost both candidate and recruiter experience

Ultimately, there’s little point in investing in your remote hiring strategy if it doesn’t boost both recruiter and candidate experience. Companies can’t simply shift their in-person approach to the virtual world and expect it to all fall into place.

When asked about how their candidate experience strategy changed during the pandemic, many respondents confirmed that they had gone further than this, and made the necessary adaptations to their processes to keep applicants engaged.

For example, one company said: “We’re doing more on social media and really building our brand—giving a picture into our company and culture.” Establishing an online presence in this way is an essential step to take when potential employees can’t simply check out an organization’s physical office and meet the team in-person.

Another respondent said: “Our process is more streamlined and shorter now, and it’s easier to conduct panel interviews”—candidates don’t want to spend weeks or even months in the hiring funnel, nor do they want to spend hours on video interviews. Streamlining the interview stage is a great strategy to prevent potentially top talent from dropping out of the process.

Providing an excellent experience is also about meeting candidates where they are, and recognizing how things can more easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted online: “We’re more in tune with accessibility to our systems and we have more communication with candidates regarding the systems,” commented one forward-thinking respondent.

It’s no surprise then that 30% of companies said their candidate satisfaction scores improved after the remote switch, compared to 3% who said they declined.

Nailing candidate experience from day one of the recruitment process is vital, especially as 87% of talent say that a positive interview experience can change their mind about an employer that they previously doubted.

And on the recruiter side, 37.5% of respondents said they are 100% satisfied with remote work. Recruiter satisfaction with remote hiring means not only providing the necessary tools, but also promoting a mindset change across the organization—the idea that remote hiring doesn’t mean sacrificing personal touch and human judgement, and embracing it should become part of a company’s culture. A number of respondents echoed this sentiment of challenging fundamental ideas, with one saying: “Over the past few months, we’ve explored how Covid-19 has made us rethink, reimagine, and rewrite the rules of the workplace.”

A successful remote hiring strategy means building out your tech stack

When asked about differences in their 2020 hiring strategy compared to before the pandemic, companies cited several key changes. For example, one respondent said they’re now embracing “virtual interviewing and events” and have “moved to a one-time interview to hire as opposed to multiple interviews when possible.” 

One organization mentioned: “We’re investing into a multimillion global TA (talent acquisition) transformation initiative across people, process, systems and data,” while another stated they were “exploring and implementing new tools and techniques for better candidate experience and virtual onboarding process, and continuous communication.”

One key theme here is the adoption of new technologies and the identification of current gaps when it comes to remote hiring tech. When the pandemic hit, many companies simply put together a makeshift strategy which leveraged Zoom calls, email chains, and their existing applicant tracking systems.

However, with so many organizations now sticking to remote hiring and remote work for the long run (46% of big companies said they’re more open to hiring remote workers, according to Monster’s 2021 Global Outlook Report)—they’re now exploring technology options that can help them provide a seamless experience, while efficiently managing all of their recruiting efforts from one centralized location.

According to the survey, the biggest technology demand for companies in 2021 is an end-to-end technology platform that takes care of the whole process—from resume screening to skills assessments and candidate interviews—all in one place. Organizations are also expecting to see innovations in recruiting chatbots, screening assessments, and video interview and ATS integrations. 77% of respondents plan to expand their use of video interviews in the future, and 52% said they will be leveraging more online technical skills assessments in the coming year.

Remote hiring is here to stay—that’s a fact. But making a success of it is not a case of simply shifting existing processes and strategy online. Companies must embrace the remote mindset from the top-down, consider candidate and recruiter experience at every stage of the funnel, and be ready to invest in the right tools to ensure a seamless transition. Only then will they be able to champion remote hiring in 2021 and beyond.