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How 2020 transformed technical recruiting

Just over a year ago we gathered insights from Talent Acquisition professionals across the globe on their predictions for technical recruiting trends in 2020. Experts predicted:

  • A rise in skill-based assessment
  • A move away from rigid experience requirements
  • A greater emphasis on diversity in hiring

In so many ways, however, 2020 was not the year that any of us could have predicted. The coronavirus pandemic upended everyday life for people across the globe. So how did experts’ predictions for technical recruiting in 2020 hold up?

2020 in Hindsight

For this article, we asked a new panel of experts to weigh in on the most significant developments they observed in the recruiting world in 2020. Here’s what they had to say:

Larry Jacobson, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at SimpliSafe

“The shock of the global pandemic made many people take a step back and reevaluate how they were spending their days. As a result, culture became a top priority, if not the top priority for job candidates in 2020. 

“Today, candidates are hungry for meaningful work and are seeking out mission-based organizations that align with their personal values. As an HR professional, it’s my job to clearly explain our company’s values and how we’re maintaining our strong culture in a virtual environment so that these candidates’ needs are addressed.”

James Barnes, Founder & CEO at StatusCake

“From an employer perspective, in 2020 we evolved our technical recruitment in several ways:

“First, remote working is obviously the norm at the moment, but it will also be so going forward. It has changed the way in which we will work forever. This has allowed us to think about candidates not just in London, but in any part of the UK. That’s been really quite exciting.

“Second, although we’ve always looked to create an environment that values culture and that looks out for the team and their well being, now this is at the forefront of our minds when recruiting. Making sure that we’re getting people with the right fit, but also ensuring that we’re making it clear up front what we can offer them to support them and providing reassurance about how we’re going to be able to on-board them. 

“Third, we’re very lucky we have a trusted recruiter who shares our values, and in 2020 we made it an absolute priority that all potential candidates were to be treated with respect and understanding. We made sure that everyone who applied was responded to quickly and given feedback, and where we knew we couldn’t make a quick decision we made it clear to the candidate so that they didn’t lose out on other opportunities.”

Tigran Sloyan, Founder & CEO at CodeSignal

“In 2020, we saw the acceleration of several trends in technical recruiting that were already underway. 

“First, the recruiting industry began to see a massive perspective shift in which we are starting to look not only at minimizing costs as a recruiting metric, but also at optimizing for value. After all, nothing is more important and value-adding than who we hire, who we retain, and what kinds of company cultures we build. While it can be hard to quantify how recruiters’ tools and processes contribute to these important areas, learning to think about them from a value perspective is going to be transformational in the next few years.

“Second, we saw a rapid shift toward the use of automation tools to scale technical recruiting and reduce bias. Now that hiring has gone remote in many industries, companies are realizing that many of the skills and capabilities we interview for (such as coding skills) can be done without ever speaking with the candidate face to face, or even over a video call, which removes many biases and gives valuable time back to recruiters and hiring managers.”


So how did the predictions that experts made at the start of 2020 play out? We certainly saw a rise in skill-based assessment and a greater emphasis on diversity in hiring. In spite of the pandemic, technical recruiting trends that were already underway didn’t just persist — they accelerated in 2020. 

We also saw new trends we didn’t anticipate last January. The rapid shift to remote work across many industries was accompanied by a rise of remote interviewing, a practice many believe is now here to stay. We also saw a greater emphasis on company culture, with employers looking beyond diversity statistics in their recruiting and thinking more broadly about equity and inclusion in their organizations.

What insights have you gained from looking back at 2020? What changes in technical hiring are here to stay — and which aren’t? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Give us a shout-out on LinkedIn and use the hashtag #GoBeyondResumes.