Each year, the recruiting industry forecasts “predictions” of what will happen in the following year. While it might seem like an interesting time to make predictions given how off the rails 2020 was, it’s still important for candidates to understand what to expect. Because of that, here are three recruiting trends we expect to see for 2021 and what they could mean for job seekers.

Normalization of remote work

Large companies—especially in the tech industry—have already made sweeping announcements about working from home permanently. However, there is a very important aspect of remote working that most people don’t understand: tax implications.

Learn about tax requirements

In the US, an employer must have a business entity in every location where they do business. That means a business license and paying all state/county/city taxes for their employees. This includes worker’s compensation, unemployment, and state income tax. All of this requires resources (time, money, man-hours) to set up, and it can become expensive.

Unless your employer is already set up in other states, moving to Small Town USA across the country and keeping your job might not be practical for the business. However, moving to that small town that is a five-hour drive away from the headquarters but still in state—that’s probably much more realistic.

Job seekers—or remote-work lovers—should also be aware that if your company does adopt a remote first work model, there is a better than average chance that your salary will be normalized for where you live. So if you currently make $78K in a major city and decide to move to the town where you grew up, you may take a significant pay cut based on the cost of living and salary trends in your hometown. 

Our recommendation is to use Payscale.com to run a salary report for the area: 

  1. Click “Get Started”
  2. Set up an account
  3. Create a profile
  4. Receive a salary report

recruiting trends

Image courtesy of payscale.com

Having this knowledge will help you significantly when searching for a remote job or deciding if you want to take your current job to a new location as a remote worker.

Set yourself up for remote work

Keep in mind that your employer may feel that a collaborative culture is better fostered in a physical atmosphere. But many companies have traditionally used remote work as a perk or a retention tool. Continue to look for remote work in your job search if that is super important to you.

But also keep in mind remote work requires a different set of skills. When writing your resume, you want to highlight that you have what it takes to successfully work on your own in another location. That means familiarizing yourself with tools such as Zoom, Trello, and Asana. Also, get familiar with video meetings and consider participating on video panels as an industry SME.

Additional steps in the interview/assessment process

There is a huge loss in the interview process without true face-to-face interaction. Because of this, you will probably see more online assessment tools such as personality tests and take-home exercises. A few popular candidate assessment programs and tools include the following:

Find more of these tools at AIHR Digital’s Top 40+ Pre-Employment Assessment Tools.

The single most important factors for most employers when considering the use of these tools is going to be price and ROI. Try taking some of the free online versions to get comfortable with them so you aren’t stressed out when they come your way in interview scenarios.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, these assessments are here to stay. 

Huge uptick in freelance and contractor usage

Working at a small boutique agency for a year, I noticed after the summer there was a significant increase in the call for contractors. Contractors work for employment agencies as employees. But if you choose freelance (1099) work, you are running your own business. That means you will need a business license and tax ID, to file quarterly as well as annual taxes, and a basic website (Wix or WordPress are simple to set up).

Also, you will be doing all your own business development and marketing. There’s a good chance you will actually be “doing” your job much less, as you will be responsible for every part of your business. You will need to provide your own health insurance and equipment. It’s also important to make sure your rates reflect the cost of being in business. These rates must be high enough to cover your costs and include your “take home” pay.

Learn your rights as a contractor

Lastly, in 2019 there were several laws in different states that were under consideration to regulate the “gig economy” that could affect all 1099 contractors. Make sure you are aware of the implications in your state. The two biggest law changes were in California and New Jersey

In California, a new law reclassified some independent contractors as employees. As a result, this law requires employers to offer benefits and worker protections. New Jersey’s slew of employment laws targeted previous issues with independent contractor misclassification and mass layoffs. 

Some members of Congress are also considering proposing national laws to reflect these trends. Be proactive so you can ensure you are treated fairly as a job seeker and employee. Check national and state employment laws. Also, research unemployment requirements for independent contractors.

If you are job searching in 2021, Jobscan can help! Our Resume Builder enables you to use an ATS-friendly templates to help you create an actionable, clean, and impactful resume.

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Kristen Fife

Kristen is a Senior Recruiter in the Seattle area, as well as a writer and guest speaker.

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