Recruiting Trends European Applicants Should Know

Recruiting Trends European Applicants

Following the virus-induced blowout of the past year, people have begun to reevaluate their lives, including their homes and relationships. Jobs are no exception. As a result, in 2021, many Europeans are on the hunt for new jobs.

For those who haven’t undergone the job search process for quite some time, recruiting can be tricky to navigate. Even for those familiar with the new technological tools and interview tactics being used, the workforce now finds itself in a completely different place.

From mastering virtual recruiting techniques to honing your sellable skills, here are some of the top European job recruiting trends of the year.

1. Applicant Tracking Systems

Gone are the days of submitting a shiny dossier detailing all of your achievements and skills.

The ever-popular applicant tracking systems (ATS) are now widely utilized by employers seeking to quickly and efficiently parse through thousands of online applications. This human resources software essentially acts as a big database of job applicants, which employers can sort by experience, skillset, and more.

ATS isn’t a new innovation, but with the rise in virtual recruitment and artificial intelligence, it’s now set to stick around for the long haul. When submitting a resume, it’s important to be mindful of the applicant tracking system that will “read” over your accomplishments. Because your first company contact may be through the software, your resume must meet certain requirements to stand out to the system.

ATS’s main goal is to deliver the top 20% of applications to the employer’s desk. But how do you ensure your resume will make the cut? It’s wise to continue using standard resume sections with corresponding headings, include keywords in context, and use resumes tailored to each position.

Best practices also include submitting in Word format rather than PDF, along with cleaning up your social media presence. When you submit a well-written resume and all of the relevant paperwork, you’ve already avoided some of the most common problems that occur when applying for a new job.

2. Virtual Recruiting & Pre-Employment Screening

The events of the past year have also led to a sharp increase in virtual recruiting, which is being widely heralded as the new normal. Virtual recruiting is safer and easier for both the hiring team and prospective employees alike. With the rise in remote work, it’s also a more practical option when screening candidates from afar.

Virtual screening encompasses not only face-to-face interviews over an online video conference platform but also asynchronous video interviews, where the applicant records their answers on their own time and the company follows up on theirs.

Pre-employment screening trends are also changing for European businesses operating internationally, in locations like Australia. Stringent anti-discrimination measures are still in place for virtual recruiting, background checks are conducted on a rolling basis, and social media screening is becoming increasingly important in the hiring process.

While several aspects of job hunting have changed, some things have stayed relatively constant. Standard job interview questions in 2021 look similar to previous years, with some of the most common queries being:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell me about a challenge you faced at work and how you overcame it.

If you do get hit with an out-of-the-box question, don’t panic. The employer is likely trying to assess your critical thinking or determine if you’d be a good personality fit with the company. Reviewing your experience and practising common interview questions beforehand can help you ace your interview.

3. Background Checks

The wrong hiring decision has the potential to cost a company thousands of dollars and hours of lost time. This is especially true within the European Union, where labour protection laws make it difficult or impossible to fire a less-than-stellar employee. For that reason, many employers decide to run background checks on prospective employees before pulling the hiring trigger. Background checks are nothing new, but they leave some job-seekers feeling anxious, not knowing what will or won’t show up on their background check.

Fortunately, you can run a background check on yourself online, so you know exactly what any potential employers will see on their end. Typical items that show up on a background check include:

  • Criminal history.
  • Credit checks.
  • Identity verification.

4. Intercultural Competency

In an increasingly global world, intercultural competency is a highly desired trait. Companies are no longer restricting themselves to one country or market, and neither should you. Many businesses today operate across national and international borders as well as time zones, and their employees need to be up to speed on how to operate in a global economy.

You can improve your intercultural competency through educating yourself on different cultures, learning a new language, and actively listening when spoken to. In a global workplace, employees need to treat each other with kindness and respect, traits frequently honed through intercultural communication in business or personal life. Even your recent family holiday to Madrid could be a plus if it allowed you to interact with locals or try out your Spanish.

5. Remote Work

Like it or not, remote work is here to stay. On popular job search sites, “work from home” is still one of the most popular key phrases searched. The majority of employees prefer to work from home at least part of the time, and many employers are continuing to offer hybrid work options post-COVID. In fact, a hybrid or remote model is essentially mandatory for those looking to attract top talent near and far.

6. Relocation

With travel restrictions, lockdowns, and other restrictive measurements in place, the past year has been slow for travel. When it comes to job relocations, however, it’s a completely different story.

Some less-frequented nations, like Estonia, have instituted new digital nomad visas to accommodate the increasingly remote worldwide workforce and tap into the pockets of those who might usually spend their money vacationing in Western Europe instead. The opportunity to live cheaply in underappreciated countries is one bonus of working remotely or as an independent contractor, and if the trends continue, it’s an offer that will continue to be capitalized on by remote workers.

Global immigration sites have also seen a rise in popularity, with one service provider growing talent relocations by more than 365%. The overall trend in the workforce seems to work in favour of remote work. The paradox is that with the ability to work remotely from a home base of choice, relocations are at an all-time high as people reevaluate all aspects of their lifestyle.

7. Diversity

Amid so much negative news in the workforce, there was one bright spot that came from the pandemic: A new record was set for the largest number of women CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. While this milestone doesn’t cancel out the personal and financial hardships endured by minorities and women throughout the pandemic, it’s a promising sign as we try and navigate our way out of a global crisis.

8. Recovering From COVID-19

In the wake of COVID-19, not all industries will recover evenly. The pandemic clearly affected various jobs and industries differently. While some sectors were able to continue work undisturbed, others suffered massive financial blows.

For businesses looking to catch up on lost COVID-19 profits, hiring trends may vary. Some estimate that hard-hit sectors, including the arts, travel, restaurants, and entertainment, may not fully recover for another five years. Other industries show optimistic signs of early recovery, meaning that in the aftermath of COVID-19, recovery will operate exactly like the pandemic itself — unevenly and unpredictably.


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