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tech hiring

Outlook for tech hiring in 2021 in a post-pandemic world

7952 5304 Mita Mandawker

COVID-19 impacted the job market in 2020, however one section of this market that did continued to do well was – tech hiring. The positive sentiment and demand for tech jobs continues in 2021, with vaccine drives in sight, a ready shift towards remote work, and general positivity among employers.

Software and technology jobs make up for the highest number of total remote jobs posted online with 29.2% of the total remote jobs posted from the IT industry.

Here’s our take on tech hiring in the post-pandemic world.

Tech hiring will stay remote

The computer/information technology industry ranks 2nd in embracing the remote work culture. Companies have become more open to working from home and are fine with hiring more employees who will work remotely. They are also keen on reaching out to candidates beyond their immediate location in a bid to find top talent, who will be based remotely. A lot of top tech companies like Facebook, Twitter have already announced that they will be staying remote for a foreseeable part of 2021 and in near future will be making some part of their workforce entirely remote.

All this roughly translates as remote hiring is here to stay and will be a big part of recruitment in general.

Some tech roles will remain in high demand

As the world moved to remote work en masse, demand for certain tech jobs increased. Companies had to hire network engineers and system engineers in 2020 to build, maintain and secure the remote working networks for their teams.

These roles are set to grow and evolve in the next few years as remote work becomes more common-place. With the rise in remote tech jobs, and companies moving to a hybrid work model, we will see a rise in location-agnostic salaries. (employees in the same role make the same amount regardless of where they live)

Companies will rethink their recruiting technology

Studies show that around 47% of recruiters have started using virtual assessment tools after the pandemic, showing a distinct shift in using and adopting technology for candidate assessment. We will see a definite spike in skill-based assessments, over pedigree.

With all candidate interactions going remote, recruiters will be on the lookout for technology that helps them assess candidates whilst eliminating biases in their hiring processes.

Diversity will take center stage

Gender diversity in tech has been a long-standing issue. While it’s changing slowly, the picture is still far from ideal. Tech recruiting is set to beat biases towards women in tech hiring this year (e.g. higher proportion of women in software testing jobs vis-à-vis coding jobs, as they are often assigned low complexity projects).

A recent study said that 16.75% called out unconscious bias as a key issue during sourcing, which shows that they are aware of the problem and are actively working towards tackling it. Recruiters will turn towards technology to help eliminate these unconscious biases and become gender-neutral in their hiring outlook. Companies will start dabbling in the use of AI (Artificial intelligence) in boosting diverse hires, as machines can be programmed to focus solely on skills and experience and be inherently unbiased.

Soft skills will become important

The past year has emphasized the need for soft skills given that we worked in remote, distributed teams, thanks to the pandemic. Soft skills have proven to be important when it comes to building teams, motivating employees and co-workers especially when we can’t be together in the same room.

Companies are looking for communicators who can get the message across clearly while conveying thoughts to clients, and internal teams.

Recruiters will be keen on evaluating tech candidates for soft skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication, in particular. They will be using behavioral interview questions to probe and evaluate these soft skills.

We hope this gives you some insights into how tech hiring will look like this year.


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choose to challenge

Choose to challenge – Workplace problems that women face and how to tackle them

4256 2832 Mita Mandawker

2020 ushered conversation around diversity and inclusion, following the Black Lives Matter movement. Diversity, inclusion, representation of women and minorities in the workplace, and their rights have never been more critical.

Research says that companies with a higher number of women in their workforce have gained high financial profits and productivity compared to the companies with fewer women employees.

Despite such benefits of having more women on the team, women still face many workplace problems and struggle with the proverbial glass ceiling in corporates.

Here are some challenges women face at the workplace and how companies can choose to challenge these roadblocks and help make their workplaces more inclusive and gender-neutral.

1. Gender pay gap

Simply put, the gender wage gap is a measure of what women are paid relative to men. Research shows that women are paid 34% less than men for performing the same job with the same qualifications. Women are hired into entry-level positions at lower pay rates, and the pay gap gets bigger the higher up women go.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020 says men and women will have pay equality in 257 years. Of the 153 countries studied for the report, India ranks 112th on the overall Global Gender Gap Index.

What can you do?

As an employer, you should conduct a pay audit to determine if a pay gap exists. Explore different ways of mitigating the pay gap, for example, to prevent a pay gap from developing, prohibit negotiations over pay, stop asking for salary history, instead make the compensation as per the market value for the skills and the experience of the person in question.

2. Representation of women

Female employees continue to be under-represented at every level, especially at senior levels and leadership teams. Women’s ability to lead is often undermined by gender stereotypes, of which leaders need to be more mindful.

Nearly 60% of working women in India face discrimination at work, and over one-third of women believe they are not considered for top management roles. In a telling statistic, only 37 of the Fortune 500 companies are headed by a woman currently. Though this number has been increasing slowly and steadily since 2018, it is also proof that companies have work cut for them to ensure gender diversity in the C-suite.

A study by McKinsey revealed that only 1 in 5 c-suite leaders are women, and only 1 in 25 C-suite leaders is a woman of colour.

What can you do?

Be intentional about appointing highly qualified women to your executive team, corporate board, C-suite, and/or CEO position and choose to challenge the representation issues. As an employer, proactively source for a gender-diverse pipeline at all levels across your organization. Many sourcing platforms provide options to source women; use these platforms to give your diversity efforts a boost, starting with your hiring.

3. Maternity/pregnancy discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination is when an employer discriminates on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. Pregnancy discrimination may include denial of time off or reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, firing or demoting a pregnant employee, forced time off or restrictions on work, and any other negative employment action taken because of an employee’s pregnancy or related medical condition.

Over 50,000 women lose their jobs over maternity discrimination. Around 54,000 mothers a year are either dismissed, made redundant where others in their workplace were not, or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave.

While hiring women, many companies ask them openly about their marriage and further family planning as they cannot afford the maternity leaves and other flexibility perks.

What can you do?

To ensure that new mothers are not dropping off the workforce entirely during and after pregnancy, many companies have now included flexibility policies for women who resume their career post-maternity breaks. They provide flexible schedules to accommodate prenatal appointments and/or a medical condition related to the pregnancy.

Employers should choose to challenge maternity discrimination by keeping the dialogue open with an employee about the kind of support she might need during her pregnancy. Companies should train managers to be more supportive and less biased towards expectant/new mothers.

4. Microaggressions
Microaggressions are the everyday, subtle, and often unintentional interactions or behaviors that communicate bias. They signal disrespect and reflect inequality.

They negatively impact a person’s ability to do their job, sense of safety, and overall happiness. Unfortunately, 64% of women experience microaggressions at work, with women having to prove their competence and provide evidence more than their male counterparts.

Microaggressions may seem small when dealt with one by one, but they significantly impact when they add up. Women who experience microaggressions view their workplaces as less fair and are three times more likely to regularly think about leaving their job than women who don’t.

What can you do?

For companies truly invested in diversity, it is essential to build an environment of tolerance and respect. And microaggressions can play a significant role in hampering that kind of environment, apart from affecting employee’s productivity.

Train your staff to identify and not indulge in inadvertent microaggression in their behavior with colleagues. Train them how to respond to these kinds of behavior, keep an open-door policy so that people can come and share their experiences, and know that they are heard. It is important that companies choose to challenge these problems so their workplaces are more inclusive, gender-neutral, and inclusive.


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hiring remote

The How-tos of Remote Hiring

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2020 really opened up new avenues of working, living and hiring (esp. hiring remotely) for all of us.

The year has been a revelation for talent professionals in particular, as they had to suddenly transition from in-person hiring and onboarding processes to being suddenly remote. We have come to realize that a lot of processes that we came to adopt over the last year, work better and are far more cost-effective, remote hiring in particular.

A month into 2021, with vaccination drives picking up worldwide, it seems we will continue working and hiring remotely for a foreseeable future. So how do you do remote hiring effectively, to stay in the race for quality talent, when your candidates can’t experience your workplace and culture in person?

As a global talent technology company, we work with clients across the globe and help them build teams. These are a few things, we recommend to our client partners –

Be ready with your remote hiring plan

Most companies have hiring standard operating procedures (SOPs) with them. With remote hiring, however, you may have to tweak your existing SOPs to better fit the new processes. A few tips that can help you with this include:

  • Make sure you have your list of job boards you will be posting your job openings on. You will need this even for your in-person hiring but if you are hiring for a completely remote position, there are different job boards for that, so be sure to include them in your hiring plan.
  • Ensure the job description is clear and concise, stating all the requirements and expectations for the role. Be especially clear if the position you are hiring for is remote in some capacity or fully, if the person will be expected to work out of the office with the team or if it’s a hybrid arrangement. Make it a point to include all these details in the job descriptions along with the actual requirements of the role.  This will influence your candidate pool, if the position is fully remote, you can look at talent from other countries and need not be restricted by local talent.
  • Decide who in your team is going to own what part of the hiring process, the technology that will be used and test out the tech in advance and keep experimenting to find better options.

Be creative – rethink full-time positions, substitute with project-based remote hiring

As recovery looms and businesses start picking up activity and growing their operations again, manpower has become very important.

As a company, it is time to get creative and rethink the way you hire. Agility has proven to be the key to surviving business troubles over the past year. Agile teams tend to be built around project or business requirements and dismantled as soon as the objective is met. It would be useful to first plan out what key projects you would be working on in the short and long term and what kind of staff and skill set you would need for these projects. Then one should consider hiring staff on a project basis, this way the company can stay lean, keep their costs low, and if you are open to hiring in a remote capacity, you have access to global talent.

Create a thoughtful remote interviewing plan
While you are working on drafting a remote hiring and interviewing plan to ensure that it best allows you to evaluate the candidate, their potential and the culture fitment, it is important to keep in mind that the process is well-put and conducive even for candidates.

For instance, with multiple rounds of interviews being done remotely, it is important to document the questions asked to candidates and digital notes of the interview (questions asked, impressions on candidates, their responses, etc.) are shared with every interviewer who will be speaking with the candidate. This way, the candidate won’t have to answer repetitive questions, the interviewers can utilize that time to delve into other aspects of candidates’ profile and work experience. So this is a win-win situation for both – hiring managers and candidates, where the seamless candidate is also ensured. This level of thoughtfulness will definitely leave a good impression on the candidate about your organization.

Prioritize your candidate experience
Candidate experience has always been important, but more so now with the increase in remote hiring and interviewing, where the candidates cannot experience your workplace and culture in person. Small details matter – being sensitive to the candidates’ responsibilities (it is possible that video might malfunction, kids might barge in during interviews); maintaining good video etiquette (eye contact, test out your tech in advance).

During video interviews, ensure that you are focused on the candidate while speaking and don’t look spaced out. Make sure you have allotted time to answer any questions that candidates may have, and be sure to follow-up after the video interview on emails.

Fast turnaround time
A lot of people lost their jobs during the pandemic and they are looking to start working soon. As companies pick up their hiring processes again (to an almost pre-pandemic speed), it is vital to make your hiring processes more efficient. Streamline your processes to make sure you are not keeping candidates waiting for long, embrace digital screening to tackle high candidate volumes (we helped a leading video-on-demand service in India cut down their screening time by 75%, more here).

Keep the candidates engaged during the process with updates on their application, share materials about your company to help them understand your company and culture better.

Over the course of 2020, we have learnt that we can embrace new ways of working and hiring and they can be really beneficial for us. As we start getting back to business as usual in the new normal, remote hiring and remote working will be key to business success.


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project manager

Shortlister spotlight: Meet Sarah Ndegwa, Project Manager – Executive Search

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At Shortlist, we love building and growing our team as much as we love building yours. In this edition of our Shortlister Spotlight series, (a Q&A series to get to know more of our team members), meet Sarah Ndegwa, Project Manager in our global executive search team.

1. Tell us about what you do at Shortlist

I’m a Project Manager within the Executive Search practice at Shortlist, leading a team of great Research Associates to execute on C-level searches globally.

2. How has your transition from Recruitment Associate to Project Manager been like for you? What has been different across the different roles you have held?

When I joined Shortlist, I was quite green when it came to recruitment. I joined as a Recruitment Account Associate where I focussed on entry and mid-senior roles which were key to understanding recruitment. Over time I built my skills around niche roles which sharpened my muscle around targeted recruitment which has been really instrumental when I transitioned into a Senior Recruiter role and now a Project Manager role within the Executive Search function.

3. What is your professional background, and what were you looking for in your next career step when you found Shortlist?

I have a background in Psychology and Public Health however I started out my career within Marketing. I was keen on leveraging my Project Management skills hence an Operations role was a perfect fit at the time. With Shortlist I was offered a great opportunity to step into a fast-paced Project Management role.

4. What’s your professional superpower

I have a knack for hard to fill niche type roles. My University research background helped me hone my ability to dig up the best candidates.

5. What keeps you motivated and focused on most days both professionally and personally?

Professionally – I love the thrill of a successful hire and sharing great news with a candidate. I love a good challenge and as a project manager, working on difficult roles keeps me on my toes, because I want to prove myself to MYSELF.

Personally – I have a great support system around me and I appreciate having them check on me regularly. I’m motivated to continuously inspire them.

6. What’s your favourite Shortlist value and why?

Own it – It’s more than just doing your work. It’s seeing something that needs to be done and getting up to do it. Being prepared to step up to the opportunities that present themselves to take on more. And most importantly, drive for excellence at all times – don’t share work for the sake of it, take some time to make sure you are proud of the end product.

7. What are three words you would use to describe Team Shortlist?

Dynamic, Driven, Happy

8. Why is the Shortlist mission important to you and what makes Shortlist different from other organizations?

We want to make finding your next adventure less stressful. The process is simple and transparent and there’s a human touch to it. We also want to be an advisory partner to our clients by helping them move away from traditional methods of recruitment and embracing modern and more efficient systems.

9. Outside your role as a project manager, what do you like to do outside of work?

Surprise surprise…… I love cooking. I’m currently loving experimenting with new recipes and recently started a vegan diet. My guilty pleasure, however,  is binging on crime TV shows – Investigative and procedural shows are a fave!

10. If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Rice and Beans

11. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Super traditional….I wanted to be a doctor – A paediatrician to be specific.

12. If you were to swap places with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

Megan Markle – She’s a great blend of being someone who’s had great opportunities, but at the same time has managed to remain so grounded.

13. Best career lesson you’ve received/ learnt so far?

Don’t find a job, find a boss. The reason why: A boss is one of the biggest influences on your career trajectory. You can have a great job but without a great boss, that‘s all it will be – a good job, but with a great boss, you can tap into your greatest potential and achieve so much more in an ordinary job.

14. Final words?

When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control how you respond to what’s happening, that’s where your power is.


Stay tuned for our next Shortlister spotlight feature to read more about the amazing team at Shortlist. Join the Shortlist community to stay up to date with opportunities available, within Shortlist as well as our partner organizations. 


Have you had the opportunity to take on a role outside your field of study? Please share some of your key learnings with us in the comment section.

If you’re in the process of building your team, talk to us about your requirements for a tailored recruitment solution to suit your business needs.


talent in 2021

The Future of Talent Acquisition is Here: Top Trends for 2021

5760 3840 Mita Mandawker

COVID-19 marked a radical change in the way we lived, worked and hired talent for companies. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation, ushering in what some are calling a ‘Fourth Industrial revolution.’

Globally, businesses hustled to quickly make their operations, people and process virtual and digital-friendly. After the initial slowdown, companies have now embraced the ‘new normal’ and on their way to scaling businesses again. However, they need the right workforce and talent to do that. As more roles become remote-friendly and following the shakeup we saw in 2020, the talent market has never been more competitive.

As the demand for talent picks up, it is essential to understand what trends will shape talent acquisition in 2021 so you can be ready to bring the best talent onto your team. We anticipate that trends like the digitization of hiring, a continuation of remote-friendly work environments, and a deepening commitment to diversity and inclusion will shape talent acquisition in 2021, fueled by the developments over the past year. Are you ready?

AI will pave the way for data-driven talent decisions

Hiring the right people in a timely and cost-effective manner is a challenge for every business. Companies will focus on a data-driven approach to hiring talent this year leveraging AI (artificial intelligence). AI is proven to be better at seeing patterns than people. This will be a game-changer as it will help companies make smarter hiring decisions and eliminate unconscious bias, which permeates the hiring processes.

Companies will start integrating AI-powered chatbots for the initial phases of applicant screening to better identify the top candidates before taking them to the next stages in the hiring cycle (scheduling multiple rounds of interviews, etc.).

The use of AI will also permeate the other phases of employee lifecycle like automation of employee verification, onboarding, etc. Since most companies do not have this technology built into their HR platforms already, it will be important to identify and work with a capable, trusted technology partner.

Diversity and inclusion will go beyond mere points on the checklist

2020 was a pivotal year for diversity, especially with conversations around the Black Lives Matter movement. A lot of organizations defined and put down policies on diversity and inclusion for the first time. They set diversity targets, to reflect their stance on diversity and inclusion, especially in their talent decisions.

For many companies, 2021 will be a year for accountability. Companies will move beyond checking off items on their diversity and inclusion checklist, to actually showing the outcomes of their efforts. Inclusion will become more than a word: for companies to retain amazing, diverse talent, it will be essential for those employees to feel heard and included at their workplace. It’s important to remember that when it comes to building diverse and inclusive teams, there’s no “perfect” playbook.

We expect to see many companies move beyond basic lip service to actually deepening their commitments to their diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Agile, cross-functional teams will rise, built and dismantled on a project basis

COVID-19 forced companies to evaluate and change the way we work – from siloed department based working to more agile, cross-functional, project-based teams. Companies will continue to re-work on their organizational structure to foster agility and collaboration. Agility and collaboration have proven crucial for ensuring business continuity and success, a lesson hard learnt from the pandemic.

A lot of companies have already started moving from permanent hires to staffing their teams with part-time resources, who work on predetermined projects for a set time-frame before moving on. We will continue to see a spike in the number of freelancers in the coming year.

This approach to leveraging talent will also change the way companies assess and hire talent. Candidates with potential and transferable skills, like adaptability and problem-solving will be prioritized over their pedigree and technical capacity to do specific tasks.

Remote hiring is here to stay

Over the last year, recruiters and HR managers learnt that it is possible to do end-to-end hiring and onboarding remotely. Especially with the cost and time savings possible when hiring goes virtual, remote hiring will pick up this year.

We expect the hiring process will be a combination of in-person and remote processes, depending on the positions being hired for. For instance, for entry-level positions, the complete hiring process may be remote, with the new hires making their first physical contact with the company on their day of joining (maybe not, in case of remote workers). For the senior, executive-level hires, the hiring process may constitute a mix of remote and in-person processes.

But, for companies to leverage remote hiring, they need to define, refine and keep improving their virtual hiring processes, finding the right technology that works for them and making sure there is enough human contact present in the remote hiring procedures.

Digital candidate experience will be prioritised

“Online video interviewing, digital assessment, and digital candidate experience strategies were ‘nice to have’ before the crisis. Now they’re business-critical.” Josh Bersin, world-renowned thought leader in HR, Leadership and HR technology space, could not have explained the importance of candidate experience better.
Candidate experience was always important, especially with a distinct shift towards remote working and hiring. It will become important for companies to provide an exceptional experience given that candidates will not be experiencing their offices and culture in person.

Every HR and hiring activity from attracting talent, to showcasing employer brand, to sourcing talent, to interviewing, will need to be built to provide a great digital experience for candidates in order to attract top talent.

The top employers will have a candidate communication plan, which will make all relevant information available to candidates about the company. Employers have to show — not tell — what their company is all about. Every small step matters – from sending email/text reminders to candidates a day before the interview to sharing employee pictures, videos and office pictures, so candidates can virtually experience or visit the workplace. This will help candidates get a taste of company culture and team without physically visiting offices.


At Shortlist, we are hopeful that 2021 will usher in growth and prosperity for you and your organizations. We hope these trends will give you some insight into what to expect this year and help you tailor your hiring strategy and processes. We are always here to help you as you think through your hiring, onboarding, and technology needs for 2021. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your plans with you and can offer advice on how to leverage these trends for a great year ahead!


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