Pausing hiring efforts may be necessary for a variety of reasons but talent professionals can still drive business impact. Whether due to missed projections, shifts in funding or shareholder priorities, or even a global pandemic, a hiring freeze sometimes means cuts to recruiting and TA teams.
This doesn’t have to be the case. This hiring freeze may be a golden opportunity for TA and recruiting teams to pivot to other projects, assist other internal teams, or focus on new initiatives.
Related: How to Improve Job Security During an Economic Downturn: Career Advice for Recruiters
There are ways to use this time to start strategic projects that positively impact business with your insight and skill set, even when you are not hiring. Here are the top 8 things you can do to drive business impact and set yourself up for success after a hiring freeze is lifted.
1. Keep your existing pipeline warm
If a hiring freeze was unexpected, you might have candidates in your interviewing pipeline you need to notify. Sharing your hiring status (and the status of their application and candidacy) will require a balance of transparency and empathy. Let candidates in your pipeline know a hiring freeze is taking place. Offer a tentative timeline of when your team foresees hiring to pick up again. Assure them that you or your team will follow up with updates. Those are the best ways to retain your candidate pipeline while keeping the conversation and their interest warm.
2. Engage internal employees
During a hiring freeze, recruiters can work closely with the People Team to engage internal employees. Turnover is an aspect of people management that HR teams work to estimate, prevent, or lower. HR partners with talent acquisition teams to incorporate turnover into recruiting goals. Despite a hiring pause, turnover typically continues as expected or might even increase depending on the state of the business and company morale.
By partnering with the larger People Ops Team, recruiting can support at-risk employees the team identifies and engage different populations to help retain and re-spark their passion for the company. In addition, working closely with company executives to be transparent about business strategy moving forward is especially crucial during this time as a means of supporting your team.
3. Get involved with other business initiatives
Lend your time and expertise to more teams and get creative with how to advocate for the company in new ways. Need some inspo?
Hired’s Senior Internal Recruiter, Jules Grondin, pivoted to immerse herself in launching new initiatives. To support fellow recruiters and individuals in Talent Acquisition, Jules helped establish Hired’s Tech Recruitment Collective. Recognizing that Talent Acquisition is at the heart of building great teams, the collective connects these professionals with Hired’s extensive network of companies actively hiring TA talent.
Another recent initiative is Hired’s Candidate Credit Program. To address a candidate supply and demand imbalance, Hired offered companies the opportunity to refer candidates in their ATS to Hired in exchange for credits to use on future Hired services and solutions.
Brainstorm new ways to involve yourself in other aspects of the business. Reach out to other teams or colleagues to collaborate!
4. Focus on employer branding
A hiring freeze might create a negative perception of how the business is doing. To remain proactive, consider refreshing your employer brand strategy as a lever toward getting ahead of any negative misconceptions and attracting top talent when you open roles and resume interviewing. A company’s brand can be aspirational. Positioning your employer brand through thought leadership, company initiatives, and values helps build a relatable narrative that your company should be known for.
Despite a hiring freeze, don’t hit the brakes on sharing your company’s forward momentum. For distributed teams, a great example would be to amplify ways your team creatively adapted to remote work, approached collaboration, and remained diligent about fostering company culture to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Also, consider encouraging happy and engaged employees on your team to become promoters of the business. This supports a spirit of pride, ownership, and advocacy for the great work your company is doing! Aligning your employees with company and employer branding can turn your team into brand ambassadors to their network. This offers interested candidates a view of your company that goes beyond corporate branding and marketing but a more personal look into the employee experience from a peer.
5. Optimize recruiting process
Taking a step back from the ins and outs of your recruiting process will help you see areas to revise and make more efficient. Recruiting teams can take the time to evaluate many areas of their process from application to offer acceptance. This goes not just for efficiency but to assure the process promotes an excellent candidate experience. For instance, going through the application for an open role from a candidate’s perspective could flag hurdles in the process that candidates would experience. This includes complications with your ATS, resume upload issues, or LinkedIn profile integration errors.
Beyond this, there are various areas of the recruiting process that teams can evaluate, including:
Streamlining processes in your ATS to increase data cleanliness
Evaluating your application to improve completion rates
Updating the careers page and job descriptions to align with talent branding
Evaluating the recruiting funnel for biases and exclusive language
Diving into recruiting metrics, including outreach to lead conversion rates, rejection reasons, time to offer, time to hire, etc.
Evaluating recruiting or sourcing tools
Related: How to Secure Approval for New Tech Tools (Free Template)
6. Invest in training hiring team members
Having downtime from sourcing and interviewing offers the opportunity to evaluate your process and train your interviewers. For recruiting and talent acquisition team members, training or taking certification courses can advance the team’s recruiting strategy and overall professional development. In addition, training hiring managers (and other team members who participate in interviews) around efficiencies your team has made in your recruiting process aligns everyone to best represent the company when conducting interviews.
7. Ensure your recruiting process is inclusive
Now more than ever, companies are being examined for their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion beyond public statements and surface-level efforts. The public and their workforce evaluate them based on their executive leadership team and how they conduct business day-to-day. As it relates to hiring, take the time to ensure your recruiting process is inclusive to all candidates who may apply and interview in the future. Consider everything from the verbiage in job descriptions to the logistics of how to best conduct an interview.
This is also a great opportunity for teams to undergo unconscious bias training. This ensures recruiters and interviewers accurately represent company values during interviews and champion an inclusive hiring process.
Related: Diversity features on Hired
Unconscious biases may present themselves at any point, even with something as simple as seeing the full name of a candidate on their resume. For example, a person’s name can implicate their sex, ethnicity, and fluency and literacy in English. This can lead to a member of the interviewing team building stereotypes around the candidate without having met or spoken with them. Evaluate your recruitment and interview processes from beginning to end with potential biases in mind. It can help eliminate additional and unnecessary barriers to entry for qualified talent.
8. Develop a recruiting plan
As your team anticipates when a hiring freeze could lift, having a recruiting plan will ensure the team is ready to begin sourcing and interviewing again. Connect with your hiring managers to identify and prioritize roles that are an immediate need post-freeze. As the time gets closer, preliminary sourcing and pipelining quality candidates is a proactive way to get a preview into the active candidate market for these high-priority positions.
In addition, you can begin to review organic applicants and put your feelers out to your existing pipeline to reignite that interest. Lastly, consider working closely with leadership. Establish a tentative timeline so the team can effectively plan their work and OKRs for the coming months.
Regardless of the hiring pace, skilled talent professionals drive impact throughout the organization
Hiring freezes illicit thoughts of uncertainty for many people within a company and for those who are applying. Despite that, a freeze in hiring doesn’t mean that business strategy and talent teams are on a freeze too. Recruiting and talent acquisition teams offer value to the business beyond sourcing and interviewing. When times call for their main priorities to pause, it offers an opportunity to grow together and invest in team members. Talent professionals are incredible partners to drive impact while building a strong company. More