There are many reasons why your business might have a recruitment freeze: an economic downturn, seasonal peaks and troughs, falling profits, or a temporary stall in growth. Whatever the cause, there are creative ways recruiters can utilise the downtime.
Communicate positively: Use the toolkit of the marketing profession to put a positive spin on the ‘recruitment freeze’ pitch. Be honest and invite feedback and open dialogue. If there are clear reasons then address them. The business may want to secure its long-term financial success by halting recruitment in the short-term or invest in developing internal talent. This not only empowers employees but instils loyalty and hope for the future. Professionals like timelines and if there is a ring-fenced endpoint then say so.
Focus on employer brand: Be ready for the next recruitment drive by using the time to boost your employer brand. This can be achieved by surveying current attitudes towards the business with staff. Ask what is going well and what can be improved. Evaluate whether rewards and benefits are aligned with what employees want. Query whether the culture is embedded in ways that employees recognise and ask if successes are celebrated appropriately. How is wellbeing cared for and what can be done to improve things? Utilise social media platforms to tell stories about what it’s like to work in the business and what values the company holds including any charitable endeavours or sustainability initiatives.
Update your recruitment software: Now is the perfect time to assess your current hiring tools and evaluate if they are still fit for purpose. Is your recruitment software delivering and can methods be further streamlined? Is your onboarding process free from bias and are senior leaders trained in conducting effective applicant interviews? Is the company leveraging its ability to reach out to a wider talent pool via social media jobs boards and professional networking sites like LinkedIn? Is candidate feedback consistent, timely and appropriate? Look at time and cost to hire and applicant acceptance rates – how can things be improved? Reviewing current systems is a great way of being prepared when hiring restarts and for ensuring that methods are robust and free of bias.
Plan for future hiring requirements: Start conversations with senior leaders to discover what skills they may need in the future and what roles will be in demand. Predictions help to inform numbers and needs. In roles that are very senior or highly skilled it’s a good idea to start the process early and start talking to potential candidates about what may be on offer in the future. Working with head-hunters the business can pinpoint candidates it may want to approach when the time is right. Identify current and future talent gaps and write job descriptions based upon them, together with a plan of where to advertise and how to source the right candidates.
Up-skill and re-deploy: Recruiters can also use the time to upskill and focus upon their continued professional development. This might mean in-house training, attending keynote conferences or taking part in a mentoring scheme. Redeployment may also be an option for recruiters during a hiring freeze and can be a great opportunity to enhance and learn new skills in a different department.
A hiring freeze need not mean a period of being unproductive. Canny recruiters can use the time to review and evaluate current systems, plan for future demands, boost the employer brand and upskill or even redeploy their own.