How Should Recruiters Spend Their Time During a Hiring Freeze?

July 27, 2020

If you are a recruiter and your company is on a hiring freeze, what do you do? How do you spend your time? While it’s tempting to hang out and watch Nextflix all day, the optimist in us knows that we’re going to beat the Coronavirus quickly. When we do, it’s very likely that our hiring managers will be ready to step on the gas again. Only this time you’ll potentially have fewer resources than before. 

We reached out to several clients and partners to get their thoughts and suggestions on what they did during the 2008 recession, and how they’ve been spending their time over the last few weeks. Here’s what we heard: 

Build Candidate Relationships

  • With a halted economy, no commuting, and reduced watercooler activity, people suddenly find themselves with a lot more time on their hands. Now is a great time to start building relationships with potential candidates. Since there’s less urgency you can take a softer approach and focus on the relationship. What are their career goals, what gets them excited, what does that perfect next role look like? 
  • Test new channels and technologies to engage candidates. There has been a lot of innovation over the past few years and now is a great time to explore new options (for example, Upsider is currently offering a two-month free trial).

Build Relationships

  • Spend some time with the hires you made over the last twelve months. Ask them what they love about their job, how their day to day is going, and what exciting projects they’re working on. This is great context to use with future candidates. In addition, get some feedback on their experience going through your recruiting process. Where are there gaps or areas to improve?
  • Strengthen relationships with your hiring manager. Recruiting is a team sport, and teams work better when relationships are strong. Schedule a Zoom virtual coffee and just get to know them better. Dig in to get an honest assessment of the pre-freeze recruiting process. Learn more about how they envision the future of the team, and what skill sets and experiences will be valuable in a post-Coronavirus world. 

Audit your Past Performance

  • Take some time to review your overall recruiting process, and a great place to start is with the metrics. Key metrics like candidates per hire, time to fill, and conversion rates for each step in the recruiting process. Identify where you’re seeing the biggest drop and define 2-3 things to test in hopes of improving that conversion rate once the recruiting engine is up and running again. 
  • Look at your time allocation. Where have you been spending the most time, and how can you become more efficient? Explore technologies and process improvement strategies to help make you more productive, successful, and valuable to the organization. 

Get a Head Start on Planning

  • We’re optimists and are hopeful that we’ll be able to flatten the curve and get back to business quickly. If that’s the case, do you know what that means for your recruiting focus? Will your hiring manager want to catch up to the previous hiring plan, or will they prioritize certain key roles? It’s important to have this ongoing dialog so that you can plan accordingly, and not get caught flat-footed when things pick back up. 
  • Related to the first bullet, make sure you have a line of sight on the resources available on your recruiting team to support the future hiring plan. Do you have enough headcount to cover, or will you need to rely on external agencies or technology?  

Self Improvement

  • Carve out some time to work on your craft. Revisit your favorite books and blog posts. Learn something new. A few recommendations from our clients: Who, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, and The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind
  • There are many similarities between recruiting and marketing/sales. Spend some time to learn about the latest strategies and tactics related to growth marketing and sales strategies. Look for areas of inspiration and approaches that you can apply to your own recruiting process. 

As you can see, there is no shortage of productive ways to spend your time during the hiring pause. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on your current process, build and strengthen important relationships, and focus on improving yourself and your process. Any other ideas? Let us know on Twitter (@upsider). 

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