Innovative Recruitment Methods when in a Hiring Freeze

August 5th 2020


When an economic crisis strikes, businesses tend to focus on cost-cutting. The first thing to go is recruitment and hiring comes to a freeze. We now have a global pandemic in which the world’s greatest companies have laid off or furloughed employees. As we have known, the world has changed, and although this new reality feels like forever, more likely than not, history will repeat itself. And if this crisis is averted, hiring will become front-burner stuff again. The importance is to learn from what has and hasn’t worked in the past. When businesses were dealing with a crisis and apply these in innovative recruitment methods for the future.


The Impact on Recruitment when in Hiring Freeze

When economies degrade, recession sets in, causing uncertain career futures across the board. Usual perks of working for a company decline or disappear altogether. What was once a blossoming and fruitful employer/employee relationship becomes strained. Recruiters often face the brunt of this and experience a lot of negativity in their position – suddenly, being a candidate-driven recruiter isn’t a nice thing to have, and the only focus of the company is cutting down costs.


How Can Strategic Recruitment Add Value in a Hiring Freeze?

Strategic recruitment in a crisis plays a significant role. For you to keep economic stability at the front of your mind, consider these innovative recruitment methods:

  • Maintain relationships
  • Aid decision-makers
  • Help direct potential candidates to contract opportunities.
  • Ensure brand strength
  • Outside-the-box thinking
  • Success in a crisis builds strength – personal and company strength.
  • Let’s take a look at these methods a bit more.


Maintaining relationships

Recruiters must maintain their relationships within all industries. Strong relationships between companies and recruiters built from the very beginning can prove valuable – for both sides – when companies freeze hiring for any reason and especially when a recession hits. Companies and potential candidates alike need guidance regarding how to handle job market fluctuations. Recruiters have a unique view of both worlds – that of companies and job seekers.


Helping decision-makers make the tough calls.

Companies that realize they have to make budget cuts resulting in layoffs or furloughs need clear-cut recruitment strategies, career counseling, and employee advice. Recruiters play a significant role in helping companies make the decisions necessary to keep business running as close to normal as possible.


Helping candidates find contract opportunities.

During a crisis, a company’s HR strategies might include temporarily laying off its long-term employees in favor of finding contracted or temp candidates. Recruiters can help match companies with the right potential candidates for these positions.


Ensure brand strength

Larger brands have more employees than small businesses. When a big name company must turn to layoffs, it can hurt the brand image dramatically. Recruitment professionals ensure – with the strong relationship mentioned above – that these companies don’t flounder due to an economic crisis. Recruiters are ready with the candidates that can keep the brand moving like a well-oiled machine.


Outside-the-box thinking

Companies have their own methods for getting things done – but their recruitment principles might be weak or simply outdated. With strong recruitment strategies and a strict recruiting budget, a company can emerge from a downturned economy stronger than before. But it means thinking outside the box and a willingness to learn new strategic recruitment methods.


Success in a crisis builds strength.

It’s tough for even the best companies to come out ahead after a recession. It’s the test of a company’s foundations. Part of coming out on top, though, means letting professional recruiters focus on that part of the business while you keep your focus on what matters in the end – the life of your business.


Innovative Recruitment Methods: How to shift your mindset

There’s a reason why it’s called “frame of mind” – it’s all in how you frame your mindset. How do you think about recruitment? How do you approach the recruitment process? Are you open to change?

The fact is right now it doesn’t really matter whether you’re open to change – because the landscape of business is upside down right now. Stay-at-home and social distance orders mean you’ve most likely had to send a good amount of your workforce home to complete their functions. When it comes to recruiting practices, gone – at least temporarily – are the days of in-person interviews. But that isn’t the only recruitment principle that must be updated at the moment. Your company mindset should take into account the many facets of this change in business.

For instance: This social change to the functions of business could be with us for a while. You can’t wait for the pandemic to just “blow over” before you decide how to continue your recruitment strategies. It’s time to decide whether you need to fill certain positions and then take action.


Now is the Time to Over-Communicate

It’s time for over-communication. Sure, no one really enjoys meetings or responding to dozens of emails, but the truth is that more information is better than no information during a crisis. Keep your team updated on the changes you’re considering and those you’ve decided on. If you can, ask for feedback. Let your team have a say.

Learn to be okay about not sealing the deal with an in-person handshake. Even before the current crisis, recruiters have been handling interviews and offering subsequent hiring advice via such apps as Zoom or Messenger’s video calling capability. Onboarding can be virtual, too. Decide what basic aspects of a position the new hire needs to know. What parts of the job do you train your new hires for, and what parts do they usually learn as they go? Whatever you normally train for, consider having a Zoom conference. You might be used to doing everything in person, such as training, introductions, and the like, but the time to rethink these recruitment methods is now.

See the glass as half full. If you’re a half-empty thinker, this crisis is a disruption to your day-to-day business processes. If instead, you’re a half-full thinker, this crisis is an opportunity to evaluate what wasn’t working and learn what can work. You’ve probably wanted to tweak some of your recruitment strategies anyway. Now’s the perfect time.


Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, any hiccups you’re experiencing are not your fault. Your disaster preparedness training scenarios probably didn’t include how to hire in the midst of nationwide lockdown. Your training and recruitment strategies were simply concerned with safety, onboarding, and other “normal” tasks and aspects of your business. It’s okay to stop, take a breath, and reassess. Make a clear plan for how you’ll continue and then follow through. The good news is that life hasn’t totally ended. Part of life is being employed. That’s not likely to end, either. Together, we can make sure you always have the talent you need when you need it.

Written by: Sushila Ramkisoensing

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