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How Recruiters Can Respond to a Hiring Freeze

How Recruiters Can Respond To A Hiring Freeze

Hearing of a hiring freeze might stop you in your tracks. When a client decides to put a pause on hiring, it’s never welcome news for recruiters.

During a hiring freeze, recruiters must find ways to adjust and focus on other value-add work. Here, we’ll go over the implications of a hiring freeze for recruiters, and offer some ideas on how to keep moving forward.

1. What is a hiring freeze?

When it’s time to control costs, a company can temporarily pause on hiring any new employees - i.e. a hiring freeze. This decision could come from financial hardship, but even massive, successful businesses might implement a freeze during a recession, an industry slowdown, or if they’ve over-hired. To preserve profit margins, management might go ahead with this decision.

A hiring freeze can be an attempt to avoid layoffs as much as controlling costs. They can be short- or long-term and will leave open roles as some employees leave. New positions won’t be developed during this time either.

On the positive side for the business, a hiring freeze leaves non-essential positions open and keeps payroll costs down. The company can take advantage of this time to reassess.

And on the plus side for recruiters, a job freeze doesn’t always mean a total halt to recruitment. Clients might still have critical specialist roles that need to be filled. They might also be more willing to approve contract, freelance, or part-time workers as a stop-gap measure. Work still goes on, and there will still be placements to make.

2. How does a hiring freeze impact recruiters?

If there are many hiring freezes happening in your niche or in general, you’ll likely see a decline in recruiting activity and stagnant salaries for open roles. But this can lead to opportunities to take advantage by targeting specific industries that have a high demand for skilled workers.

Those who can adapt and stay persistent will be best positioned to succeed in this challenging climate.

3. Things recruiters can do during a recruitment freeze

Maintain a positive mindset

Staying optimistic during a hiring freeze can be difficult, but it’s essential to your success. Remember that this is temporary and try to focus on building strong relationships with clients, candidates, and other professionals in your network.

Keep your clients warm

Make sure to keep in touch with your clients and stay up-to-date on their needs even when you’re not actively recruiting. By keeping a strong rapport, you’ll position yourself as a reliable resource even during tough times.

Enhance your brand

Keeping the attention of your clients is important to protect your agency when things are turbulent. Make sure that all consultants have highly-visible profiles and are engaged, and keep your agency’s branding and social media lively. It does take an investment of time and effort, but it’s an effective way to stay top of mind when clients are thinking about cutting down.

Nurture your talent pipeline

By continuously expanding your talent pipeline, you’ll be ready to take action when a new role pops up. There are several ways to go about it, including mining your existing database of candidates, or by attending job fairs and networking events.

Create candidate & client-focused content

Creating content that is relevant to both candidates and clients can help you build credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. It’s also helpful to stay top of mind with your audience. You can try writing articles or creating videos on topics relevant to industry trends, offer career advice, or explain how to navigate a competitive job market.

Boost your skills and knowledge

Recruiters need to stay up-to-date on the latest recruitment trends and best practices in order to successfully source, screen, and place job candidates. Look for opportunities to enhance your skills by taking online training courses, attending conferences and workshops, or working with a career coach or mentor. Even during a slowdown, you have to invest in yourself to be prepared for whatever’s next.

Upgrade your recruitment software

Recruitment technology is a powerful tool to have at your disposal under any circumstances. During a recruitment freeze, having easy access to automation and metrics can enable you to make the right decisions in the face of strong headwinds. Investing in a recruitment tech stack can help streamline workflows, improve communication, and help agencies do more with less.

Reconsider your recruitment processes

Building off the previous step, a recruitment freeze can be a good time to step back and re-evaluate your own recruitment process. Consider whether there are steps that can be automated, tweaks that can improve candidate experience, or other possible process upgrades. Clients and candidates will thank you for these updates, and you’ll be better set up for long-term success.

Prepare for the future

It’s always important to think ahead. No matter what’s happening in the markets, embrace proactive recruitment and take advantage of any available opportunities.

During a hiring freeze, keep in touch with clients and be aware of the positions they’ll need to fill as soon as the freeze is lifted. Keep your talent pools healthy and you’ll be able to fill these roles more quickly when the time comes.

While a hiring freeze can risk lowering morale for recruiters and agencies, remember to make the most of what you have. There’s always room to improve client communication and manage expectations, offer industry-specific expert advice, and step up your level of service and care.

4. Final thoughts

Staying positive and motivated during uncertain times is a critical skill for recruiters. Grit and strategy are essential to make it through to the other side.

For consultants, seeing a hiring freeze as an opportunity to invest time in upgrading skills and building relationships will help long-term development. And agencies can use slowdowns to re-evaluate their processes and ensure they’re prepared for the future.

By focusing on relationships with clients and candidates and investing in yourself as a professional, you can thrive and succeed even when conditions seem challenging. Whether you’re with an agency or running your own recruitment business, stay focused to keep successful going forward.

By focusing on relationships with clients and candidates and investing in yourself as a professional, you can thrive and succeed even when conditions seem challenging. Whether you’re with an agency or running your own recruitment business, stay focused to keep successful going forward.