How to Keep Candidates Engaged During a Hiring Freeze

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How to Keep Candidates Engaged During a Hiring Freeze
David Banaghan
4 minute read
Candidate Experience

Irrespective of the current situation of COVID-19, many companies go through phases of hiring lulls or freezes due to various factors such as seasonal slowdown or revenue reduction.

Now, in light of Coronavirus, many companies have been forced to halt recruitment entirely, some mid-process. You may have excellent candidates that you could permanently lose if the candidate experience or engagement is not dealt with properly. We look at ways to keep candidates engaged and warm when you are no longer hiring. 

Why is the candidate experience important?

A positive recruitment experience motivates 97% of candidates to refer other candidates with over 50% of candidates likely to share their positive experiences via social media (TalentLyft). Conversely, 69% of candidates would share their negative experience with their friends and network (Talentegy).

In a competitive market where the best candidates have a wide selection of companies to choose from, your candidate’s experience during the hiring process can be the deciding factor in job acceptance, can directly impact future hiring and even have a bearing on your consumer brand. Companies now have an opportunity to reposition their brands in light of how they are managing COVID-19 to not only engage current candidates but attract a new wave of talent. 

Top ways to keep candidates warm when you are not hiring

Stay transparent & communicate

Transparency is the most important consideration when it comes to keeping candidates engaged. This should be the case from the first moment you communicate with candidates, whether that is letting them know that have not been successful or what the hiring process entails. Automation and email templates ensure this can be done efficiently.  

It is also very important to keep candidates up to date of their progression throughout the recruitment journey. Candidates want to know where they stand in the process. Best practice is to communicate with candidates who are mid-process once a week via email and every two weeks via telephone. Maintaining a positive relationship with candidates during a hiring freeze will put you in a much better position when hiring recommences. 

 communicate with candidates

Invest in your employer brand 

Irrespective of a hiring freeze or a hiring surge, your employer brand is vital in keeping your candidates interested in your company. Your employer brand is as important as your consumer brand as it’s what sets you apart from your competitors and can be the determining factor in candidates choosing to work with you. In fact, 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job (LinkedIn). This is because your employer brand demonstrates your company values, culture and employee value proposition. Given the majority of an individuals week is spent working, finding an alignment between a company and a candidate is crucial and can have huge benefits when the fit is right.

When you are not hiring, it is a good time to focus on your employer brand to ensure that when you are hiring again, candidates will associate you as a great place to work. During this time in particular when there is a surplus of individuals who are not working, there will be a lot of activity on the market and there is an excellent opportunity to establish and promote your brand and keep candidates engaged. 

At the core of every employer brand are your employees, so carry out surveys, obtain testimonials and ask your staff to write reviews on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor. These can then be pushed out where your candidates currently are, professional and social networks. Make sure to have a well-run careers page as 34% of candidates will refer to your careers page before applying for a job (Talentegy). Candidates who are mid-process will also carry out extensive research on your brand so make sure your brand speaks to what you want to portray and help bring candidates along the journey. 


Create content with candidates in mind

Recruitment is essentially a sales process. Therefore you should treat your candidates like you would your consumers or leads. One of the most effective ways to do this is through tailored content that is relevant to the audience you are targeting. Blogs, newsletters and videos created with your candidates in mind will demonstrate a real interest in what they want to know and keep them bought into your company and jobs. 

Build up a talent pool

Build up a talent pool

A hiring freeze is a great time to build a talent pool, so when you are hiring again you have instant access to engaged candidates. Go back over your previous applications and database, there may be people that were previously overlooked that you could re-engage with now to see if they are a better fit or are open to future positions. 

Further to this, having invested in your employer brand, you should have gained an interest in working for your company. Utilise this interest by running a recruitment marketing campaign on social and professional networks, bringing people to your careers page. Put an expression of interest form on emails and your careers page so you can capture individuals details. 

To reflect back on our previous points, if someone registers their interest, they shouldn’t sit in a bucket until you need them, make sure to keep them warm with regular communication and relevant content. 

Implementing the above strategies can seem time intensive. With a recruitment software and applicant tracking system like Occupop, you can greatly improve both candidates and hiring teams experience, whilst saving time and money in the process.


What is Occupop?

Occupop is a powerful hiring tool that connects people, creating strong teams and builds long-lasting relationships. Our dynamic features put the power in your hands, allowing you to easily engage with the best candidates and manage the entire process on one smart recruitment solution. Check out how it works here.

Summary Points

How to Keep Candidates Engaged During a Hiring Freeze

  • Stay transparent and communicate
  • Invest in your employer brand
  • Create content with candidates in mind
  • Build up a talent pool
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