A hiring freeze doesn’t mean recruiters should be left in the dust. When you no longer have to spend your days sourcing and interviewing, you can shift your focus to making a bigger impact. You have a valuable skill set and business insights that can be used in many different ways. Now’s your chance to work on the projects you’ve dreamed about while also positively impacting the business. 

Don’t let a hiring freeze hold you back from continuing to be an outstanding employee. We identified 12 projects recruiters can tackle to make an immediate impact on the business and better position your organization for when the hiring lull is over. You’ll also find advice on how to communicate your efforts effectively to your leadership team. 


Table of Contents


Free Playbook: How to Recruit in Turbulent Times

You will have access to 50+ pages of data, tips, and advice.


Projects That Make an Impact During a Hiring Freeze

Image via Shutterstock


#1: Evaluate & Optimize Your Recruiting Tech Stack

One of the quickest ways to make an impact during a hiring freeze (and impress your chief financial officer) is to evaluate the tools within your recruiting tech stack. Strategically identify the tools that don’t add any value during a hiring freeze, like certain sourcing tools for example. Putting pause on investing in these tools helps cut costs and shows your willingness to help the business during this period. However, it’s important to not overdo it. The tools in your recruiting tech stack that add long-term value, like employer branding platforms, should remain, especially since hiring freezes are only temporary. 

You should also try to think one or two steps ahead in terms of the tech that will benefit you most in the future. Almost 70 percent of recruiters say the key to improving their performance over the next five years is rooted in adopting new recruiting tech. Use your spare time to keep an eye on the latest technological developments within the recruiting space and assess how those innovations might benefit your business. And when a tech tool could fit well into your team's workflows, you'll be well-suited to make a case to adopt it.


#2: Advance Your Skill set 

Have you been holding back on your own professional development because of time constraints? Now is a great time to tackle that recruitment certification course you’ve been meaning to take or find a training course to master a new skill set. Take action and invest in your own professional development so you can help out your employer now and give yourself an advantage in the future – 74 percent of workers invest in learning to remain employable. 

According to data from LinkedIn, here are three skills recruiters believe they should develop now to prepare for the future: 

  • 85 percent - Engaging passive candidates 
  • 84 percent - Analyzing talent data to drive decisions
  • 82 percent - Advising business leaders and hiring managers 


Image via Shutterstock


#3: Train Employees to be Brand Advocates 

A hiring freeze often has a negative connotation. When people hear about a company pausing their hiring efforts, it’s hard to get them thinking about your brand in a good light. Empowering employees to speak positively about your company will help you get the right message in front of more people. Messaging that is shared by employees receives 561 percent more impressions than when a company sends it and content gets shared 24 times more when distributed by the employees of a company. 

Train your employees on how to leverage your existing employer branding and marketing content to highlight how your company is adapting to this time. Host training sessions on the best practices for sharing stories on social platforms. Streamline how you notify employees of new content to share and how best to position each story. Helping your employees become brand advocates will not only showcase your company in a good light during a hiring freeze but also emphasize how engaged your workforce is. 


#4: Create Employer Branding Content 

You can’t empower your employees to be brand advocates if there is no content to share. We get it, content is a big investment and takes a lot of time to create. When your plate is full with hiring, there isn’t much time to create great content but now you have all the time in the world. 

Start identifying employees to highlight in your content. Then, take the time to interview them on topics candidates want to hear about most. Use these insights to build articles and videos that promote your company as not only a great employer but a great brand. Doing so will give employees more content to share and thus become better brand advocates. 

Your efforts will also pay off in the long run:


#5: Partner With HR on Employee Engagement

Turnover is expensive. In fact, it’s estimated that the cost of losing an employee is one and a half to two times an employee’s salary and can be upwards of 100 percent of a tech employee’s salary. Keeping employees engaged and confident during a hiring freeze isn’t always easy. HR will need all the help they can get on this front. 

Tap into the data you have from exit interviews and stay interviews to highlight areas of concern. The results of these interviews will provide you with insight into what drives employees away and what current employees don’t like about your company. Focusing on these factors will help mitigate losing more employees during a hiring freeze. 

Additionally, you can tap into your turnover rate insights to determine if there are certain areas of your business that should be a cause for concern. Turnover data can help identify whether a specific department is likely to experience employee separations, and you can focus your efforts on improving employee engagement with them first. 


#6: Create a Plan for Backfilling Key Positions 

Turnover won’t stop when a hiring freeze is implemented, in fact it may increase. The average turnover rate is 19 percent, which includes both voluntary and involuntary turnover. Work with your leaders to understand if you’ll be able to backfill positions that are turned over during a hiring freeze. If so, be sure to keep your talent pipeline warm so you still have candidates to tap into if turnover does occur. 

Finding ways to backfill key positions with little-to-no budget and reduced resources will be vital to keeping your business running smoothly. Tap into the contacts you have from your employee referral program as a quick way to connect with potential candidates who already know about your business. If you don’t already have an employee referral program in your organization, it’s a great time to build one for when hiring returns to normal. 


Projects to Prepare for When a Hiring Freeze Stops

Image via Shutterstock


#7: Build a Recruitment Automation Plan 

After you've cleaned up your current tech stack and put pause on unutilized investments, look to the future. Begin thinking about what you'll need once the hiring freeze is lifted and how you can streamline your efforts. After all, many businesses will find themselves in the same boat and scramble to ramp up recruitment once things return to normal.

One way to do this is with recruitment automation – something 75 percent of companies already invest in during the hiring process. Find the features within your existing tech stack that will help you automate certain aspects of the recruitment process. This will not only save you time but set your company up for success when things go back to normal. And talent leaders agree – 96 percent of HR managers in a HR Research Institute study said AI is has massive potential to help with talent acquisition .  


#8: Elevate Your Career Page 

The average conversion rate of a career page is about 5 percent, showing there is lots of room for improvement. During a hiring freeze, focus on ways to update your existing career page to better engage and convert candidates. Add content to answer any questions they may have about working for your company. Update imagery on the page to include your most recent employees. Implement more enticing calls to action to make applying and joining your talent community easy. Most candidates’ (95 percent) first impression of a company is from their career site so make sure yours is one that counts. Doing so will position your company to get more applicants when the hiring freeze comes to an end. 


#9: Invest in Hiring Managers 

Now is the time to start (if you haven’t already) building relationships with your hiring managers. Hiring managers are highly influential in recruiting performance and having a solid relationship with yours is one of the biggest drivers of recruitment. You’ll need their expertise when crafting candidate personas for open roles, so use this time to establish a strong rapport. Educate them on the importance of their role in the hiring process and share best practices for interacting with candidates. 

If you’ve already invested in a collaborative relationship with hiring managers, don’t lose momentum. It’s important to make sure hiring is still top of mind for them so you can start where you left off when things go back to normal. Build the right habits and keep them going, even during a hiring freeze. 


Image via Shutterstock


#10: Test & Improve Your Application Process 

Your application process can make or break the candidates who apply to your roles. The average drop off rate during an application process is 80 percent and almost half of applicants (48 percent) do so because of a complicated ATS system. That’s a lot of candidates you could be missing out on because of a painful application process. 

To improve your application conversion rate, test the experience. Pretend you are a candidate applying for a role. How long does the process take? Are there any technical issues? Do you ask for information you don’t need? Identify points of friction then work to improve them during your hiring lull. This will keep you from losing out on great candidates when hiring is back to normal. 


#11: Write Better Job Descriptions

Before applying, one of the last things a candidate sees is your job description. If you aren’t optimizing them, you should be. Here’s a look at what candidates think are the most important aspects of a job description: 

  • 61 percent - Compensation 
  • 49 percent - Job details 
  • 23 percent - Company description 

While you likely provide information about what your role entails and who your company is, are you detailing the compensation package for your roles? If not, you could be better fulfilling the needs of half the candidates looking at your job descriptions. Check out other data-driven ways you can write a better job description to pass the time during a hiring freeze. Spending your time on this project will put your company in a much better position to get more applicants when the hiring lull is over. 


#12: Go All-In on Social Media 

Social media recruiting can go a long way when your hiring freeze is over. In fact, companies who use social media to recruit candidates see a 50 percent increase in quality of applicants. And almost three-fourths (73 percent) of millennials heard about their last job through social media. It’s a strategy you should be investing in but may not have had the time to until now. 

Plan out your strategy for the long-term. What platforms will you use? How will you use them? What content do you have to share, and what content are you missing that you can create right now? Creating posts to promote your employer brand now and open roles in the future will put you one step ahead of the game when hiring becomes a priority again. 


Tips For Communicating the Impact of Your Hiring Freeze Projects 

Image via Shutterstock

It’s one thing to invest your time in projects that will positively impact the business and position your team as beneficial during a hiring freeze, but you must know how to successfully communicate your impact to leaders. Positioning your projects’ value and importance is key to making sure recruitment keeps its seat at the table


Be Transparent 

Acknowledge the fact that your role as a recruiter has changed. Doing so will tackle the uncertainty of how to spend your time head-on and position yourself as a solution provider. Be prepared to present different projects you can work on to impact the bottom line of the business. If you aren’t transparent with leaders on how you can be valuable without recruiting, they may never know. 


Be Strategic 

Present the list of potential projects to your leadership team with a strategic mind. What’s a priority for your business right now? What drove the hiring freeze? How long will it last? The answers to these questions will help you determine which projects should be top priority and which ones should be pushed aside. Aligning the projects you can work on with what’s top of mind for your leadership team will present you in a positive light. 


Lead With Data

Leverage your recruitment metrics to provide updates to leaders on the business pre-hiring freeze and how it may look post-hiring freeze. This will give leaders an honest view of how the business may be impacted by a hiring lull and what investments you may need to speed up the hiring process once things are back to normal. It will also allow you to escalate any issues you foresee that need to be thought about right now. Data speaks volumes and will emphasize to leaders that you’re thinking about your projects in a data-driven manner. 


Ask How You Can Help  

A hiring freeze impacts more than recruiters, it impacts the whole business. Approaching leaders with an empathetic mindset is a smart move. Ask them what you can do to help the teams who may be suffering the most. Understanding areas of the business that need some assistance will show leaders you’re willing to jump in and help with things outside of your typical scope of work. 


The options are endless when it comes to how recruiters can stay relevant during a hiring freeze. The key is identifying the projects that will make the biggest impact on a business now and in the future. Honing in on these projects will not only put you in a better position to recruit when the hiring freeze ends but also give you valuable facetime with leadership in the meantime. 


Free Calculator: Employee Retention Rate

Use our template to seamlessly calculate your own employee retention rate.


Great Companies Need Great People. That's Where We Come In.

Recruit With Us