How to Survive a Hiring Freeze
HR Tips Alexia Paradzai
So you’ve received the news that in an attempt to cut down on costs, you have to slow down or completely pause your recruiting efforts. Now that you’ve finally settled into a new routine, you may be finding yourself with a few more hours at hand (a big shock compared to the usual hectic pace of recruitment!). And you think to yourself, now what? When the chaos is over and it’s time to start recruiting again, how do you make sure you are at the top of your game? Here are seven things to do in a hiring freeze to make sure you come out on top.
Conduct unconscious bias and interview trainings
Now that your engineering managers and the hiring panels have more free time in their calendars, there’s no excuse not to have interview and unconscious bias training. You could opt to create a curriculum that is specific to your company and existing hiring teams, hire a coach to have your training online as a webinar, or sign up for an online course series.
This would also be the perfect time to invite new people to train for and join your interview panels. Whether this is for technical or cultural fit interviews, new perspectives always add to the hiring process and get you one step closer to hiring the right talent. This way when hiring kicks off again, you won’t be scrambling to put together hiring panels since you will have more people to choose from.
Clean up or change your ATS
If you and your team have spent what feels like forever wishing your applicant tracking system would do more for you, had a better interface, or was simply cheaper, this is the right time to start scouting for a new one. With your recruiting process mostly moving to online interactions your applicant tracking system can start to work as your personal assistant, making sure that you are responsive to talents on time and that your data collection from your interview panels is seamless and as detailed as possible.
Now is the time to sit down and talk to different client representatives and ask the right questions to see if their platform is the right one for you. You also have more time to reach out to your network and see what your peers recommend. The HR Technologist has compiled a list of the top 10 applicant tracking systems for 2020, but a few of our recommendations include:
Jobvite - Great for busy teams that are looking to emphasise referrals and has a built in scheduler for interviews.
Smart Recruiters - Makes use of machine learning and AI to help companies make the best hire.
Greenhouse - Popular for its features that claim to reduce bias by focusing on the core skills needed for the job using scorecards.
Personio- Known for excellent customer service and the ease with which you can create reports on the platform.
Lever- Has an ever expanding list of integrations including Zoom, Linkedin and Google Suite while maintaining a simple interface.
If you are one of the lucky ones with an applicant tracking system that’s already excellent, then take time to make it even better. You could clean up your old interview notes, put each candidate in the right stage of the process and follow up on any missing interview notes from your interviewing panels. This is also the perfect opportunity to create a database for talents who you may want to consider inviting back into your process in the future.
Work on your job descriptions
Work closely with your hiring managers to see if the job descriptions you have on public platforms accurately reflect what you are looking for. For example, are there any skills that you have realised are more “nice to have” than important for the role?
As the business needs have grown and changed so could the requirements for the roles you have open; maybe you need to update the seniority of your tech roles to show the new expectations. And of course you could always shorten your job descriptions to fit the recommended 500-600 words and run them through a free online editor that can make your writing more concise and clear.
Refine your processes
There is a wealth of resources on what the companies developers love are doing to make sure they pick the right talents. By doing a deep dive into their best practices you could hone in on which steps you could benefit from adding or removing from your existing interview process.
You can also look at what developers are talking about amongst themselves in online forums. We know that employer branding can be one of the most valuable assets for companies looking to hire the best talents. Having a smooth recruiting process that candidates love is one sure way to leverage this in the online reviews candidates give after interviews.
Work on your tech and industry expertise
Tech trends are constantly changing and so does the knowledge it takes to keep up with recruiting for developers. It’s always a good idea to take online courses to refresh your tech recruitment skill sets - a few of these also offer certifications so that they are an investment towards your recruitment career and ensure that you can showcase your knowledge. Geekruiter Academy has a down to earth approach to its tech recruitment courses that also feature courses from CTOs and Senior IT recruiters, which will be useful in stakeholder management with tech hiring teams. Dev Skiller is a (free) online recruitment course complete with readings on sourcing as well as certification, it covers the entire interview process and offers suggestions on how to build interview processes as well.
You can also participate in webinars for your specific industry to refine your employer value proposition for your potential talents.
Improve your candidate experience
There is always something to learn from every talent who goes through your interview process. This feedback can be used as an opportunity for growth for members of your hiring panels who are still mastering recruitment, as well as to find out what talents expect versus what they experience in the recruitment process. Quick Google or Mailchimp surveys are a simple yet important way to keep track of this feedback and to make sure that you continue to evolve as a recruitment team. Some questions to include could look like the following:
- did the candidate feel they were given tasks that allowed them to showcase their skills?
- how your interview process compares to other companies the talent is interviewing with?
- how informed the candidate felt regarding their interview status throughout the process?
After the candidate completes all the stages of the interview process this feedback can also be shared with the entire hiring team as part of your debriefings. This gives the opportunity to refine your processes collectively.
You can automate the surveys so that they are sent out a few days after talents complete the interview process. If you could never find the time to implement these systems, now would be a good time to start and perhaps even reach out to past talents who may still be willing to give feedback.
Enhance your employer brand
Hiring for developers is a candidate driven market, so it’s in a company’s best interest to stand out to candidates and make their employer value proposition clear. Doing this attracts the right talents and gives them an idea of whether or not they might be a cultural fit for your company. Two effective ways to do this is through your social media and blog.
Social Media often falls to the wayside as more urgent tasks take center stage in the daily recruitment grind. It would be worthwhile to take time to craft a social media strategy now, and make use of the platforms where your ideal candidates tend to spend the most time.
Blog posts that offer insight into your different departments and their daily tasks are useful for candidates who will have technical interviews. Tthese can go in- depth, including the tech architecture and details about the projects that different engineering teams have been working on. They can also chronicle the career growth of developers in the company as a source of inspiration for future employees.
Interviews and profiles with key people in teams are always welcome as they highlight different facets of working for the company and offer first- hand perspectives into what employees like about working there. Honeypot’s blog does just this and centers these stories and interviews around themes that give potential employees insights into life at the company.
You can read more about the benefits of employer branding over here.
The next few weeks will be an interesting challenge as we change the way we view work and recruitment. It’s also an opportunity to make sure that when the crisis is over our recruiting processes will be better than ever.
We’ll have had the time to refine the processes that are already working and overhaul the ones that make the recruiting process inefficient. See this current situation as an opportune time to learn new skills that will not only help your team but your career in the long term.