4 considerations for recruiters when hiring slows down

Man taking notes on tablet in meeting

Recruiters have always been able to embrace agility within dynamic circumstances – from last-minute schedule changes to candidate pipeline fluctuations. But what about when hiring slows down, or even temporarily stops?

Recruiting teams are navigating through uncertainty as a result of the current global pandemic. And because of that, hiring plans and recruiting itself may look significantly different today than just a few months ago. But even if you're dealing with a drastic shift in priorities as a recruiter, you still have the opportunity to maintain a hiring mindset.

Our recent webinar, Recruiter ​agility​: Building a solid foundation when you’re not hiring​, revealed how you and your team can continue adding value to your organization, even when your hiring plans have changed. Some of what we discussed can be found in our most recent ebook, Maintaining a hiring mindset. By attending the live webinar or viewing the on-demand webinar recording, we hope you walked away with these key takeaways.


1) Embrace the unknown with empathy

The webinar began as moderator Whitney Sieck,​ Director of Enablement​ at Greenhouse, asked Jacqui Maguire,​ Director of Talent Acquisition at Greenhouse​, to reflect on the current state of the working world as affected by COVID-19. “I think it's really important for us all to acknowledge that this was a very sudden change, which is really jarring for all of us in our teams,” said Jaqui. “It was also emotional on a much deeper level, because COVID is also impacting us outside of our work. This has a bigger impact than most of us have ever felt before.”

As Jacqui explained, most of us are experiencing hiring in completely new territory, which can be challenging. After all, we’ve gone from mixed mediums of email, phone and in-person to an all-remote hiring experience. But we also should use empathy when approaching both our own work and the candidates we engage.


2) Leverage past recruiting experiences

While many of us haven’t experienced the current climate first-hand, now is the time to dig deep into past experiences and apply them here in a new way. “Over the years, I’ve worked very hard, as I'm sure all of you have, to build a really strong recruiting organization," said Jacqui.

Building strong recruiting teams is what we do right as recruiting leaders and as talent acquisition professionals. So let's use that to our advantage right now.
Jacqui Maguire,​ Director of Talent Acquisition at Greenhouse​

Recruiters are deeply embedded into the teams that we support. As Jacqui explained, when you're kicking off a role, interviewing candidates and reading interview feedback, you're also learning a ton about how teams work and what their goals are as recruiting leaders. You have a global understanding of your organization by knowing how all those different operations fit together, which gives you and your team a really unique vantage point on the business.


3) Lean into your role as a strategic partner

Jacqui also explained that it’s important to take the information you have as a recruiter and use it to be strategic partners and advisors to the teams you work with. Recruiting teams generally use the insights gained from being at the crossroads of many teams across the organization to help guide decision-making around how to make great hires.

“You can leverage that unique vantage point of your organization,” said Jacqui. “If you're on a hiring slowdown, or even a hiring freeze for some organizations, what holes did that create in your business? What areas need to be filled in? And how can you work with your recruiting teams to figure out how to support the business and strategically plug those holes?”


4) Embrace your natural talent for agility

As we mentioned before, a strong recruiting organization is already very agile. All recruiters have worked through lots of changing situations and varying flows of hiring – they’re used to quickly pivoting based on business needs. “As a result,” said Jacqui, “recruiting teams now need to pivot to meet new business priorities that might be changing.”

Jacqui explained that recruiters are used to working in quarter-annual, multi-year plans, but right now many are working in week to week, month to month plans as the world changes rapidly. “But remember, you have the skills to do that,” she said.

Make sure that you have a strong framework in place in order to be agile and to articulate the value that you're going to start driving in the business, even if it might be in slightly different ways.
Jacqui Maguire,​ Director of Talent Acquisition at Greenhouse​


The framework for a strong hiring foundation

“No matter the challenge that you're facing, it's helpful to adopt a framework to organize and think through solutions across your organization," said Jacqui.

This framework is ideal for recruiting teams looking to add value within their own department and beyond. Here are three key categories of value that all recruiters can explore today:

  • Recruiting operations: If your team has a bit of extra time right now due to a slowdown in hiring, it's a good opportunity to audit your operations. As Jacqui explained, you don't actually have to build the plane while you're flying it! You now have a minute while you're on the ground. “If you're in a freeze or a slowdown, it's actually a lot easier to do this than when you're hiring really fast.” Make the most of that time to get everything in order.
  • People team support: While the recruiting workflow may have slowed down, there could be a big burden falling on other areas of your people team. “Recruiters are great at working with people. They're used to handling sensitive information and they're very familiar with company culture,” said Jacqui. “I would encourage recruiters to look for additional ways to add even more organizational value within their people or HR department.
  • Company-wide support: While every company has different goals and structures in place, Jacqui advises recruiters to tap into their past experiences and roles to help other departments across their organization. “Many recruiters did not start their careers in recruiting. I like to look around my team to see if there are people with backgrounds in communications, in sales, in hospitality, and see how we can tap into those skills to support the business.”

This is a unique time in history for recruiting teams around the world. We’re all working together to embrace the unknown – and Greenhouse is here to support you every step of the way. Watch the on-demand recording of our webinar for even more tips from Jacqui, as well as answers to many live questions asked directly by attendees.

Want even more insights from Greenhouse? Download our newest eBook to learn more ways to maintain a hiring mindset, even when you’re not hiring.

Marnie Williams

Marnie Williams

is Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Marnie has been in the thought leadership content space for 10 years, previously at WeWork and Oracle. She has a master’s in marketing from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s in English from Colorado State University.

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