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How To Utilize Slow Hiring Season as TA Team: Top 9 Recruitment Best Practices

January 19, 2023

39,965 people in 83 companies lost their job in the first 13 days of January 2023. 

Companies are doing mass layoffs to cut costs, relocate jobs, merge & acquire, outsource work, etc. They are redefining and restructuring the entire workforce to recover from the pandemic impacts. The pandemic compelled companies to hire more people and tap talent globally. However, as the effects subside, companies reevaluate their staffing needs, leading to major layoffs. 

Big companies like Amazon, Facebook, Salesforce, etc. are laying off over 10% of their workforce. Additionally, meta pulled back some of the full-time job offers, and the tech sector is being slammed with conservative growth! Be it the product or sales department, layoffs are being observed in every single division. 

Not only is it difficult for the employees to adjust to the layoffs, but it also raises a big question of how to put a talent acquisition team to work. The hiring freeze implies no recruitment, open roles, new job applications, screening, and hiring process in action! Then, how can talent acquisition teams utilize this slow recruitment period? A continuous loop of layoffs, hiring, and other mass layoffs put pressure on the TA team to strategically plan their efforts in the organization. 

In today’s blog, we will share 9 ways your TA team can leverage the slow hiring season and add value to the organization. A recruitment freeze does not mean that the TA team has no work; rather, they need to refocus on other critical tasks.

9 Things Talent Acquisition Team Must Focus on During Recruitment Freeze

Talent acquisition teamwork is not restricted to hiring new people. They must consistently source/ engage with potential candidates, work on employer brands, understand employees' needs to provide a pleasant work environment, and much more. With the hiring freeze, TA teams might not hire new people, but they can ensure a healthy workforce, a robust hiring process, and employee satisfaction. Here are 9 ways talent acquisition teams can leverage the slow hiring season. 

  1. Enhance Hiring Process

Talent acquisition teams spend a lot of time screening applications, doing interviews, creating proposals, onboarding, and much more. Often, these processes have some weak spots and, with some tweaks, can be more efficient to hire top talent. Slow hiring season is the best time to look back into the existing hiring process and identify the scope of improvement. 

The talent acquisition team can start by analyzing certain HR metrics like:

  • Time to hire 
  • Cost per hire 
  • Underrepresented employees 
  • Passthrough rates
  • Employee retention 
  • Revenue per employee
  • Engagement

They can look into the ATS and CRM to gather qualitative data and measure it.  Moreover, ATS provides a dedicated analytics dashboard to make the job easier. Based on these metrics, TA teams can identify the weak and strong areas in the hiring process. 

For instance, if the underrepresented employees in the company are fewer, it implies that the company needs to expand the talent pool and tap new ways to source candidates. 

The team must evaluate the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the hiring process. After understanding the loopholes, they should aim to bridge the gaps such as:

  • Removing unnecessary fields from the application form 
  • Aiming to reduce the time to apply for the job posting
  • Mitigate technicalities from the application process
  • Making the interview process inclusive and free from bias, which includes adopting blind application and interviews 
  • Reducing the unnecessary friction with redundant assessments and forms
  • Adapting a seamless onboarding process with proper training and orientation

The talent acquisition team must identify the bottlenecks in the process and improve the overall hiring process. They should establish a distinct brand voice to attract and retain top talent in the industry. 

For instance, Nurturebox analytics help recruiters pinpoint what's working and not. It integrates the HR tech stack and gathers the data to provide qualitative data regarding the hiring process. It makes it easier for the team to enhance their hiring efforts and hire the appropriate candidate for the job! 

  1. Nurture Talent Pipeline

Even though the hiring is at a halt, recruiters must engage with the potential candidates to keep the talent pipeline warm. Hiring is not a one-done job; one day, you post a job vacancy, the next day, you get applications, the next day, you take interviews, and finally, you hire. It's a long process, and getting in touch with qualified, talented candidates is vital. 

The talent acquisition team must communicate regularly with potential candidates to keep them engaged and set clear expectations. They should give an idea of what to expect next and keep sharing valuable resources. It's crucial to build a healthy relationship with qualified people over time so they can fill in when the job vacancy appears. 

How you communicate with these potential employees will drastically impact your employer brand. One must be consistent, respectful, and valuable with their approach. The team shall share valuable resources with personalized and empathetic messaging. How the team will treat candidates during this period will influence their attitude when the vacancy opens! 

  1. Internal Career Mapping

Career mapping is a crucial process in employee onboarding and employee retention. It involves setting short-term and long-term goals for the employees and giving a clear idea of their career trajectory in the organization. This implies mapping their entire journey from the start (junior role) till their transition into a higher-level role. It clarifies the employee regarding their time in the organization and creates a plan for employee career development.

When the company provides a complete career development plan, it helps to attract and retain top talent and gives employees a sense of purpose. Moreover, it promotes an employee-centric work culture where employees' needs, capabilities, and goals are of utmost priority. With all the focus on the employee, companies experience an improvement in the employer brand.

But, how to prepare a career map? 

  • Define the job role by listing the responsibilities and referring to the JD. Analyze the recent projects to include all the essential skills and competencies. Ensure to include KPIs for each position to measure performance. 
  • Create a roadmap for each position, each team, and each department. This should include a proper outline of the job role transition from junior to executive level.
  • Identify the training needs for employee development. Employees must have a mentor and undertake relevant training programs for each transition. Create a comprehensive list of in-house and outsourced training programs. Gauge the effectiveness of the resources and if it is enough for the employees. 
  • Finally, create a proper training program to be accessible to the team. It includes mapping needs and creating a sound timeline for program implementation. They should document the training timeline to improve it in the future, including organization charts, job roles, mentors, career paths, and a training timeline. 
  • The last step is to review the efficiency of the training program. The new hires shall go through the training program during the onboarding and the existing ones shall go through the relevant training programs. The existing employees must also get performance feedback to ensure effective training implementation. 

  1. Enhance Employer Brand

Employer brand is how your employees, potential candidates, and other stakeholders perceive a company's working culture. It reflects if the employees find the company's culture amiable and pleasant. 

The talent acquisition team shall start by analyzing the current standing of the employer brand by conducting surveys, and quizzes, taking feedback, checking reviews on Glassdoor, etc. Other factors like the source of hire, retention rate, employee satisfaction, etc., also indicate the employer brand. It depicts how your team communicates the company values and mission. 

TA team should enhance the employer brand by taking a strategic approach to optimizing:

  • Social media by sharing employees' stories and talking about brand values
  • Careers page for inclusive language and complete information 
  • Team engagement by collaborating and discussing their needs and experience

Moreover, TA teams can create a dedicated content strategy to share brand messages and collateral such as employee interviews, quotes, dedicated blog stories, etc. The team can effectively leverage storytelling to strengthen the brand by reflecting unique employer propositions. 

The TA team shall also examine the company's DEI initiatives by analyzing how underrepresented employees feel. Do they feel included? Do they feel safe? Is there a high turnover of underrepresented employees? The team shall incorporate inclusivity training campaigns to educate other employees and leaders in the firm about DEI issues. 

All these steps will help to build a strong internal communications system and healthy work environment, boosting the employer brand! 

  1. Evaluate Hiring Tools

HR professionals can get lost in a big tech stack with numerous tools and functionalities. ATS, CRM, email scraping tools, interview schedulers, chatbots, video interviewing, referral platforms, screening tools, etc., form an HR tech stack. TA team shall ask themselves these questions: 

  • How many tools do you have in your HR tech stack? 
  • How much does each tool cost? Are they effective? 
  • How much money and effort is the company saving from each subscription? 
  • Is the team using all the features effectively? 
  • Do we have to upgrade or replace any tool? 

The talent acquisition team should run an audit to evaluate the effectiveness of each HR tool. A tool must either save money, time, or effort for HR professionals. They can also employ a grading system with various HR metrics as the grading factors.

Having the right software/ HR tool is critical, as an inefficient tool will complicate the process and increase the effort. It will lead to resource waste, and the company might lose potential candidates. 

Nurturebox helps companies to seamlessly integrate the tech stack and make the sourcing and hiring process effortless. Recruiters no longer need to spend time on administrative tasks like finding emails, keeping track of all communications, etc. With Nurturebox, they can easily source and engage with desired candidates without moving through multiple applications. It tracks all the conversations and avoids reaching out to the same candidate twice! 

  1. Content Creation

HR teams need content they share with the candidates and employees as a valuable source of information. A big chunk of it comes from the marketing department. However, a slow hiring season is a time to try their hands at writing actionable valuable content to engage with the candidates. It shall include the following: 

  • Ready-to-use templates
  • White papers
  • Case studies 
  • Ebooks
  • Job postings 
  • Email newsletters
  • LinkedIn posts

TA team can place a strategy by picking channels to share content to boost the employer brand. They can take control of the career page and utilize other channels, such as LinkedIn and company blogs, to share hiring success stories or other relevant information. 

Moreover, talent acquisition teams can collaborate with other departments to get employees' stories and build a library of success stories to boast a healthy work environment. Companies like Zapier, and Salesforce take their time out and share employee stories on social media and company websites. In addition to these, the TA team can update the following HR documents as well:

  • Employee contract
  • Recruitment process documents such as offer letter, JD, recruitment tracker, reference check guide
  • Performance appraisal documents such as warning letters, improvement plans, review
  • Employee handbook, including salary structure, bonus calculation, salary tips, etc.
  • Statutory docs such as Wage Ceiling Under EPF Act; PF, ESIC, and MWLF; Statutory Forms; Payment of Gratuity Act

  1. Training Programs for Managers

Slow hiring season implies training/ upskilling time! 

The TA team can curate dedicated training programs for hiring managers. This could include creating an extensive library of webinars, valuable content, workshops, online courses, bias training, certifications, etc. 

Alternatively, TA teams could conduct discussions to collaborate with other departments. This can focus on teaching staff about inclusivity, empathy, resilience, and other vital soft skills. It opens up the opportunity to gain insights from different people and build a robust internal communications system. Additionally, there can be a dedicated curriculum to create a pleasant work environment.

How to create a dedicated HR training program? 

  • Analyze the current HR operations to identify weak spots and bottlenecks. Some of the common weak spots are: difficulty in calculating bonuses, setting salary ranges, handling layoffs, approving or declining leave requests, etc. 
  • Outline the program's learning objectives and content goals based on weak spots and business goals. The team might have to discuss it with the executives to get these approved, ensuring that they align with business goals. It will also need approval from the HR team if it meets their goal. 
  • Compile the training material and put the entire program on the website or other desired channel. The program will include presentations, classroom exercises, guides, resources, reference material, etc., with a proper curriculum. 
  • Inform the team about availability through multiple channels, such as newsletters or communication with the department managers. It should be mandatory for the new hires and some specific topics for all. Some popular topics for the training program are safety and staffing management, labor relations, consulting, etc. 
  • Finally, evaluate the effectiveness by following up with interviews and gathering feedback from the team. Moreover, keep analyzing the KPIs and operational analysis to measure the scope of enhancement. 

  1. Career Page Optimization

Until the hiring season is slow, the team can optimize the existing career page. This includes editing the job descriptions, adding job titles/ types/ locations, and updating all the information while ensuring inclusive language. 

Moreover, they can add employee stories and quotes to brush up on the company's employee value proposition. Moreover, all the information should reflect a healthy work environment and showcase the company culture. All of this helps to set clear expectations and provide exceptional candidate experience. 

While writing inclusive brand messaging, ensure: 

  • Gender-neutral language, instead of 'he/she,' use 'they' or 'the candidate.'
  • Avoid jargon and stick to basics while drafting brand material 
  • Replace stereotypes and culturally appropriate words, like instead of 'blacklist' use 'blocklist.'

One of the best ways to ensure no errors or scope of bias, use tools that help to identify gaps and give alerts for inappropriate language use. 

The TA team shall also spend some time optimizing the job postings to reach more candidates and ensure a wide variety of applications. This can be done by adding location, including skills apart from traditional keywords, leveraging SEO URLs, and including all relevant form fields. This also involves removing unnecessary information or details which aren't directly related to performance. 

  1. Internal Talent Bootcamps

These days, organizations are focusing on internal mobility to retain top talents, eliminate employees that do not add value, and enhance employee engagement. Moreover, the company can enable cross-department collaboration and strengthen the employer brand. 

But what is internal mobility? 

Internal mobility is moving across different departments with different roles to serve. The focus is on skills and basic training, enabling employees to work in multiple departments. 

But how can the talent acquisition team help with internal mobility? 

The TA team can curate training programs to promote internal mobility. This includes analyzing the current skills, understanding the job requirements, and outlining the learning objectives for the training program based on the gap between skills and requirements. 

However, it has many challenges, such as: 

  • Unrealistic expectations due to errors while analyzing the job performance
  • Employee reluctance with the fear of losing job and inability to meet standards
  • Focus solely on the skill while ignoring the capability and potential of an employee, leading to lost opportunity for innovation
  • Inability to communicate the benefits and value of internal mobility with the team 

Internal mobility gives employees a chance to learn and serve in different departments. They leverage their strongest competitive core skills, such as problem-solving, teamwork, communication, and critical thinking. 

For instance, a person serving in the sales department for 5 years switches to the marketing team as a strategist through a 6-month marketing certification. Alternatively, this could mean moving from one location to another, continuing the same position, or with a promotion.

Some of the best practices for setting up internal talent Bootcamp are: 

  • Identify and outline the gap between current and required skills accurately.
  • Train managers to help them identify potential candidates for internal talent boot camps.
  • Provide clear career maps to the employees to set clear expectations and give an idea of they would be spending their time in the organization.
  • Offer valuable learning and development tools and resources to ensure proper training.
  • Communicate the benefits of internal mobility and encourage employees with rewards to take up training programs. 
  • Promote cross-functional projects to enable collaboration and give a rough idea of other departments’ functioning.

Leverage Recruitment Freeze Seamlessly With Nurturebox

Companies undergoing mass layoffs don't imply that hiring is finished forever. The job roles will open shortly, and recruiters will have to start hiring again. To ensure a strong comeback after the slow hiring season, the TA team shall plan strategically for the future. 

The TA team should network with the hiring managers and engage with underrepresented communities to ensure a big talent pool. Moreover, this allows them to stay updated with the hiring trends. Additionally, the TA team can look into the past and current data to predict and forecast the hiring needs and keep themselves prepared for when job vacancies open. They must engage with potential candidates and leverage the power of passive hiring. 

TA team needs to refocus and rearrange efforts to prepare for the future. This includes improving processes, upskilling team members, and consistently working on the employer brand. One thing that remains constant is engaging with potential candidates and analyzing the efforts of HR professionals. 

Nurturebox is an effective solution for sourcing and hiring candidates, even during the slow hiring season. You can easily download the plugin, integrate it with your other HR tools, and start sourcing immediately. You are one plugin away from your dream employee!

No additional hassle of maintaining lists of candidates or tracking all the conversations cause Nurturebox does that. Skip the admin task and focus on reaching out to the top-qualified candidates and engaging with them seamlessly! Additionally, you get an analytics option to identify what's working and what's not to polish your hiring process. 

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