Talent Acquisition Actions to Take During Hiring Slowdowns

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Jan 30, 2023

We need to work on that, but we’re too busy right now. 

It’s likely that you have this thought many times — but when hiring slows down, you have an opportunity to tackle your ever-growing list. It’s a rare opportunity to tackle the projects that get filed away as tomorrow’s worry, as well as a chance to get a head start on building the efficiency and the pipeline you’ll need when hiring comes back in full force.

Read on for a list of ideas from my own TA team.

Build an Engaged Pipeline

Talent fuels organizational growth, and a hiring lull doesn’t mean the organization should stop engaging with and pipelining great talent. Here are a few ways to build a bigger, healthier, more engaged pipeline of talent:

  • Meet with business leaders to understand their talent plans and forecasted hiring needs. Leverage this plan to build strong pipelines that are tailored to the most critical talent needs.
  • Optimize your candidate relationship management system with role- or skill-based pipeline,s along with notes, tags, and statuses for a more targeted engagement strategy.
  • Create newsletters highlighting your culture (video is great here!) and other recruitment marketing content.​ Build a content calendar, and plan for tracking results.
  • Strengthen your talent sourcing and engagement strategy by developing reach-out templates to use as a starting point for candidate conversations. Document top sources and engagement best practices by role type. A/B testing can be a great way to gauge the strength of your messaging.
  • Do you have visibility into your internal talent? This is a good time to build an internal mobility strategy.

Evaluate Your Employer Brand

How your company is perceived as an employer is an important aspect of your ability to attract and engage top talent. Use this time to conduct an analysis in three key areas: sentiment, reach, and efficiency.

  • Visit employer review sites to see (and respond to) what candidates and employees are saying about your company. ​Pull out key themes, and assess your overall rating. ​
  • Analyze your reach. Are your efforts reaching the desired audience size? Are people engaging with your content?
  • Get a baseline measurement of your recruiting efficiency. How much do different candidate engagement tactics cost? What is the return on investment?
  • Create goals for improvement. Add initiatives against these areas to your 2023 talent plan.​
  • Once you’ve done this, it’s a great time to head over to your careers site with a fresh pair of eyes. Get the whole team involved, and create a list of updates you’d like to make in 2023. ​

Review Your Technology Stack

Talent acquisition teams rely on technology to enable efficient, optimized, and quality processes. Use this time to:

  • Optimize how your ATS is set up and evaluate if your team’s needs have changed. Look at the performance of your ATS, not just from a candidate’s experience perspective but also your talent team’s.
  • Investigate opportunities to automate recruiting processes and establish integrations between systems, both of which eliminate a lot of manual work.
  • Engage in team training, and hold regular small group sessions to practice together what you’re learning.
  • Can you easily pull the key metrics you need to drive your talent strategy? This is a great time to research reporting options and build data-driven dashboards.​
  • Read new release notes and incorporate updates into your existing talent tech.

Fine-Tune Candidate Experience​

This is an opportune time to improve your candidate experience and work toward a more personalized, efficient, and high-touch process.

  • Review your application process from start to finish. Apply directly to a job. Optimize the process to help reduce potential bias and drop-off rates. Add new opportunities for candidate engagement and employer branding. Consider adding a video about how to join a talent community to your thank-you email, as well as a video about the hiring process to your first-contact email.​
  • Analyze all candidate communication templates. Use tools to help write inclusive job postings, sourcing reach-outs, and employer-brand content before it filters out great candidates.​
  • Evaluate your interview process and implement guides per area of the business. For example, Lou Alder’s book Hire With your Head: Using Performance-Based Hiring to Build Outstanding Diverse Teams is a great resource for implementing performance-based hiring. ​
    Candidate experience applies to internal applicants, as well. Update the internal employee application process and internal careers portal with helpful career growth content, video, and skill-matching tools. ​

There are a lot of ways to make the most of this moment and execute strategic initiatives that will help you scale in the future. As you develop your goals, it can be helpful to create a tracker to keep everyone aligned on critical initiatives, milestones, and timelines. An executive briefing can also be created to share the great work coming out of TA with company leaders, who will be interested in how the team is preparing for the future. Plus, it’s a good way to showcase the critical value derived from TA even when hiring slows down.

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