7 Impactful Things Recruiters Can Do If Hiring Has Slowed Down

April 22, 2020

Photo of woman working from home at a table with her cat eating next to her

With hiring slowing down across many sectors, recruiting teams are refocusing their energy on new projects and challenges. From pipelining talent for the future and building out their employer brand strategies, to helping organizations on the frontline recruit for critical roles,  recruiters are demonstrating the value of their unique skill set.

To learn more about what recruiting teams are working on right now, we spoke with talent leaders from different industries as well as our own recruiting team at LinkedIn. Based on their answers, here are seven things recruiting teams are working on:

1. Nurturing and building a pipeline of talent for the future

As many companies have paused or slowed down hiring, recruiters are spending more time building and nurturing their talent pipeline. 

To keep candidates warm, they’re focusing on being transparent and compassionate to make sure candidates know they have not forgotten about them. This means sending them a message or even giving them a call to check in and keep them up to date. 

“You can still be connecting with people and having conversations,” Laura Leyland, founder and managing director of Fresh Perspective Resourcing, advises in a video on LinkedIn. “Start building up a network of candidates that would be of interest to you and nurturing that network… so when you do start recruiting, you’re not necessarily starting at square one.”

2. Volunteering to help other organizations recruit for critical roles battling COVID-19

As hiring has slowed, some recruiting teams are giving their time to help organizations recruit for volunteer or full-time positions specifically for COVID-19 response. 

For example, as an expansion of LinkedIn’s Recruiting for Good program, more than 40 LinkedIn recruiters are dedicating their time to helping source talent for healthcare organizations, hospitals, and disaster relief nonprofits fighting COVID-19. 

“This could be connecting a retired nurse with the skills to help treat patients or someone looking to support their neighbors who need a helping hand with the organizations that most need them,” writes Meg Garlinghouse, head of social impact at LinkedIn. 

In the coming weeks, the team is hoping to expand this effort to organizations in other sectors as well.

3. Strengthening strategic initiatives like employer branding and diversity and inclusion

Even though employer branding and diversity and inclusion (D&I) are always key initiatives for most companies, now teams can use the time to dive deeper and build out plans for the future. 

On the employer branding side, teams are focusing on developing digital assets conveying company culture and values, similar to the legendary Netflix culture deck, and capturing moments reflecting the resilience and support employees are showing for each other. Teams are also re-evaluating their social media strategies and adjusting to the new voice and tone appropriate for the current reality.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, recruiters are making strategic plans, assessing priority talent pools, and coming up with tactics to keep diverse talent in the pipeline. They are also partnering with their broader HR team to make sure diverse talent feels included once they join the company — for example, H&M is taking this time to develop strategies around inclusion and career development for underrepresented employees. 

“It really leaves room for planning,” says Ezinne Kwubiri, H&M’s head of inclusion and diversity for North America, “so that the next time there’s an open position, we can no longer say that we were moving so fast that we didn't have the time to put the strategy in place.”

4. Taking the time to learn new skills

One of the most popular ways recruiting teams are redirecting their time is toward learning. According to our data, professionals spent 3X more time watching learning videos on LinkedIn Learning in the first week of April, compared to the first week of January.

For recruiters, key areas of learning focus are storytelling, using data, influencing business leaders, and practicing mindfulness. Talent leaders also reported that many teammates are using the time to expand their skills in areas outside of recruiting, such as marketing or even data visualization in Tableau. 

5. Helping teams across the company with urgent projects

At some companies, recruiters are pitching in to help other business functions that are overwhelmed. One team has been tasked with creating a virtual call center to help employees impacted by the virus, while others are figuring out the most effective way to pair their people with tasks they’re well-suited for. 

“Our program consists of a project sharing initiative that matches employee-generated tasks and projects to available employee resources within the organization,” explains Steve Mair, vice president of talent acquisition at Procore Technologies. “The program has been live for just over a week, and we’ve had 130 applications for 46 projects generated across the organization — from customer success to marketing to R&D — and 93 total matches, because some projects need more than one person on them.”

So far, Procore has been able to find matches for almost all its open projects. It has even been able to match people with departments they’re interested in learning more about, allowing them to gain exposure to other parts of the business, develop new skills, and build stronger cross-departmental relationships. 

6. Doubling down on internal recruiting for high-priority roles

Internal recruiting was already gaining traction before the hiring slowdown, with LinkedIn data showing role changes within organizations increasing by 10% over the past five years. And right now, many recruitment teams are tapping into internal talent to fill high-priority roles. 

In the UK, for example, the internal redeployment team at Interserve, a support services and construction company, is reaching out to furloughed employees offering the opportunity to transfer to active roles supporting the UK government’s COVID-19 response efforts. 

Overall, as internal recruiting has typically been ad hoc and employee-driven, recruiters are now taking this time to build out more structured programs. A first step many are taking is mapping existing employee skill sets against open roles and improving the discoverability of internal openings.

7. Checking administrative tasks off their to-do list

Many recruiting leaders we talked to said their teams are making headway on to-do lists that they always planned to get around to but never quite found the time for in the past.

This has included updating process policies and best practices, streamlining internal training documents, and exploring ways to automate repetitive manual tasks. One leader even mentioned that his team is evaluating a resume-reviewing bot, while another pointed out that now is the perfect time to dive into compliance training. 

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