Times are obviously uncertain now.  Unfortunately, many organizations are having to put their hiring needs on hold temporarily.  In some cases, hiring managers have a desire to pause the process until in-person interviews can be conducted.  In other cases, companies are hesitant to hire, due to current business and economic conditions and have placed hiring activities on hold, for the time being.  Whatever the case, it’s important to keep candidates engaged during this holding pattern.  At one point, you’re going to need to hire again, and may want to re-visit with them, or people they might know.  Maintaining a positive candidate experience will yield dividends in the long run.  Here are some ways to do so:

1.  Communicate, communicate, communicate.  If your hiring activities have paused, regardless of the reason, inform your candidates.  Share the update with them, as well as when you anticipate resuming the hiring process.  If that is unknown, be transparent with them about that.  Check in with them from time to time – a quick call or note will go a long way with someone, especially during times like these.

2.  Share Advice.  There may be areas of opportunity that you identified during the interview, that might be helpful for them to do online training or sharpen their skills during this downtime.  This is something helpful that a candidate might do to get them better prepared to quickly be a productive member of your team in the future.  The candidate will appreciate someone taking the time to help them broaden their skills. 

3.  Be Mindful and Aware.  Keep in mind that some may be negatively impacted by a layoff, or decrease in work.  Many people are dealing with stressful times, and the update from you may significantly be impacting their livelihood.  Although you cannot change the course of action that is right for your business, the delivery of the message in a transparent, positive and encouraging way is important.

4.  Execution of a Layoff.  In the unfortunate case that your organization faces layoffs during this time, ensure it’s done in the most positive way possible.  These may be your candidates in the future.  In the case that they are not, they may know candidates that you’ll want to consider in the future.  Word of mouth is powerful, and how companies handle things in the most stressful times, may make or break your company’s reputation and ability to successfully hire top talent in the future.