How are you staying engaged with candidates whether you are hiring or not?

May 22, 2020 - Joe Matar

We realize sustaining positive experiences with candidates when you can't give them what they want most (an offer!) is tough. Our TA experts speak to some of the things they're doing to show their candidates they're important and wanted. 

Responses are centered on transparency about hiring timelines and building long-term relationships through frequent touchpoints.

Peter Brooks, VP of Talent Acquisition at Northrop Grumman

On your question, we are very much still hiring and have over 9,000 requisitions open.  We’re leveraging every tool we have to interview and select candidates, but we’re also trying to take this time to extend greater candidates who are in queue (e.g.., under hiring manager review, dispositioned out of one requisition but perhaps a good candidate for alternative roles).  Last week, we held a virtual Q&A on Zoom with hundreds of candidates, giving them greater insight into our different campuses, projects and overall mission.  We gave them a deep dive in our benefits package and EVP, and we had several engineering leaders involved so that they could speak directly to business leaders and technologists.

If there is an upside to this COVID-19 situation, it’s the renewed emphasis on candidate (or even prospect) experience.  If you fundamentally believe that we are all in this together, it’s underscored the imperative to treat candidates with the care they deserve and utilize technology to make meaningful connections with people who are interested in a career with Northrop Grumman.


Shannon Smedstad, Senior Employer Brand Strategist and Engagement Director at exaqueo

Love this question ...

From what we've seen and heard in the market, many employers are still struggling to adjust candidate communications strategies to the current climate. Something as simple as a career site banner or pop-up to inform candidates isn't seen as a priority, and HR and TA leaders who want to say something are getting pushback from internal stakeholders. Some employers, such as Gap Inc., Humana, Dick's Sporting Goods, Whole Foods, Home Depot, and Microsoft are strong examples of employers communicating (via their career sites) to candidates in a thoughtful, authentic way -- regardless of hiring status. 


Brandon Prideaux, Director of Talent Acquisition at HCA Healthcare

So I'm not just saying this because I am your friend and customer. But honestly, we've turned to Brazen virtual events heavily. We are doing them bi-monthly now in 3 separate markets. We are not hiring for many positions at all at this time. But we are using these as open information sessions. We do not do any paid advertising for them, just organic. We're finding that people have really liked what they have heard about HCA during these times when maybe their current employer hasn't made the same choices. And they want to know more. So by being open and accessible, answering questions, and keeping their information for the days when we do have an open roll for them, the candidates seem to be really satisfied and content. It's working very well to continue to build the pipeline, be connected and transparent, and work for the future. A future we know will eventually return with more demand for talent than we have right now. Couldn't be happier with the Brazen product. We even built a playbook around virtual events and their success. 

Brian White, Executive Director of Human Resources and Operations at Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437

Relationships are key to talent acquisition... and a critical component in any relationship is communication.  Whether you are hiring or not, you must still remember to connect, stay engaged, and communicate with your talent pool. If you don't communicate with them when they need it, they may not want to communicate with you when you need them.


Blake J. Thiess, Director of Talent Acquisition at Prestige Care, Inc.

They key here is to 10x’ing your employment branding efforts on social media – we have been highlighting our own team members company wide which has been very engaging!


Kokoro Robinson, Director at Global Talent Acquisition & Possibility Advocate

We are staying in touch with candidates via email and via our careers page. We are being transparent about the fact that we are not hiring, but we are also giving candidates the option of submitting their resume for positions where future needs exist. We are very upfront and transparent and they can either opt in and apply, or they can opt out and not submit their resume.

When hiring starts up again, we will contact those candidates are meet the criteria to engage. For the candidate who are not a fit, we will them know.


Theresa Mazzaro, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Suburban Hospital, a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine

It’s interesting working in the hospital setting right now. Some of our positions are on hold and we are full steam ahead on others. We’ve had several candidates go all the way through the interview process and then we aren’t able to make an offer.

I believe in complete transparency in recruitment so I tell them the situation (whatever that situation is) and give them bi-weekly updates and keep the door open if they have questions at any point in time.  I still need to keep them engaged, so I have been sharing videos of all of the amazing things that are happening at Suburban Hospital and throughout our Johns Hopkins Healthcare System. I even sent a TikTok clip to a couple of candidates. 

While I am sourcing for candidates for positions that were open (and now on hold), even though I may not know when we can interview or hire, I still use our videos and our stories of community to share information. It’s not about the job opening, it’s about the people they will be working with every day, crisis or not.

By the way, I really respect healthcare workers who aren’t leaving their current organization right now because they want to see their hospital through this crisis before changing jobs. That’s class.


Susan LaMotte, CEO + Founder at exaqueo

The three pillars of candidate communication are even more important now. Candidates expect honesty—they want to know if you’re actually hiring and if you’re not, what your expectations are for re-starting hiring again. The value authenticity. If you’re struggling, tell them! If you’re unsure about the future, explain that too. It shows them the reality of your organization’s current state and they’ll appreciate understanding where both the strengths and struggles exist. Finally, be responsive. Now is absolutely not the time to leave candidates in purgatory. Create clear, immediate communications to use for every candidate disposition scenario—even if you’re not sure what the next step might be. Then communicate as quickly as you can. Our team shares templates you can use here.


Mona Javid, Manager Talent Management at 3Pillar Global

Finally time to truly flex your Talent Acquisition muscles. Some of us may not be actively hiring right now but instead we can focus truly on actively pipelining the best-fit talent for our companies. Our TA team has spent their time focusing on building their candidate pipeline and building stronger relationships while having thoughtful and transparent conversations that are not overwhelmed by a tight timeline. We enter each conversation with an honest conversation of our current state but share with them our future strategy and continue the process with multiple stakeholder engagement just like we would in any given situation. We also encourage them to stay connected with us and invite them to join company public initiatives such as webinars to have them further build a relationship with our company.   This time allows us to build a large network and make more friends of the firm and potential new team members.


Jen Tracy, VP of Recruiting Solutions at Spectrum

One on the most challenging audiences we needed to really stay close to during the last two months was our interns who had already received offers for our summer internship.  We chose the approach of sending more frequent messages even if we didn’t have a clear picture of our final plans.  People appreciate the connection and effort which also lends itself to be more authentic which creates a trusting relationship.  Ultimately we are having three different offerings we are offering this summer all with abbreviated timelines but likely will meet more needs because we took the time to socialize with all constituents.

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