The coronavirus outbreak has led to some significant changes in working practices, with measures being put in place to safeguard employees and protect business for the future. This has led to some difficult business decisions being made, often at short notice. One of these decisions is around what do about recruitment.

In deciding whether to put recruitment on hold we have identified some top tips to consider when making this decision.

  1. Determine whether you are putting a hold on recruitment of certain roles or halting all recruitment.

  2. If you are at the initial stage of advertising and receiving applications but know that you will not be in a position to take recruitment forward for the foreseeable future write to all applicants. Explain that recruitment is now on hold and that you will not be in a position to take their application forward, but you would like to retain it in order to come back to them in the future.

  3. If you have already shortlisted and now need to freeze the recruitment process let shortlisted candidates know that you will continue the process as soon as possible.

  4. If you have already interviewed and have a preferred candidate but are not in a position to make an offer at this stage let them know that this is the case and that you will come back to them as soon as you can. Make it clear that you are not making an offer at this stage.

  5. Consider whether the role is going to be needed as it is currently defined in the future; you may need to change the role requirements. If you are unsure whether the role requirements will be the same as currently defined and advertised it would be wise to freeze recruitment until you are clear.

  6. If the role is a very specific/technical one, which has currently left a gap in skills within the business that are needed now and in the foreseeable future, it may be prudent to continue the recruitment process as far as practicable.

  7. If this is a new role, review how the work is currently being covered and whether it is possible to delay the work into the future.

  8. If the role is a replacement, consider how it is currently being covered and whether you can continue to manage this without putting undue pressure on other members of the team. Consider whether the team has the capacity and the skill to take on more.

  9. You need to evaluate whether you will you be able to offer a new recruit an appropriate induction and initial training. If these will not be in place, you may want to consider deferring start dates until you and members of the team are able to dedicate the time to a proper onboarding process.

  10. If you do decide to halt recruitment make sure you explain this clearly to other staff so that they don’t see this as a sign that the business may be in trouble and unnecessarily worry.

Use the COVID-19 workforce planner to help you navigate other complex workforce planning decisions and for more resources visit the Coronavirus Hub.