Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
Simple Tips to Keep Candidates Engaged When Hiring Stops Mid-Process

Simple Tips to Keep Candidates Engaged When Hiring Stops Mid-Process

Your hiring process isn’t safe from the unpredictability of the future. It’s an unfortunate fact many hiring pros like yourself have faced or will face at some point in their careers. 

Lowered budgets, an unstable economy, changing talent markets — all have the potential to wreak havoc on your strategically planned hiring process. Because any of these occur unexpectedly, you could be in the middle of hiring when everything comes to a screeching halt. 

So, here you are. You worked diligently to nurture relationships and bring candidates this far into the process — and now you have to pause for an indefinite amount of time. Neglecting to take proper precautions could result in lost candidates, hurt relationships, and even negative company reviews. 

You and your hiring team must take the appropriate measures to maintain positive candidate relationships and keep talent in your pipeline until hiring resumes. With the right steps, you’ll be ready and more equipped than ever to dive right back into the hiring process. 

Here’s what you need to do when hiring is interrupted mid-process: 

Provide clear and transparent communication

A derailed hiring process creates many uncertainties for both you and candidates. And with uncertainties comes countless involuntary reactions, such as fear, hesitation, and stress (just to name a few). 

Depending on the circumstances causing the mid-process pause, you may be reluctant to divulge information to candidates. For example, if your company is experiencing unexpected financial hardships, or if there’s an issue with leaders agreeing on a path for the future, candidates could see the organization in a negative light. After you’ve already worked so hard to get qualified talent this far into the hiring process, you obviously don’t want to lose them now. 

However, withholding information creates irreversible distrust. Most people appreciate honesty, especially when it isn’t all positive information. Keeping communication open and transparent regarding the halt in the hiring process gives candidates key insights into your company. It shows them the leaders cultivate a culture based on transparency with employees, solidifying their interest in the company’s future opportunities even more. 

As you share why the hiring process is paused, also discuss your interest in each candidate. Share specific details about why you were interested in moving forward with them now to give candidates confidence you’ll continue to pursue them once the process begins again. 

Also, be forthcoming about the future. Offer potential timelines for reopening the hiring process and continue to keep candidates updated as those estimates evolve. 

Continue the video interview process

You can’t follow through with hiring right now. So, it probably feels like the entire process should come to a halt. However, stopping everything increases your chances of losing talent from your pipeline. Additionally, it slows hiring once you’re ready to jump back in and begin assessing candidates once again. 

Instead, follow through with the video interview process to keep your team prepared and aligned during the pause. Use one-way and live video interviews to record candidates and track who is most fitting for on-hold roles. 

Send recordings to your entire hiring team. Ask them to rate candidates based on their responses to each question. Also, encourage them to leave comments on: 

  • What responses stood out to them
  • Specifics on why the candidate is or isn’t a good fit for the role
  • Follow-up questions they’d like to ask
  • Other positions they believe would be a good fit for the candidate

When you ease back into the hiring process, your virtual talent library will have videos of those already mid-process and assessment information to help you jump in with more insights than you had before. 

Outside of helping your team build a talent library, moving forward with video interviews also shows candidates you’re serious about continuing on in the hiring process and don’t plan on ghosting them in the future. 

Schedule check-in days

If you haven’t already, now is the time to put yourself in candidates’ shoes. They were in the middle of the hiring process, which means every person thought they were close to landing a new job. Chances are, some were relying on it to get back into the workforce, others wanted to get out of a toxic work environment, and some were just overall excited about the opportunity. 

All of their hopes were unexpectedly put on hold. To help ease frustration and anxiety associated with this type of interruption, schedule follow-up days to catch up. Take advantage of scheduling software that allows you to send a link directly to your calendar. 

Use the time to catch up as a chance to share updates on the process. For example: 

  • Do you have a projected date to start the hiring process back up?  
  • Do you intend to continue hiring for this role? 
    • If not, do you have another role that may be a good fit for them? 
  • What’s stopping the process from restarting now? 
  • What needs to change to help the process move forward? 

Don’t forget to also ask telling questions to reveal where candidates stand: 

  • Are you still interested in this role? 
  • How is your current job situation? 
  • If the hiring for this role is paused longer, would you be interested in another opportunity with the company? 
  • Have you been working on any professional development (i.e. skills, certifications) we should know about?

Before you end your discussion, schedule the next check-in meeting. Let candidates know their scheduled time may change if the hiring process opens before then. But until then, you want to maintain a high level of connection by making candidates feel important to the company’s future. 

Connect with virtual information interviews

Nurturing relationships is always critical in talent sourcing. But when your hiring process is in limbo, it’s even more important to ensure candidates don’t feel forgotten — and don’t forget about you. 

However, keeping candidates interested and informed for an extended period of time is challenging. You want them to feel seen and heard, but at the same time, you can’t spend every minute of your day updating candidates on a role that’s not currently moving forward. 

Use virtual informational interviews to create connections without spending copious amounts of time on each candidate. Ask team members to record one-way video messages that cover FAQs you’ve received throughout the process. 

A few prompts could include: 

  • Share what the work environment is like.
  • Describe the company culture.
  • Explain leaders’ expectations of employees.
  • Explain role expectations.
  • Reveal predictions and goals for the company’s future.
  • Note if a mid-process hiring pause like this has happened before.
  • Discuss your favorite qualities of leadership.
  • Discuss your favorite aspects of working for the company.

Have your team constantly monitor need-to-know information to frequently deliver need-to-know information to candidates. This keeps them from waiting too long without updates. 

At the same time, balance how much information your team shares per video message. Candidates are already thrown by the unexpected shift in the process, which means it’s crucial you don’t overwhelm them further by inundating them with information now. 

Send personalized company updates

You’ve made a connection with these candidates. Chances are, you’ve already interviewed many of them and met in-person or virtually. 

But unfortunately, even though your process is paused, many candidates continue looking for roles. If they’re not actively looking, they’re being sought-after by other companies. Your role to keep them interested and informed on company updates is imperative. 

Send personalized video updates to preserve their interest in the company. Use branded video messages to keep your company’s brand and leaders top of mind in between now and reentering the process. For instance, something seemingly simple — like adding your company’s logo and color to a video message — makes all the difference as candidates determine the best career move. 

A video message from you furthers the personalization. Candidates hear key company updates, such as short- and long-term goals, updates in the hiring process, and overall changes in the company from someone they already know. As a result, you increase trust and connectivity to you and the organization as a whole. 

Offer projects when possible

Sending company updates is important, of course. However, updates leave potential unanswered questions on the table. 

Offer candidates paid (if possible) take-home projects to further engage them during this time. Similar to how you would treat a contractor, send instructions, introduce them to the person leading the project, and offer an introductory call to answer any initial questions. 

Offering one-off projects at this stage benefits candidates and hiring pros alike. You gain a deeper understanding of the level of skills and knowledge candidates have to complete tasks associated with an open role. Of course, this also means seeing many other skills and traits, including perseverance, creativity, communication, and more. 

On the flip side, candidates get to truly assess if the role meets their expectations. They determine if the job description matches their unique perception of the role and if they’ll actually like performing specific tasks like this one. 

Once candidates complete projects, ask team leads to share their input on the candidate’s performance and attitude toward the task. Give candidates the opportunity to also share their experience. Listen for cues revealing they’re maybe not the right fit for the position or company, or even that the job description doesn’t accurately reflect the role. 

Compare notes from team leads and candidates to gauge who you believe fits best at this time. Use these notes when the hiring process starts back up to create unique interview questions for candidates and address any potential issues immediately.

How to Make Virtual Interviews a Lasting Part of the Hiring Process

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.