Cater to candidates during a hiring-freeze: Leverage the employee experience

Just because you're not actively hiring, doesn't mean that you should stop catering to your future candidates

Intern Jennifer O’Malley has written this article for us – enjoy!

The COVID-19 health crisis has led to many companies opting for a hiring freeze; to conserve their employee numbers and take care of existing staff. On the surface, with no or limited recruitment occurring, it may seem that the candidate experience and talent attraction have been put on the back-burner, but in fact, investing in your current staff (and advertising it) feeds into talent attraction and can enrich your future candidates’ experience.

Let’s get into how.

How Are the Candidate and Employee Experience Linked?

Employee experience

The candidate experience involves how an applicant experiences your company, and perceives your brand as attractive or otherwise, based on each interaction you have with them. Such interactions span the entire hiring process which can leave a lasting impression on candidates. For example, this can be the informative value of your careers site and the post-interview feedback you provide.

If provided with a poor experience, talented applicants may not re-apply or even apply in the first place. This has the potential to reduce brand loyalty too, causing candidates to stop using your services (depending on your company’s offering).

The employee experience is what a staff member observes and feels about their company’s culture, work/life balance, and overall brand through their encounters. Their experiences can then serve to inform prospective employees about the realities of their job role and the workplace.

With many organisations temporarily stopping new hires to preserve their workforce during the pandemic, it is highly useful to leverage this hyper-focus on current employees to your company’s advantage. Have staff become advocates of your business by voicing their experiences (pre- and post- COVID) on your careers site and social channels. Authentic, real-life stories will build your employer brand, attracting talented candidates for whenever you are ready to start hiring again.

The candidate experience and the employee experience are not separate entities – use your employees today to help you find talent of tomorrow.

Happy Employees Are Happy to Talk

Their experiences act as real-life and real-time examples of what it would be like to work at a given establishment. 

Employees may already be spreading news and experiences with your organisation on other social channels or by word of mouth. Now is a great time to harness their stories towards talent attraction, by influencing potential candidates to consider working for you in future. Transform staff into the spokespersons candidates need to hear from, that provide authentic insights to inform their application choices.

Ethical Job Seekers

As future candidates can also be potential or current buyers, evoking a positive experience for them, in and out of the hiring process, is essential. 

The way candidates see your employees being treated can impact their decision to apply later, as well as determine their brand loyalty and purchasing behaviour now. A study by Han and Lee (2020) examining the employee experience-customer loyalty connection displays this. The employee experience was found to positively affect customer loyalty, especially when their experiences were seen as authentic.

As people seek authenticity and honesty to inform their choices, the public are becoming increasingly more ethical consumers and ethical job seekers . They do not want to buy from or work for a company or industry that does not value their employees. 

This is seen with French shoppers’ reaction to the dairy industry. Dairy farmers were struggling financially and mentally from having to accept sub-par payment from big retailers for their milk. However, when brand C’est qui le patron?! (Who’s The Boss?) – their slogan being “this product pays its producer a fair price” – offered an ethical alternative to consumers, shoppers jumped at the opportunity to help. By paying €4 extra a year for milk, the French people have supported C’est qui le patron?!’s cause and subsequently increased the income of 3,000+ farmers and manufacturers.

And what about the big retailers? Their poor employee experience and unethical practices has lost them almost 11.5 million French customers to C’est qui le patron?!, and farmers may be less inclined to work with big retailers again.

How are you going to show future candidates Who’s The Boss? 

Ensure your company’s values and ethos are easy to find – show how you are upholding them in the workplace. And if your workplace isn’t exactly where you want it to be? Say so! Supply a strategy on how you will improve so candidates know that you are bettering the experience your company provides.

Future Candidates Might Not Always Be a New Face

Now is also the perfect time to promote internal growth – do you know your staff’s skill set? This may have grown since you initially hired them.

A recent Forbes article highlights the benefits of using your existing employees’ untapped skills to supplement other growing areas of your business. Re-jigging your workforce internally can help your business flourish as well as ‘increasing employee engagement and agility’.

Here’s an example:

Finance Dave

‘Dave’ from finance, over the past few years, has set up his own e-commerce store. He sells home designed and printed t-shirts and is now interested in merchandising and marketing. To tap into Dave’s new skills you must think:

  1. Is there good communication across teams? 
  2. Does Dave have access to insights from members of the marketing team and can he reach them easily? 
  3. Has Dave enjoyed his time at the company and does he feel supported?
  4. Is Dave happy to take on more responsibility in a different area?
  5. Are you happy to pay him for it? 

By redistributing talent, your business can still have the additional help it needed during a hiring-freeze. In future, this practice can be used again to save time and money on sourcing and training an external candidate. By integrating your vacancy requirements into an existing role, you only have to budget for your gifted employee’s (Dave’s) additional payment, instead of a new hire’s full salary. This gives your employee the room to grow their skills whilst being cost-effective to you. Win-win.

Of course, this is all reliant on Dave’s employee experience. If Dave has not enjoyed his time at the company, he will be less inclined to come forward as a candidate. This shows how essential it is to foster both a strong employee and candidate experience – they feed into one another.

It’s All Up to You

Just because you are not actively hiring, does not mean that you should stop catering to your future candidates.

Harness your positive employee experience and use it to supplement your candidate experience. Use your employees as ambassadors, have their stories attract desirable talent and – don’t forget – they could be potential candidates too. Show candidates and customers alike that you care for your current employees and you will care for new staff that you onboard. This way, you show that you are an authentic, responsible and considerate employer whose top priorities are to gain, nurture and grow the talents of your staff.

How can we help?

PathMotion is an online discussion platform that connects job candidates directly to real employees via the company’s career website.

PathMotion lets today’s digitally savvy job seekers find the content they truly want by allowing employee advocates to share their personal stories through online discussions, live chat events, video content and social media integrations. This improves the employer brand and accelerates talent acquisition and recruiting. Organisations like Air France, Deloitte, Post Office, AXA, the NHS, Citi and more choose PathMotion to increase their qualified applicants by over 200% and improve their job offer acceptance rate by 65%.

Find out more at and follow @PathMotion on Twitter. 

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