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6 Things Creatives Should Do During a Hiring Freeze

Were you interested in a company or in the process of interviewing and they announced a hiring freeze? What do you do next? Unfortunately, COVID-19’s impact on the economy has increased the likelihood that you might find yourself in this scenario when job searching. 

What exactly does a hiring freeze mean? How long do they typically last? And is a hiring freeze a bad sign? First, Creatives On Call will answer some of these common questions, and then we’ll advise on what creatives should do if they find themselves in this situation.

What Does a Hiring Freeze Mean?
A hiring freeze means a company has halted hiring for all non-essential positions. A company usually goes on a hiring freeze to reduce costs during a time of uncertain economic conditions, or financial struggle. However, there is a loophole.

During a hiring freeze, a company cannot hire from the outside or create a new position. But they can still hire for essential positions and they often use freelancers or contractors to get necessary work done.

How Long Does a Hiring Freeze Usually Last?

A hiring freeze is usually short-term and can last anywhere from 3-6 months. The freeze could extend to a year or longer depending on the situation.

Is a Hiring Freeze a Bad Sign?
Not, necessarily. A hiring freeze means the company is taking the necessary precautions to remain profitable and avoid laying off employees. It may be a good sign the company values their employees (by trying to avoid lay-offs) and makes good decisions to stay in business. Read more her about how COVID-19 has impacted our view of companies.

What Should Creatives Do?

Learning a company you’ve had your eye on is implementing a hiring freeze can be discouraging- but there is a silver lining. If you are in the interview phase, it’s better to know about it before you receive an offer, so you don’t quit your job and not have a new job to go to.

And if you are in the creative field, a hiring freeze can be an opportunity to get paid contract work, since companies are allowed to hire freelancers and contractors during a hiring freeze. After learning of a hiring freeze, here’s what you should do next:

1. Focus on What You Can Control

It’s easy to succumb to fear during turbulent economic times, especially if you’ve lost your job and are trying to find a new one. Don’t let panic and fear take over though. Manage anxiety by focusing on what you can control. In job searching there are a lot of outside factors that are not within your power to control. A company’s decision to go on a hiring freeze is not in your control. You also can’t control when a hiring manager will get back to you or your resume and application will be reviewed. 

The best thing to do is to focus on what you do have power over, which is your actions and your emotions. When you’ve done everything you can do on your end, all there’s left to do is wait patiently for the results and maintain a positive outlook.

2. Ask Questions

Ask the hiring manager or your contact at the company the reason for the hiring freeze. The reason for the hiring freeze will tell you a lot about the company’s financial position and future.Ask when they expect to be hiring again.

Get as much information as possible so you can stay in touch with HR and reach out when they will be hiring again. Companies still want to keep a pipeline of talent. Asking for an informational interview can help you learn more about the organization and keep your name top of mind.

3. Leverage What You Learn

When you’re asking questions about the reason for the hiring freeze, solicit feedback on your resume and application. Feedback is your friend when job searching. Apply the feedback in the next job you apply for.

Leverage what you learn about the company as well. Watch their communication and keep tabs on them during the hiring freeze. Note how they treat employees, what employees are saying, and how they conduct business during a financial crisis. Their response may make you more interested or turn you off. Either way, it’s good to monitor their behavior and see if this is a company you want to work for in the future.

4. Pitch Yourself as a Contractor or Freelancer

Have you ever considered freelancing or taking on contract work? It might be a perfect time. Taking on contract work is an excellent way to have some income between jobs, even if it’s not your end goal. In a recent article, Forbes reports more companies will rely on freelancers as a result of COVID-19.

Ask if the company can hire you for short-term projects as a contractor. Pitch your skills, experience, and expertise. If you haven’t done so already, pull together a portfolio showcasing your work and research freelance rates in your field.

Freelancers are more cost-effective for a company than hiring a full-time employee with benefits, and they fill critical skill gaps. Remind the company of these benefits as you pitch them to hire you on a contract basis.

5. Maintain the Relationship

Keep in contact with the hiring manager whether you’re going to work with an organization as a contractor or wait for when they start hiring again. Ask the hiring manager to keep you in mind for when they resume hiring. Use LinkedIn to keep connected and reach out periodically to check-in.

Networking is about the relationship. Prioritize the relationship over the outcome and keep it positive. You never know where the connection may lead. If you don’t end up getting a job with the company, your contact may be able to recommend you as a good candidate to one of their peers. Maintaining your relationship with your contact at the company will open opportunities that may surprise you. 

6. Keep Applying and Interviewing

If you’re serious about searching for a new job, keep on searching, applying, interviewing, and reach out to your Creatives On Call recruiter to keep you in the loop for what is new. There are no guarantees when a company goes on a hiring freeze, so it’s best to act as if it’s not an option and move on to other opportunities.

It could be months or years before you land a job with the company on a hiring freeze. You could miss out on an even better opportunity in the meantime. Take the information you learned from the experience and the feedback you’ve been given to land the next job opportunity.

A Hiring Freeze is an Opportunity

The words hiring freeze are words no-one wants to hear when interviewing or job seeking. Remember that a hiring freeze is temporary. Companies will be hiring once again when the economy and financial situations stabilize. If you have the right attitude, it could be an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.

For creatives, a hiring freeze could be the launching pad to working for yourself as an independent contractor, or it could be a solution to have some income while you’re looking for a full-time position with benefits. Use this opportunity to learn more about the company you want to work for and about your strengths in the job market.

Need advice with re-vamping your portfolio or resume as you get back at it? Or are you looking for a new opportunity? Creatives On Call is here for you. Reach out to kerri.thomas@creativesoncall.com or get in touch with us through our website. 

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