Posting Jobs During A Hiring Freeze? Don’t.

The hiring freeze is an all too common scenario, especially right now. If you’re not familiar with the world of recruiting, a hiring freeze is when a company (often suddenly) puts a halt on all things hiring. I got a call from a friend who was experiencing just that, but with a twist. Let me explain.

In my friend’s case, hundreds of roles were approved for hiring on Monday. Their recruiting team was feeling overwhelmed, but excited. That’s what recruiters love after all – hiring people. They got all the jobs posted and began scheduling interviews. Just a few days later, a new announcement. All hiring for the company was on a freeze for the next six weeks. Maybe longer.  

As leaders were deciding what to do moving forward, the C-suite suggested the recruiters just leave job postings open. “Great people will apply and then we’ll have a pipeline,” was their justification. I could feel my head shaking no as I read this.

Take Down Jobs You Aren’t Really Hiring

While hiring freezes are nothing new, it is shocking to me that a big public company can open hundreds of roles on a Monday and have an entirely new strategy by Friday. I struggle to believe no one knew what was coming just a few days earlier when all those roles were approved. They usually don’t move that fast to do, well, anything.

But the idea they would leave jobs open despite knowing they could/would not be hiring anyone is a whole new level of shock for me – in a bad way. It feels even worse when I login to LinkedIn and see job seekers posting their “metrics” aka how many jobs they applied to, how many they did interviews for, etc.

No one deserves to do all the work to complete an application that has no hope of ever leading to them being hired. It becomes a series of dents on their confidence and makes them believe no one wants them when in reality, the opportunity never really existed. Here they are literally counting every action and just praying it would turn into something that could change their lives while the C-suite ponders creating requisitions just to serve their own purposes someday. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a great strategy. You should build a pipeline – but you have to disclose that this is a pipeline job and not a “we’ll hire you right now if you’re the best candidate” opportunity.

Don’t Negatively Impact Your Employer Brand

The toll of this talent strategy isn’t just on the candidate’s confidence. There’s a toll on your employer brand, too. Candidates have a long memory for the jobs they apply to and never hear back from. They will make decisions about your products based on that application experience.

That negative reputation adds up. On average, it costs businesses a significant amount of money to make up for a bad reputation: close to $5,000 per hire, according to Harvard Business Review. When you consider that turnover is higher in companies with negative employer brands, those numbers really begin to add up. (Source)

All so you can post a job that’s not even real? I think not. It’s not a strategic choice to keep jobs open to build a pipeline. It’s damaging to every bit of work you’ve ever done on employer brand and to other people’s psychology. That’s a cost that’s just too high.

If you are on a hiring freeze, please for all of us, take down the jobs that you aren’t actually hiring for at the time. If you insist on accepting applications when you’re not hiring, set up some generic form where you tell people you are not hiring right now but will accept resumes. Don’t you dare post a job with titles and descriptions that gets scraped out to every job board on the internet if you don’t intend on hiring the best candidate that comes along. It’s inhumane in a million ways.

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Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster,, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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