Continue to engage with candidates that have been offered jobs

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HR Company Solutions' Kristine da Silva says not to keep new yet unofficial hires in the dark.

Due to Covid-19, many businesses are putting new hires on hold. Before the lockdown period began, companies had been recruiting and making job offers to candidates that they felt were fit to join their organisations. However, some candidates were unlucky and didn’t receive their job offers before the lockdown period had begun. 

As the new employer, not providing the potential candidate that you have given a verbal job offer to with any feedback on when they will receive their written job offer during the lockdown puts them in what I like to call “the unknown zone”. This could be harmful to both the new employer and the candidate. The candidate needs the security of the job offer in writing from their new employer to allow them to then resign from their current employer even if the starting dates are not explicitly mentioned in the written offer. The offer can also state something along the lines of 'starting once the lockdown period is over.'

Should a company take too long to send the written offer, the candidate might lose interest or keep their options open in case something else that comes their way. A good way to keep a candidate interested is to provide them with feedback, inform them that the delay from sending the written job offer is out of their hands but they can expect it in their mailbox asap. This way, the candidate has that security from their new employer and won't pass up on another opportunity that comes their way.

The negative effects it has on all businesses other than essential trade imply that, when the lockdown period is over and the candidate has not yet received his/her written job offer, they might be in a position where company informs the candidate that they are now in a complicated position and want to rather put the job offer on hold or retract the job offer completely until all is back up and running in the organisation.

It is important for companies to understand the implications of holding out on a job offer in this period. You might risk losing the best fitting candidate that can join your company when the lockdown period is over, who may have better enabled the organisation to hit the ground running once things start to return to normal.  That individual may have even been able to play an important role in growing the organisation, so be sure not to dismiss the idea of following through on your prior decision to bring them in. At the  very least, give them the courtesy of letting them know of the company's plans for them. 

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