A hiring freeze just stopped your job application in its tracks. Here's exactly how to respond

A hiring freeze just stopped your job application in its tracks. Here's exactly how to respond
Nikita Gupta is the cofounder of the consultancy FAANGPATH.Nikita Gupta
  • It's understandable to feel confused and disappointed if a company pauses hiring mid-application.
  • Insider asked two recruiters for their advice and for a script on how to respond.

After four interviews, one assessment and a whole load of lies to your current manager, you're nearly there. Your dream job must be yours. Then an email from the recruiter pings into your inbox. The company is pausing hiring temporarily.

It's normal to be frustrated and disappointed when you desperately want a role, said Nikita Gupta, the founder of FAANGPath, a consultancy that offers career advice on how to land roles at major tech firms.

Hiring freezes are not unusual, but recent announcements that the likes of Meta, Uber and Twitter (previously some of tech's fastest-growing companies) are slowing down hiring, amid a backdrop of rising inflation, and stalling stock markets has some speculating that it could signal a wider shift in the labor market.

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A small number of Gupta's clients have contacted her saying their applications have been stopped, she said. It's important to know how to respond if you find yourself in the same position.

Take time to think

It might feel therapeutic to let rip instantly, and send an email strewn with acerbic lines asserting how much effort you've put into the application and how they're the real suckers that don't know what they're missing out on.


"Whatever you're doing — think twice," Gupta said. The first thing to do is take some time, she advises.

Even if it's just for a few hours you will need your sanity to focus on your ongoing job search, or to get back into your current role, Gupta said.

Hiring freezes can happen for any number of reasons, usually beyond the recruiter's control, such as a slowdown in VC funding, overexpansion or post-lockdown readjustments.

The process can be just as frustrating for the individual recruiter, who often has little control over the process, as it can be for the candidate.

"It's soul-crushing when you find the perfect candidate and something goes on hold," said Jody Robie of Talent Works, which provides recruitment services for companies. As painful as it is, they should still have the conversation with the candidate, she said.


Here's how to respond and in what order

You don't want to burn a bridge with a recruiter, even if you have no intention of working for that company again.

Be polite and thank them for their time and for letting you know, Gupta said.

Roby also recommends being honest and offers a rough script of how to frame your response:

"I understand these things happen, I just want to genuinely let you know how much I enjoyed the process and I'm disappointed that it's on pause.

"I hope that if things shift you will be comfortable re-approaching me for the role."


An employer may give reasons for a hiring freeze, but if they don't you're absolutely entitled to ask why and for any feedback they may have, Robie said.

A complete hiring freeze is unlikely to last forever, Gupta said. Stay in touch with a recruiter, perhaps via LinkedIn, so that you're in their network once they do start hiring again.

The recruiter may also move to a new company where roles are open, she said.

Never vent on social media

There's one thing both agree on: little good can come from posting your anger all over social media – no matter what your experience has been.

"That's the last candidate I would want to recruit," Robie said. "If somebody is that angry and is blasting an organization — whether it was deemed worthy or not — you're starting off with a little bit of a red flag because somebody felt it necessary to do that."


She suggests venting to people in your network if you need to let off steam.

Some perspective can help

It might be painful, but sometimes a hiring freeze could save you torment down the line. For some companies, a hiring freeze can be a positive thing — showing that they're stopping to think about the roles they're adding and whether they're really needed, Robie said.

"A worse situation is that you do four interviews, get hired and then get let go within eight weeks," she said.