How often do you hear people say things like “we sort of shut down during the holidays” or “the holidays are a horrible time to hire”? One of recruiting’s best kept secrets is that the holiday season is a perfect time to attract candidates and ensure recruitment efforts in the new year get off to a strong start. Take some time to do a little planning and determine which jobs you’ll be trying to fill in the first couple months of the new year. Get the job descriptions posted, talk to your team to get information on what they’ll be looking for in job candidates, and determine the best places to post the job online. Then, use these next few weeks to start attracting great candidates.
Generally, job seekers fall into two camps during the holidays. The first group decides they’re going to take it easy over the holidays and power up their job search in January. The second group doesn’t want to lose momentum and is using the holiday season to reconnect with old colleagues, attend networking events, get their resume updated, research companies that have openings – and apply for jobs that are a good fit for them. If you’re trying to be strategic in how you attract great talent, now is the time for you to build relationships with that second group.
You can successfully attract candidates by following these three tips:
1. Focus on (social) networking
Use the holiday season to get your social networking house in order. Start by making sure your business has an up to date LinkedIn profile and that you have created a company presence on at least one other social media website like Facebook or Twitter. While you’re at it, give your personal LinkedIn profile a refresh so it’s optimized for hiring and encourage hiring managers to do the same. Candidates will be checking out your team online to get a feel for the organization.
Once your social media presence is updated, spend some time searching for people on LinkedIn who may be good candidates for your open positions. Spread some holiday cheer by reaching out to your connections – and be sure to let them know what positions you have open so they can help spread the word.
This is a great time of year to do some face-to-face networking. Attend industry events – job seekers who are anxious to keep up their search momentum will be there looking to connect. You’ll have an opportunity to meet them in a much more relaxed environment than your company’s conference room and get a sense of how well they would fit in your organization. So, get your best holiday attire ready and RSVP “yes” to all of those industry event invitations sitting in your email inbox! Your next great hire might just be there.
2. Get ahead of your competition
Just like job seekers, many of the companies competing for the same candidates you want are putting off posting jobs or engaging potential candidates until the new year. If you’re posting jobs and screening applicants during the holidays, you are in a position to grab top talent before it gets highly competitive. And if you start screening and doing preliminary interviews before New Year’s Eve that also means you’ll be in a position to make an offer to your top candidate sooner than the other guys.
If you’re looking to fill a position in January, get it posted online immediately to attract new candidates. According to a recent study, the average time to fill a position is 29 days for businesses with less than 1,000 employees – so use the end of the year to get a jump start, reduce your time to hire and offer jobs to great talent quickly.
Plus, you’re giving yourself a year-end bonus of sorts! Once you’ve put your recruitment plan into action, you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays without dreading the onslaught of resumes to comb through in mid-January.
3. Schedule informational interviews and initial phone screenings
With a large group of people using the remainder of their vacation days for the year in November and December, many people find their calendar a little less full—and they have fewer looming deadlines. This means it’s easier for them to get to interviews or participate in phone screenings. And the festive time of year may find them a little more at ease in the process.
This is a great reason to get your jobs posted now and do some of the pre-screening work. You’ll be giving hiring managers a head start for the new year.
Rachel Bell is Director of Marketing at HiringThing, an online hiring software solution. Rachel applied for her current position in late December and accepted the job offer in mid-January. You can learn more about HiringThing here.