How to Make Progress on Recruiting as People Take Time Off for the Holidays

The holidays are here, but you can still attract potential candidates before the year’s end. Here’s how to focus on recruiting efforts this holiday season.

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For many, December is a time for family, friends, and celebration, and as such, people often take time off during the holiday season. Unfortunately, this can mean that the recruiting industry’s momentum towards reaching targets can slow down just before the year’s end. In addition, with in-house recruiters and hiring managers going out of town, potential candidates might likely fall out of pocket.

To avoid getting caught in a recruiting rut, plan to be flexible with your timing. Don’t forget to ensure that communication about expected targets is done on time. This will keep employees motivated and allow them to take holidays off while still on track to meet year-end targets. By no means should you coast until the new year. Instead, spend this holiday season focused on recruiting efforts that other companies might skip.

Use data to forecast future hiring needs

As recruiters, hiring managers, and other business functions become more adept at data collection, now’s your time to use that data. First, reflect on your collected statistics over the year and identify hiring patterns. Is there consistency in the time of year roles open up? For example, in which quarter do you hire the most?

If the answer is January or February, then look for new hires who can start in those months. Do they have the skills your team needs right away, or are you looking for someone with skills that will be useful down the road? Again, understanding the patterns in your open requisitions will help you better prepare to fill those roles in years to come.

Ask your hiring managers to plan vacations accordingly

Find out exact times of availability for each candidate. Ask about family time and obligations, the best times to connect, and what times are off limits.

Provide your recruitment team and hiring managers with a work schedule and ask them to plan their vacations accordingly. This will encourage them to aim for mutually synchronized interviews and offer realistic estimates regarding the length of time candidates should wait to hear back from you or your recruiter. The last thing you want is for a top talent target to seek employment elsewhere because you missed the deadline on job status updates.

Find out exact times of availability for each candidate. Ask about family time and obligations, the best times to connect, and what times are off limits. Ideally, both parties (the hiring manager and the candidate) want the job to work out. So it’s okay to ask for times to connect, even if it’s outside regular business hours during holidays — as long as it’s done respectfully, responsibly, and the candidate agrees.

Consider floating holiday policies

A floating holiday is an appealing benefit of a well-constructed PTO policy for many businesses. However, when it comes to taking a break from work, many people cannot do so due to the lack of vacation time. Floating holidays offer time off to employees to take a break from work without the fear of being penalized for taking much-needed time off. In addition, this versatile policy allows organizations to honor employees from different cultures or religions and provides relief to those with heavy workloads or stress during the holidays.

A floating holiday conveys to current and potential employees how your company prioritizes their satisfaction, work-life balance, and commitment to diversity. As a powerful indicator that you are an employee-valuing business, floating holidays may be worth exploring.

Modernize your employment brand

You might find it easier to maintain a constant talent pool by applying marketing techniques towards hiring. Stay ahead in the game of attracting talent — whether a position is open or not — and take advantage of downtime to launch new marketing initiatives. Take control of your web presence, develop strategies to attract new hires, implement your branding, and build advertising avenues in the most relevant channels for your business recruiting. This could mean setting up a career site, using branded social media, or investing in video recruitment.

Update your job descriptions

It can be easy to overlook an essential piece of the hiring puzzle during the holidays: the job description. First, review the job descriptions you currently use. Are they up to date? Having outdated job descriptions might discourage potential employees if they believe they are unqualified for the position, even if their qualifications are superb.

A few essential elements to include in your description are job requirements, necessary skills, educational requirements, and an overview of the day-to-day tasks. Chances are, your job descriptions will need some TLC. However, keeping your job descriptions current will improve the quality of your applicants and increase employee retention over the long run. But make sure they communicate an honest representation of the job. Transparency is a major consideration throughout the recruiting process, especially during the holidays.

Be the first employer available to interview

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a dearth of candidates with a growing number of positions has become the norm and those who come first get served first. Use a tool like Hubspot’s auto-responder that goes out to candidates outlining available positions, pay, and bonus structure. Include why they would want to work with you and a way to set up a phone, video, or even an in-person interview. Giving them that choice will increase interview booking rates.

Follow up quickly with a personalized email so that you answer any questions and stand out among other potential employers.

Do you really want to catch that worm? Follow up quickly with a personalized email so that you answer any questions and stand out among other potential employers. Whether they submit an application or inquire about job openings, the first employer to interview often gets the candidate. Be that employer, and don’t waste your time or the candidate’s. Make yourself or your managers available to interview candidates whenever possible. Get that talent in for an interview ASAP.

Fail to prepare, and you prepare to fail

Time off during the holidays can be an interruption for expanding companies, albeit not necessarily a bad one. But don’t let it catch you off guard. Forecast your needs, modernize your employment brand, and consider floating holidays to attract talent, so update your job descriptions accordingly. Finally, interview possible candidates as quickly as possible to have enough time before the holidays to get ready. Hiring during the holidays may be a more challenging season than usual to meet your hiring goals, and all you can do is be prepared.

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