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Hiring During the Holidays

December 5, 2019

By Keisha Ward, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Many organizations set goals and plan to execute projects at the start of the year and in many cases additional staff is necessary to achieve said plans. However, recruiting can be difficult, especially during the holidays.  

In talent acquisition the holiday season lends itself to a slower time for hiring. Nicole Cox, Chief Recruitment Officer with Decision Toolbox says, “Conventional wisdom says that, between Thanksgiving and New Years’ Day, the job market slows like molasses in winter.”  She adds that traffic dips on job boards, and if you are a recruiter you may experience lower response rates during the holidays.

If executed effectively, the holiday season can prove to be a great time to identify and hire top performers. Goodwin Recruiting recommends hiring during the holidays for the following reasons:

1. Beginning a new project in January requires you to have employees in place on the first of the year. Having a ready-to-go team in early January means shortening the lead time for project startup, fewer delays, and increased efficiencies for your company. 

2. The end of the year is a time some workers use to reflect on their career status. This time of contemplation makes them more open-minded to exploring career or job changes. With New Year’s around the corner, many individuals are open to the idea of a new beginning. 

3. Sometimes the unemployed put off their job searches until after the end of the year. However, those who show assertion and ambition with their job search during the holidays, exhibit signs of a solid work ethic and the desire to work through difficult times – both highly desirable traits. 

4. Many employees need to make use of their personal days by year-end or they will lose them. So, taking a day off to interview during the holidays is not a big red flag to employers. The candidates you are interested in hiring may be more at ease taking time off or might already have time off.

We are all preoccupied with all that comes with holiday joy, planning travel, decorating, preparing festive meals, shopping, etc. This time can also be used to creatively attract new candidates and build networks. As mentioned, many promising candidates are off during the final weeks of the year, and it is a great time to post exciting, spirited ads, send holiday greetings, and reconnect with former candidates via a dash of holiday cheer.  

In recruiting, timing is everything.  Although it’s a great opportunity to connect, we must tread lightly and keep in mind that the holidays can be a stressful time for candidates.  Ensuring respectful boundaries can be key to establishing a promising candidate/recruiter relationship. Hello Talent suggests the following do’s and don’ts during the season:

  • Don’t contact people on the holiday itself

  • Do invite prospects to company holiday parties

  • Don’t push people who are too busy; suggest a time to reconnect next year

When connecting is no longer possible, use this time to plan for next year: 

  • Review your progress and challenges this year and identify ways to improve.  Work with the team to brainstorm fresh ideas.

  • Determine your staffing needs for the coming year and begin a strategy to reconnect with candidates from the past.

  • Source new talent online. Update job descriptions and post current and potential openings.

The holiday season is a time for all to enjoy, but we cannot assume that everyone has checked out until after the new year.  Use this time to develop new candidate relationships, nurture existing ones, and plan for another successful year of recruiting. 

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