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The 4 Do’s of Recruitment This Christmas
Christmas. It’s that time of year when the people and productivity levels within your business tend to wind down. The tinsel’s hung, the secret Santa’s been rumbled and the office party’s left everyone with a thumping headache and a whetted appetite for the forthcoming break; it’s all too easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season and neglect the fundamental recruitment functions that have served your business well for the remainder of the year. Despite common perception, the time over Christmas isn’t redundant, nor is it the optimal time to be plugging gaps in your team. Here, we review the four do’s that will help ensure recruitment effectiveness this Christmas.
1. Do Not Hire in Haste
Many companies get a case of the Christmas jitters and fall into the trap of panic hiring, with hiring managers wanting to enter into the new working year with the workforce at full capacity. They may, in their haste to make hires, inadvertently encourage the in-house recruitment team to consider unsuitable candidates or force interviews when in fact, many people do not want to think about these processes over Christmas, therefore either can't be persuaded to interview or don't give their best. It’s important to recognise that Christmas is an extremely pressurised time of the year without the trials and tribulations of a job hunt to coordinate. It's better to accept that you can't do the work of four weeks in two and instead, make December the time to lay the foundations of a promising process, where conversations with potentially viable candidates are broached. Plant a seed of intrigue, build a rapport and then follow up your discussions in January.
The start of the new year is an ideal, and often overlooked, time to make hires; people have had time off from work, feel the dread of going back to a job they hate - all of the niggles are amplified by the time away and by January 2nd, they have increased tenfold. Most recruiters find that people are often more receptive in January too, but by then it may already be too late as rival businesses embark on the hunt for new talent. If you start making contact in December, with a pressure-free approach in mind, candidates will happily take your call in January.
2. Do Make Your Candidate Attraction Campaign Relevant
Companies often think that the holidays are dead time when in actuality, they are great to reach out and enter into open and interesting discussions with people whilst they are sat at home trying to avoid either talking to the in-laws or watching the Strictly Special. Some companies will make a lack lustre attempt to publish several adverts and simply hope that the right people go looking, and many won’t even do that, branding the Christmas break to be a write-off completely. A much more worthwhile utilisation of the time would be to hit the more social and topical digital channels: Blogs, forums, LinkedIn, social media feeds. Make your business, and its hiring plans for the New Year, a discussion point. Your prospective candidates are likely to receive all manner of gizmos over the holidays; smart phones, laptops, tablets – so make your attraction campaign targeted, and focus on the channels that they are most likely to explore whilst away from their desk.
3. Do Stay Up to Date
Some companies will effectively shut down recruitment over Christmas - this is a mistake. Some of the (luckier) individuals who are entertaining the idea of a looking for a new opportunity may well have one or two weeks off over Christmas, where they will be sat at home getting restless. This restlessness manifests itself as a chance to gage what else is out there, explore the market and submit CVs. These people are the passive job seekers amongst us who are intrigued, but not convinced. If they don't get a relatively timely response telling them that their CV has been received, they will look for another role and submit their CV there too. However, if they do get a timely response, they often end their search there and then, effectively giving you access to a potentially valuable, and unique, application. Make sure your jobs portal is updated regularly and if there isn't an automated response sent out to CVs that are submitted, make sure someone is allocated to check it every day.
It’s also worth remembering that just because you are on holiday, not everyone is. If you're a Western company, you may effectively shut down for two weeks, but in Asia this isn't the case. If you're hiring internationally, either to Asian offices or subsidiaries, or hiring people in from those locations, make sure you're keeping up the pressure.
4. Do Tie up Loose Ends
If recruitment processes are underway in the run up to the holiday period, don't let them go cold; this is especially true if job offers are outstanding. The festive celebrations can have a very odd effect on people. Candidates that were seemingly so committed to leaving their job in mid-December may go to their soon-to-be ex-employer’s Christmas do, have a great time and be filled with rose-tinted nostalgia. If you haven't spoken to them until the first week back in January, you may be faced with the unpleasant reality that they have done a complete U-turn; I've seen offers rejected like this several times. Make a point of ‘touching base’ with candidates by sending out a Christmas greeting. If they’re still firmly on board, it will pleasantly affirm to them that your business is attentive and values its staff, and if they’re not, it will ensure that you are still providing a positive candidate experience and may prompt them to be vocal about their uncertainty. An email is fine, a call is better; just make sure they hear something from you rather than nothing at all.
One of two things seem to happen over the festive period; companies will either assume the mind-set that the team can pick up where it left off in the New Year, or will want to fill talent gaps fast in order to kick-start the business’s overall functionality come January – neither of which are particularly good for business. With a fortnight to go until the big day, there is still time to establish connections and enhance your brand’s online presence in December so that come January, the groundwork is laid and the right people for your business are primed and engaged.
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