As the holiday season approaches, it’s likely you’ve started planning the perfect dinner, shopping for that ugly Christmas sweater, and discussing New Year’s shenanigans. But how does a recruiter get a candidate through the entire hiring process with limited time left in the year? With a proactive and adaptive approach, you can still be successful without compromising anyone’s holiday vacations.Hypothetically, let’s say budgets are finalized and communicated to the recruiting team by the start of December. Now it’s full steam ahead for recruiters finding January hires within a “time-to-fill” goal or before a given start date. However, recruiting team budgets have dwindled by Q4 and it’s likely hiring is put on hold, leaving a backlog of positions open for the time being. At the same time, company budgets are typically finalized for the following year to determine what backfills and new additions can be hired starting January 1st.
Short time frames and busy holiday schedules leave a less-than-attractive application pool for recruiters to screen during the last few months of the year, not to mention the qualified candidates’ very limited availability to commit to interviews.
Holiday Hiring Solutions
Once the recruiter has selected qualified candidates who are ready for interviews, the next challenge is aligning the hiring team and candidates’ busy holiday schedules without compromising the hiring experience. Here are a few solutions to this problem:
Allow candidates to meet with interviewers through video interviews.
Utilize your talent communities.
Give gifts as a “thank you” around the busy holiday season.
All of these solutions require the recruiter to have buy-in from the hiring manager (which can sometimes be difficult), but being transparent about the challenges and proposing alternatives beats missing your goal.
1) Video Interviews vs In Person
Onsite interviews typically consist of 2+ meetings with separate interviewers, for example, a technical interview and culture fit interview. While both are important, the likely priority is to confirm the candidate has the technical know-how before assessing if they’re a culture-add for the team. If the candidate and interviewers’ schedules don’t align, try proposing to add a few key culture questions to the technical interview via a video interview.
If the candidate passes the video interview round, invite them to the office for the full culture interview and office tour with the second interviewer. This will satisfy the interviewers’ schedules, condenses the hiring process, and impresses the candidate as they walk out of the office with an offer in hand.
However, it’s crucial that the recruiter collects interviewers’ feedback and hiring decisions before extending an offer. Be sure to have a system in place for this communication to be done on the fly (ie. scorecards, roundtable meetings, etc.).
2) Talent Communities
If video interviews won’t solve the time-sensitive challenge, then it may be time to reevaluate expectations with the hiring team and utilize new tactics. One solution is recruiting teams should be connecting with the right candidates far before a particular job is open by building a “talent community”, instead of source scrambling in December. If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to read our previous blog, Why Talent Communities Have Failed Until Now and view our webinar, The Rebirth of Talent Communities.
Building a talent community allows recruiters to cultivate long term relationships with potential job seekers by periodically sending engaging content (including job postings) to segmented audiences created within an applicant tracking system’s CRM or a recruitment marketing platform.
As a Talent Consultant at Proactive Talent, I’ve worked with clients on filling open technical positions while utilizing their own ATS. It’s not uncommon to find many qualified candidates within the client’s own systems just by searching profiles on a closed job req or target segment. Because these candidates have previously shown interest in the company, utilizing your talent community will help recruiters find and engage the right talent quickly, which is invaluable during the holiday chaos.
3) ‘Tis the season of giving
No matter the religion, ‘tis the season of giving and everyone loves presents. It’s difficult to find time for interviews during the holiday season and sending a handwritten thank you note conveys appreciation for your candidate’s time.
If you want to take it a step further, once your candidate accepts the offer, send them company swag as a nice holiday gift. Arming your new employee with company t-shirts, mugs, and notebooks will get them excited about their new position after the holiday season. Little gestures like thank you notes and swag goes a long way and ensures a positive candidate experience during the chaos of the holidays.
Build relationships throughout the year, be flexible during the holidays, and remember, everyone loves presents. Following these tips will bring relaxation and cheer during the holiday season for you, and your candidates. Let us know if you need help optimizing your hiring process or setting up your talent community to save you some stress from next year’s holiday season.