June 21, 2021

What recruiters should do over the holidays


The holiday season is typically a busy time of year for most folks – travel, family and friend gatherings, festive celebrations, and taking that extra PTO before it runs out. Professionally, a lot of things tend to slow down during the holiday season, and for Talent Acquisition professionals this can be a bit frustrating when you’re trying to keep the recruiting train running while others are hopping aboard the Polar Express and checking out of work.

The recruiting process slowing down during the holiday season is a natural progression to the end of the year but it doesn’t mean that a recruiter needs to be any less productive. We’ve put together a list (you can download our free checklist here: Recruiter EOY To Do List) of the top things recruiters should do during the holiday lull to stay productive and set yourself up for success in the New Year.

1. Check- in with 2020 hires. It’s always a good idea to keep in touch with employees you’ve taken through the recruiting process. There’s a tremendous ongoing benefit to this for various reasons – referral pipelining, refining your messaging, personal networking, etc. The end of the year is great to:

  • See how they’re doing. Everyone appreciates a thoughtful chance to reconnect.

  • See what they are enjoying most about the role or organization. Understanding what your newest employees like so far, and even what drove them to accept, can give you a fresh perspective and help you make a more compelling pitch to future candidates.

  • Is anything falling short? Is their position what they expected? How is the dynamic on their team? Is the company living up to the expectations you set forth? Uncovering these gaps can help the team, as well as how you refine your vetting process.

  • Evaluate the interview process. What about the process did they enjoy and what areas could be improved from their perspective? Were any aspects of the process unnecessary or underutilized?

  • Ask for a written review. Review sites such as Glassdoor and Google can benefit your employer brand as future candidates consistently research recruiting organizations prior to working with recruiters”. Asking happy employees at your company to leave reviews can go a long way in aiding your recruiting efforts.

2. Connect with hiring managers internally. Success in hiring often comes down to the strength of the relationship between the talent acquisition team and the hiring managers.

  • Ask hiring managers about their 2021 goals. Understanding what will make hiring managers successful will enable you to better convey their vision to candidates. And demonstrating that empathy to the hiring managers will go a long way in building trust between the teams.

  • Understand skill gaps of their current teams. From a skills perspective, what things are lacking? And what added value would the next hire ideally have?

  • Circle back on previous candidates. A ‘no’ on a candidate often comes down to circumstance and timing, and those things change. Having an idea of which candidates from the past year should be reconsidered, and under what circumstance, can give you a more solid grasp on your pipeline.

  • Address hard-to-fill (unrealistic?) openings. At some point, you’ll need to have heart-to-heart conversations about openings that have stayed vacant for an extended period of time. 2020 was an employer’s market. If months went by and a profile match couldn’t be identified, chances are it will be even harder in 2021.

3. Reevaluate your candidate pipeline. Recruiting is a lot easier when you don’t always have to start from scratch. Even if you don’t have your hiring plans nailed down for 2021 yet, you probably have a good idea of the types of openings you have. Getting a jump on the coming year starts with reconnecting with people you already know.

  • Get back in touch with the top candidates. You probably talked to a lot of great candidates that you weren’t able to hire this year. Who were the candidates that really impressed you this year? Are there other internal opportunities you could consider them for next year?

  • Be thoughtful. Few things are worse than the typical automated holiday check-in email. If you’re going to reach out to candidates you’ve spoken to this year make sure to send something insightful or helpful. Perhaps there’s recent press on your company or an upcoming virtual event that you’re hosting. Make sure you’re tailoring your message to each individual.

  • Build your pipeline. The end of the year is a great time to pipeline for repeatable roles and early Q1 hiring plans. Think about the things that went on hold this year that will be revisited next. Reach out to the candidates that were in the mix for those roles and let them know you’re still thinking about them.

4. General organizational work / Job 101. For most people, the basics are the things that get put on the back burner. But making sure your documentation is updated and relevant can go a long way in reducing hiccups for the coming year.

  • Take an inventory of job postings. If you’re working on a high volume of roles across your team and you utilize various sites, it’s easy to lose track of what’s posted not just on your corporate site, but on LinkedIn vs Indeed vs Glassdoor, etc. Take time to do a full inventory.

  • Update job description language. Job descriptions get a bad rap for being boring, lacking data and sounding recycled. And that’s because a lot of them are. Is the company overview current and compelling? Are the core job functions included and up to date? Is the technology stack current?

  • Create interview process documents. The most impactful way to get candidates to accept your offers is to impress them in the interview process. To do that, the process itself needs to be streamlined, and everyone on your team needs to know their role. Providing your team with documentation to clearly outline their role in the process, questions to ask, and what message to deliver is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page.

  • Re-evaluate your own company pitch. New year, new goals, new initiatives. How you present your org to job seekers should get a fresh update to reflect where things are headed in 2021. Mention exciting goals or initiatives for the coming year (that are able to be disclosed)

5. Evaluate tools. Are your tools still working for you? And are there better options out there? 

  • Assessments. There are all sorts of candidate assessment tools – cognitive, personality, behavioral, etc. Whatever you’re using, have you done an evaluation to ensure they’re actually effective? Do you need to make adjustments to the target profiles?

  • Evaluate interviewing platform/usage. Video interviews are here to stay. Regardless of your platform (Zoom, Teams, Hangouts, etc.) is your team comfortable using them?

  • Clean up your Application Tracking System (ATS). Your pipeline is only as good as your data. If you find it too hard to log, track, locate, and move candidates through your process, cleaning up your ATS and identifying parts that can be better automated can be a huge efficiency saver.

  • Reconnect with partners & vendors. Do you rely on external technology or recruiting partners to meet your hiring demand? The holidays are always a great time to reconnect and communicate your needs for the coming year.

6. Identify gaps. Identify holes in the process that lead to bad candidate experiences.

  • Candidate ghosting. Be honest: do you get back to every single candidate you interview? In a timely fashion? If there’s a kink in your process or an issue with bandwidth that prevents you from doing so, addressing it should be a priority.

  • Connect with internal DEI leaders. Hiring managers aren’t your only stakeholders. Assuming diversity, equity and inclusion have become an increased priority, your colleagues who manage those functions will undoubtedly have input and suggestions to make your recruiting efforts more successful.

  • Identify new sourcing & inclusion sources. It’s normal that some sources are more successful than others. But a common mistake is to double-down on what works without seeing what emerging candidate platforms are available. Whether they’re community-based tech platforms like Slack, or localized groups that tie into DEI efforts like Women Who Code and Re:WORK, job seekers are finding news ways to engage with innovative organizations.

If you have any questions at all feel free to reach either Ryan or James at ryan@hirewell.com or james@hirewell.com.

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