Recruiter Report: The Pros and Cons of Holiday Recruiting

Posted by The Jacobson Group

The holiday season can be a unique time for recruiting. However, while there are often challenges in terms of scheduling and time off, there’s also an opportunity to recruit top talent in a less competitive market. Whether you are looking to fill a position within the next few weeks or considering holding off on new searches until after the holidays, there are multiple factors to take into account. In this edition of Recruiter Report, we focus on the timeframe between Thanksgiving and the new year, answering the question, what are the pros and cons of recruiting during the holidays?


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Recruiter Report Holiday Recruiting-1Professionals may be more willing to speak with recruiters. The end of the year can be an introspective time for many individuals. Often workloads are lightening up and professionals are reflecting on the past year, as well as considering their next steps careerwise. This may present an opportunity to have future-focused conversations with individuals who are not typically open to discussions around making a move.  

Recruiter Report Holiday Recruiting-2There is less competition. Hiring often slows toward the end of the year. This can work to your advantage, as fewer companies are actively recruiting and there is less risk of another company beating you to an offer. While you may see fewer candidates, it’s possible one of them is the right individual for your position. With less recruiting noise, they’ll be able to give your role more focused attention than they might at other times of the year. 

Recruiter Report Holiday Recruiting-3 Candidates are often more receptive to accepting an offer. The holidays are commonly a “feel good” time for many professionals, bringing renewed optimism and energy. If individuals have been unhappy within their role or have been considering making a change, it’s a chance for them to start the new year fresh and with a sense of anticipation. 

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Individuals may be delaying professional decisions until after the new year. While many individuals are actively setting professional goals this time of year, others desire to disconnect and focus on priorities outside of work. Taking vacations, visiting family and juggling school holiday schedules may take precedent over interview opportunities. However, these same individuals may reach out later, once they are back in a career-focused mentality.

Recruiter Report Holiday Recruiting-05-1Scheduling is often more difficult. With company holidays and staggered personal vacation time, it can be more difficult to coordinate interviews and even internal hiring discussions this time of year. Be as efficient as possible in your planning, leveraging virtual interviews and limiting unnecessary meetings. Consider how you’ll approach possible hurdles that could slow down the hiring process, such as being ready to make an offer even if your human resources contact is out of office. 

Recruiter Report Holiday Recruiting-06Bonuses and paid time off may be on the line. Depending on the candidate’s current company, they may be sacrificing a year-end bonus or accrued paid time off if they leave. Ensure you’re understanding any hesitations early on to avoid an offer being unexpectedly derailed, especially if you’re able to counteract this potential loss with a signing bonus or additional PTO days.  

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Additional Considerations
In addition to acknowledging the pros and cons of the season, there are a few best practices that are even more essential during the holidays. 

Be upfront and honest with your communication. 
Regardless of the time of year, clear and consistent communication is key. In initial conversations, be clear about when you anticipate filling a role, especially if it is after the first of the year. This can help clear up any concerns a candidate may have around existing year-end plans and holiday travel. At the same time, be straightforward in asking about their motivation for taking a new role, especially if you’re at risk of the candidate getting a counteroffer or changing their mind. 

Professionalism in a Candidates Market-03Be respectful and realistic when it comes to an individual’s time. 
Remember candidates are people with families and outside responsibilities. Be respectful of their holiday time and avoid making unrealistic requests in terms of interviews. For instance, if you usually ask individuals to travel to your physical location, consider allowing interviews to temporarily take place virtually. Be clear on next steps and follow up accordingly to avoid any ambiguity. 

Don’t disregard top talent, even if you’ve seen limited candidates. 
For some, it may be difficult to feel comfortable extending an offer if you’ve interviewed fewer candidates than usual. However, as a rule in today’s market, if you’ve found someone who is right for the role, don’t wait to make an offer. During the holidays, this is even more important, as timeframes can tend to drag and individuals who were once excited about a new position can become stressed and frustrated. If possible, try to extend an offer and secure acceptance prior to taking your own extended vacation. 

Depending on your organization’s needs and your team’s ability to be responsive and efficient throughout December, recruiting during the holidays can have many benefits. Be cognizant of the potential downsides of holiday hiring and be as open and transparent as possible with candidates. Here’s to successful recruiting through the end of the year and beyond! Recruiter Report Holiday Recruiting-10

For more insight on current recruiting issues and trends, read past editions of Recruiter Report here