Hiring and the Holidays: 4 Strategies the Keep the Festivities from Wrecking Your Time to Fill
If you’ve been in the HR game for more than a year, then you’re familiar with the holiday hiring freeze. Many companies completely shut down their hiring efforts in between Thanksgiving and New Years because they figure that the good candidates are probably too busy to apply.
Recruitment cycles are normal, and if you want to wait to fill a position until the new year, that’s your choice. But what if you need to find someone before the clock strikes midnight on Dec 31? Your options aren’t as grim as they might seem. There are easy ways to integrate the hiring process into the chaos of the holiday season.
Invite Candidates to Your Holiday Party
If you’ve already made it past the initial application phase of the hiring process, and don’t want to lose steam, consider adding a touchpoint with candidates that coincide with your holiday party. Bring them in for interviews that day, and invite them to stay for the festivities.
If you’re stuck deciding between a couple of candidates, this is a great way to judge how each individual fits in with your culture. It also gives the candidates a chance to socialize with their potential coworkers and bosses and decide if they could see themselves working with you long-term. You might not reach a final decision that night, but you’ll have created a memorable touchpoint with candidates that will keep them engaged with you and your staff in the following weeks.
Ramp Up Your Employee Referral Incentives
The holidays are not typically the best time to hire passive talent. In order to find and engage with great people, you’ll probably need to take a more casual approach. Use your current employees’ social calendars to connect with their peers. Try to make the open position top-of-mind, especially for people in that department, and encourage employees to discuss the opportunity when they are networking at other functions.
We would recommend adding a “holiday bonus” to your current referral program in order to motivate your staff to participate. It can be something small- like an extra day or two of PTO for the next year- but it should have the power to propel you out of any hiring slump you encounter in December.
Build Up Your Employer Brand on Social
There is always an uptick in social media usage during the holidays. For you, most importantly, many potential passive candidates are running out the clock for the end of the year. They’re finishing projects, tying up loose ends, and probably spending a little extra time on Linkedin and Twitter during the long lulls that we’ve all become accustomed to in December.
Use the time to update and flaunt your employer brand on social media. Share your successes from the past year- fun event, growth opportunities, etc. More importantly, update your followers on your strategic direction for the new year, including open positions on your team. Create a targeted set of tweets, Facebook posts, or even include a message in your holiday mailing that announces your open positions. Encourage your social networks to spread the word.
Embrace the Slower Pace
Don’t forget that the slow-down during the holidays is temporary. If you can’t beat it down, consider using it to your advantage. Reach out to applicants outside of the typical workday, in order to see if it affects response times. If possible, make plans to hold later rounds of interviews (probably over video) during candidates PTO. Keep it casual, merry, and away from the prying eyes of their current employers.
Embrace the flexibility that time-off adds to candidates’ schedules, and don’t get too discouraged if you have to put off final decisions for the new year.
The next few weeks might stretch longer than the shelf-life of your Thanksgiving leftovers. Adopt a few of the strategies above, and remember not to let the quality of your hire suffer due to time constraints.