Recruiting at Christmas


December is a time for eating too much and having fun; it has never been a time for whipping up a recruitment drive. But rather than winding down, it is fast becoming a gold mine for those consummate professionals who choose to keep recruiting at Christmas.

And this applies to all types of business. Even though retail powerhouses like Amazon and John Lewis will have sorted their Christmas positions long before most of us have even considered our first mince pie, there are plenty of reasons to keep up the recruitment mentality into the holiday season.


Long-term gain

Rather than descend into a satisfied funk once Christmas positions are filled, recruiters dealing with temporary positions should always think long-term. Having a large influx of new employees is a ready-made pool of contacts for when permanent positions arise. Sainsbury’s reported an increase of over 2,300 permanent jobs following the 2012 Christmas recruitment drive and many other companies follow the same pattern.

And without wanting to sound crass, a major benefit of having a large group of people on temporary contracts is that you can road test candidates for suitability, relatively risk-free.

But don’t feel as though October recruitment is the sole preserve of companies with temporary Christmas positions. A lot of people graduate in the autumn, meaning a raft of students are looking for work. So ensure you get your ads on job boards, or target local universities and attract the next generation of employment superstars.


Be opportunistic

Usual working practices get a little skewed in December. People who are normally focussed and dedicated often start to re-evaluate their work and life situation, meaning they are more likely to respond favourably to a job ad they might have otherwise dismissed.

Daily routine is also altered. The usual relentless stream of meetings starts to subside and projects begin to wind up. This means that all those top candidates who you failed to woo earlier in the year because they were too busy, suddenly have a bit more time for you to hook them.

Another big bonus is that candidates have more freedom to come in for interviews. Everyone takes odd days off in December, so it is easier for candidates to come in for a quick chat without facing a grilling from their manager.

If your potential candidate doesn’t want to take time off, though, you could even arrange to meet up in the magic week between Christmas and New Year when some companies are closed.


Be smart with finding candidates

It makes sense to cover all the usual recruitment bases when finding candidates in December, but don’t rest on your tinsel-covered laurels. Think about how people use their time in December; the increase in social time means an increase in using social media. It is therefore essential that candidates can view job details and apply through their smartphone or tablet. If you have finally managed to reach out to your dream candidate only for them to find that they have to wait for the offices to open back up before they can get more information, you might as well say goodbye.

If you need to gather candidates for retail or the service industry, one of the most straightforward ways of locating top people is simply to look around. Pick out the top performers when you are shopping or being served in restaurants; if they offer good service in the hellish environment of Christmas trading, you are probably onto a good thing.

Get ahead of the game

One of the biggest benefits to ramping up your recruitment in December is that you will be a recruitment renegade. A lot of your usual competition will be waiting to get started in January. Others might be unable to push recruitment due to having spent budgets earlier in the year.

It is a bit strange to view December as full of recruitment potential, but give it a go. Then, while others are busy planning what to wear to the Christmas party, you will be meeting with top candidates and planning your recruitment strategy to get ahead for the next year.

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