While there are certain challenges to connecting with candidates at this time of year, there are still plenty of things hiring managers can do to keep your searches moving along. Here are a few easy-to-implement suggestions:
(1) Plan ahead. As many candidates will not be able to meet in person in the coming weeks, get in touch now to schedule an interview for January. This is especially true for fundraisers and development professionals, who are working like crazy to make year-end goals. In your outreach, be gracious and respectful of their time, and explain that you’re hoping to get a jump start on scheduling for the New Year. Take the same approach with scheduling interview time with your own staff, to get interview time slots on their calendars.
(2) Grade on a curve when it comes to candidate’s responsiveness. It may take candidates a few extra days or even weeks to get back to you at this time of year. Don’t hold it against them or assume they aren’t interested if it takes a bit longer for them to get back in touch with you. If they are not available to interview until after the holidays, be sensitive to their other time constraints. In most cases, any good candidate will be worth the wait.
(3) Focus on creating awareness and building your employer brand. The holiday season is a great time to update constituents, volunteers, and prospective employees about your successes of the past year and growth plans for next 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.
(4) Look on LinkedIn. For organizations that rely heavily on sourcing candidates from job boards or internal referrals, it’s time to spend some quality time on the world’s biggest networking site! Use this time to research individuals in your network (and the networks of your colleagues) and build a targeted list of prospective candidates to reach out to come January 1st. This is a best practice of recruitment at any time of year, and it will help you target who applies to your open positions.
(5) Be patient. Between vacation plans and end-of-year deadlines, these weeks can feel rather frustrating to hiring managers. Remember, it’s just temporary. If fewer candidates are applying to your positions, try to identify any gems in the pool while still waiting until January to continue the recruiting process. If you absolutely need to make a hire in December, make sure you explain this in the job description, as well as to any candidates you talk to.