Why December is a Missed Recruiting Opportunity
December is statistically the quietest month in the recruitment industry. This is followed by August. The reasons behind these themes are pretty simple. December see’s Christmas and the end of the calendar year so everyone, companies and candidates alike, have their focus on others things that take priority over that of recruiting or looking for new jobs. As for August you have the School holidays and therefore people taking their summer holidays.
Both periods are associated with good memories, family time and the very things that you have been looking forward to all year. But whilst an August holiday is typically a 1 or 2 week period and arguably takes up a sizeable chunk of the month, the Christmas and New Year “key days” are just a few days in total.
The Christmas and New Year Key days
The first is Christmas Eve and let’s be honest many companies do operate on this day. I don’t actually know why because who actually gets anything done on Christmas Eve? But it’s not a public holiday regardless.
Christmas Day is The Day in the whole thing. This is the one everyone looks forward to. It’s the cherry on the cake. The star on the top of the tree.
Boxing day is a working day for many. Officially a holiday, but many companies are open.
The 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th are 4 days which have no actual significance at all bar bridging the gap between Christmas and New Year. Then there is New Years Eve which has very little magnitude bar its late evening period. Finally, there is New Years day, which starts with fireworks and generally is a big meal and chill out session.
If you break it down there are really only 3 days of genuine impact, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. Both Eve’s and the 4 days between are nothing days in themselves.
Where is the Missed Opportunity?
Considering there are 31 days in the month and the first day of significance isn’t until the back end of the month why is December the slowest month for recruitment? October and November are manic. January and February are frenzied. Yet December is slooooow.
The problem is twofold. The people in companies take their feet of the gas and candidates put everything off until January. I get why and I don’t blame people. Unless you’re Mr Burns from the Simpsons you’ve probably got a life outside work, right? But there are 24 days between the 1st and 24th of December. That’s a considerably large period of time.
The missed opportunity is using that period to recruit rather than take your feet off the gas.
What would be a wise Recruiting Strategy during December?
Firstly, most companies fall into the trap of slowing down during December. That means less competition. And the competition that you do have isn’t at the races for urgency more often than not.
Secondly, customers of yours start slowing down during December so you have more time to focus on activities which you wouldn’t usually have the freedom to concentrate on.
Thirdly, considering the months surrounding December are typically commercially busy months, you have a rare window of opportunity in between that is December.
So why not take that opportunity?
Christmas is nearly upon us. It’s the end of the year. Winter isn’t pleasant. The days are short. Plus everyone else is slowing down around you. And if we’re all honest it’s nice to have a bit more a relaxing month isn’t it.
The Power of Hindsight
One thing synonymous with January is the New Years resolution. But who makes a New Years resolution that say’s don’t waste the opportunity you had in December? Nobody. Why would they? It’s too far off for starters.
But every year January is intense. It’s all go. And if you need to hire, guess what, so does everyone else. It seems crazy to me that the same companies that took forever to get back on a CV on the 9th December which is over 2 weeks before Christmas and missed the boat, are now chasing me to get stuff done yesterday. Seriously? But it happens every year. It’s always the same. When you think about how bizarre and avoidable this mess is it’s bemusing. If you had of prioritised this when you had time this mess could have been circumvented.
A Recruiter trying to educate a client…
…is like a Citroen 2CV trying to break the land speed record. It doesn’t happen. You can advise a client. That’s different. When the client needs a solution then they’ll listen. But if they’re not looking for a solution then it’s a matter of trying to educate and there is no chance of that.
December is a hugely unexploited, repeating mistaken, predictable and avoidable missed recruiting opportunity. If you want to hire well and start the new year in the best possible shape, get your hiring done in December, start the worker in January and you’ll be ahead of the game. Some do, but most don’t and that’s why December is a Missed Recruiting Opportunity.
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