Most people think recruiting slows down in the last quarter of the year. And, to a point, it does. Not many companies are actually hiring in the last few weeks of the year. But recruiters who know what the needs are going to be in the first quarter can take advantage of the holiday season to schedule interviews and line up candidates they want to bring on board.
Most employees are taking time off to spend with their family and have more flexibility to meet with a potential new employer to talk about upcoming opportunities. Additionally, students who do not attend colleges close to your offices come home for the holidays and can meet with recruiters face to face (versus Skype or via phone or the expense of sending a recruiter out to that college/school) to talk about internships or opportunities after graduation.
Connecting with candidates from the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving through the new year to discuss potential job placement in the first quarter of the next year allows recruiters to look like superstars when the first quarter crunch to hire candidates comes (and it seems to always come).
Of course, taking advantage of this can only happen if you know what you are going to hire for, right? You need operations to tell you what sorts of pools you need to build. This is not necessarily true, however. You can run historical reports to see what positions are typically hired for in the first quarter. All businesses run cyclically. You can talk to your operational managers to find out what they think the trends are (this will make you look like you are strategic and forward thinking). Another option would be to spend 2012 making notes of the trends yourself. Use your calendar to remind you to run monthly reports so you can get a feel for what you are hiring each month. You’ll find some trends buried in those reports that you might not be able to see as you are doing the hiring.
As August rolls around (right before HR offices swing into the fall cycle of open enrollment and the business starts thinking of year end), review these monthly reports to see what trends exist. Create a plan to spend part of your last quarter recruiting for the positions you will most likely need to fill in the first quarter. You’ll find that you can connect with candidates who might be looking to relocate as they come “home” to spend the holidays with family. You can line up interns before other companies start making offers so you have the pick of the litter. And, you will highlight your strategic thinking skills, which will make you the obvious choice for promotion, increases, etc. in the following year.
So, use 2012 to create a plan and show off your skills for the first quarter of 2013!