Recruitment: Engaging with ‘passive candidates’ over Christmas-New Year

Dr Ray Johnson, Agricultural Appointments*, December 17, 2019

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CHRISTMAS is fast approaching and so we ask the questions: Does the festive season affect recruiting? Is it worthwhile to advertise vacancies over the Christmas/New Year period?

A decade or more ago, I would have said yes, the “festive season” does affect recruiting, because job vacancy advertising, before the formation of internet job boards, shrank to practically nil over the Christmas and New Year period.

Some 20 years ago, practically the only advertising medium was newspapers and candidates were conditioned by long precedent that there were very few positions advertised until the third or fourth week of January. In addition, most candidates on holidays in those days didn’t have access to a printer, and so had to wait until they were back at work to submit an application.

All this has changed since the advent of internet job boards and more recently, smart phones and other mobile devices.

The average person on holidays expects to spend three hours per week on their smartphone/tablet/laptop, checking emails and work matters. Work has invaded the annual leave period, especially for anyone who has a portable device.

Candidates are nowadays checking job boards and websites, and receiving job emails from job boards, getting job notifications by email alerts, Twitter and from Facebook friends, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Because most recruitment ads are up on job boards for 28 days (versus the one day of newspapers), candidates can now check at their leisure for job opportunities all through their holidays.

In addition, a resume can easily be sent by email or uploaded from your Smartphone or wherever in the “Cloud” you keep it.

Passive job seekers become active

One of the key factors here is that people who are often passive candidates (i.e. those not actively looking for a new role) can become active searchers over the vacation period. Whilst on holiday, they have the time to search the net for new roles and more importantly they have the time to think about change. Thus some of the best candidates can come onto the market and so it is important to be there, ready to tell them about a great new role.

Of course people don’t just take holidays over the Christmas and New Year break, but a sizeable portion do take at least a week to two weeks over this period and to miss out on this opportunity just because of an outmoded impression that the whole nation turns off would be unfortunate.

From an employer’s recruitment point of view, the sensible thing to do is to plan to advertise across the “festive season.” After all, the relatively modest cost of internet advertising and the potential benefit is such that you can’t afford to miss the opportunity.

* Ray Johnson is managing director of specialist recruiters, Agricultural Appointments



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