I saw my first sign of the holidays while biking down Market Street in San Francisco on October 31st. City workers were putting up the lights and snow flakes on that will don the main drag for the holiday season. Only two days later, the very first holiday catalog arrived at our house.

I spotted more proof of the holidays at Starbucks on New Montgomery Street in San Francisco on November 15th.

Fast forward to this week, and I have heard the same comment from 5 different employers, “we’ll make a push on hiring after the holidays”. I was a bit surprised by this response given the difficulty of finding top talent in San Francisco.

I turned to TinyCo Technical Recruiter Tristan Bice to get his thoughts on the mindset of a passive candidate during the holidays. “Holiday recruiting for us is critical. It is time to GO. Many people are reflecting on their year (where did it go???) and in reflection are open to change and hearing about new opportunities to get 2012 off on the right foot” said Tristan.

Tristan is correct in that there is a great deal of reflection during the holidays. Let’s look at a few other reasons that influence passive candidates to look at new jobs over the holidays:

1. Family Gatherings: What does everyone talk about after school, kids, and sports? They talk about their work! Tristan adds his perspective, “The holidays are a time when people are away from their co-workers. Getting in a non-threatening, open conversation about what they are happy/not happy about in their current environment is much easier than during ‘normal’ work hours.

If someone does not feel great about explaining their work, they will start to keep their ears open for a new job. Not to mention, friends and family members are likely to make suggestions on places they can go to see new jobs. They may even make an introduction to other employers on their behalf.

2. Holiday Parties: Workers get together outside of the office, and tend to let loose and relax. Question marks can be planted in one’s mind, and new ideas created. New opportunities are mentioned that seem a little more shiny. It is inevitable that passive candidates will have their interest piqued and may look or listen to the right opportunity.

3. Traveling: Travel fosters dreams, ideas, and goals. You see old friends and places that remind you of your roots. You meet new connections and see new things. Traveling inspires thought, and much of that thought is directed toward one’s purpose in life. As we’ve outlined in the 5 C’s, one’s calling is very relative to the career decisions they make.

4. New Year’s Resolutions: As Tristan mentioned, the end of the year brings reflection and forms resolutions. While some resolutions may come and go, career goals tend to stick. Career goals consume the mainstream of a candidate’s time versus going to the gym (a popularly ridiculed annual resolution. There is a psychology to this time of year that cannot be underestimated. Career growth is one of the top reasons a passive candidate will look for a new job. Make sure that you are capitalizing on that desire by making it clear how a person will grow in your organization.

5. New Gadgets: Let’s not forget that the holidays are a season of giving. Whether it is a gift from someone or for yourself, electronics are a popular item during the holidays. Whether it is an iPad2 or a Droid Razr, potential candidates may be testing out your online presence from a mobile device. Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter will certainly be among the sites they visit with their new device. In addition, Ongig has seen a consistent theme with over 30% of our traffic coming from mobile devices since October 17th.

TinyCo’s Tristan Bice is one of the best Engineering recruiters in the business.

Tristan says TinyCo will be active. “Holidays work in favor of aggressive companies due to the fact that they are flexible enough to make things work with the interview process where companies with people on vacation will hold up offers. Candidates want to start 2012 in a new place and progressive companies can make it happen”

The time is now to take inventory of how passive candidate’s find you and what they will see. If you are waiting to work on your hiring plan until the holidays are over, it may be too late. The hiring plan will get mixed up with the higher priorities that inevitably come up.

Companies with a strong hiring plan before and during the holidays will have a head start on attracting top talent in 2012. Those that don’t will be a step behind entering the new year.

 

Jason Webster

Jason Webster is a social recruiting enthusiast and co-founder of Ongig, a platform that creates shareable, visually-appealing job descriptions. He has spoken at multiple social recruiting events, where his passion for candidate experience is the primary topic. Connect with Jason and Ongig on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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  • Kaleana

    Great article Jason – as well as some very helpful comments from Tristan. I agree that the end of the year/beginning of 2012 are a huge time of change for people; many want to star the year of with a fresh new start, and therefore this time of year is crucial to connect with others. Thanks again for the article!

  • Susan Lam

    What a coincidence! My team and the line of business we support just had a very similar conversation about a week or so ago. We too are working through the holidays and targeting passive candidates for the same reason. And our management team will be carving out time throughout the last month of the year to make sure we are attracting the right talent and bringing them aboard in the beginning of the New Year. Great insight Jason & Tristan!

  • Rochelle Lee

    Great insight as always, Jason. I agree that putting off hiring because of the holidays can be a big missed opportunity for companies. One reason I’d like to add is spending – it’s harder to take the leap for a new opportunity when you’re weighed down with a month of big purchases and travel expenses! Shared your article here: http://www.facebook.com/WorkForUs