Recruiters… Deck the Freaking Halls!

Seriously, what is the date? I was on my way to work this morning… minding my own business… and… out of the corner of my eye… something glinted… (Is that a real word glinted? Clearly ‘spell check’ believes it is – as there is no red line under it – but if not, I’m sure the spelling and grammar police who love to clog up the comments feed on this blog will have a field day).

Anyway, as I was saying… something glinted… and… wait for it… it was… tinsel… Yep, tinsel in someone’s front yard! Now I’m not talking a wee, cute unassuming sprinkle of silver tinsel – I’m talking miles of the stuff, in silver, gold, red and green.  I’m talking furlongs, of fairy lights covering every square inch of roof space on the house. I’m talking 4 blow-up Santas, an inflatable reindeer, 3 oversized gifts and a couple of flashing candy canes.  I’m talking a nativity scene the size of a small country. And… it was topped off by a super large and colourful ‘Santa, please stop here’ sign.

Now I’m no Grinch. In fact, I’m probably the opposite.  I love Christmas.  In Australia – Christmas for my family – means a big slap up dinner on the beach, complete with fresh prawns, a variety of salads, cold meats and a game of beach cricket – all in preparation for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG the following day… But, when did we start getting ready for Christmas as early as September??? For crying out loud, it feels like I only took down last Christmas’ decorations a couple of weeks ago…

And – more importantly  – what does it all mean for recruiters?

Now, I am sick to death – year on year – when I hear from recruitment owners and managers that Christmas is a busy time of year for them…

‘Oh, Craig I don’t know what you’re talking about…’ they proudly announce.  ‘We are always flat out over the Christmas period…’ Yeh right… Unless you have a lucrative contract with major shopping centres providing their annual Santas and Santa’s little helpers, or some other – just as unlikely – seasonal boon, Christmas is as quiet as a Milli Vanilli concert with out a backing track

Usually, in about mid-November the penny drops, and recruiters around the world feverishly start trying to organise client visits… encouraging hiring managers to continue interviewing the best talent… explaining to them that it’s the best time to interview as most of their competitors will have shut up shop for the festive season… blah, blah, blah…

So, I had an epiphany, as I walked past my neighbour’s mighty (and did I mention early?) Christmas display this morning. If it’s good enough for him to get ready for Christmas in September maybe – just maybe – recruiters should be too?

Instead of waiting until November… competing against Christmas parties, clients with one eye on their on holidays, customers in wind-down mode etc. etc. Why not organise your client visits now?  And when you are on those meetings ask your clients what their hiring intentions are over the next six months and how they plan to cope with the Christmas period.  Explain that hiring now will provide the momentum to push through the festive period – that they won’t be competing for talent in January and February like their competitors. Tell them to make the hiring decisions and headcount increases they need before Christmas with a January start date. Similarly with candidates – explain how now is a great time to consider their next career move, not to wait until their New Year’s resolution, (usually made in the middle of a massive hangover – right alongside giving up the smokes, losing weight and getting fit… how’d that go for you last year?)  and places them on the active market at the same time as everyone else…

It’s not brain surgery, and it may ruffle a few feathers preparing for the Christmas period so far out, but if my flamboyant neighbour can make the effort this far out – I’m certain that the best recruiters in the market can too!

Oh, and I finally worked out why so many of Santa’s little helpers are depressed… they suffer from low elf esteem… Boom Tish!

Craig Watson

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