Recruiting Weakness: Neglecting Candidates During Holidays

You have a wonderful candidate who’s taking time off for a holiday. It could be the winter holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s. Then again, it could be only one day, like Valentine’s Day or Presidents’ Day. So you relax and you don’t schedule an interview or offer until after the holiday. How considerate of you. Was this a wise decision? Absolutely not! While you are being patient, a competitor can identify your firm’s recruiting weakness and steal your candidate.

How Savvy Firms Can Capture Your Candidates

A hiring manager & their recruiting team in another company likes your candidate, so they pushed their schedule, interview your candidate, and presented a generous offer during a holiday, while your firm stands by.  They recognize that your firm has one recruiting weakness that they can capitalize on, provided they moved fast. Does this seem far-fetched? Late in 2015, I heard from a prospective candidate whom I’d been trying to reach about an opportunity. He’d been hired…during his honeymoon, passing on a second interview with another firm scheduled, following his return from vacation.

Recruiting Moral: It helps to re-examine what ‘rules’ you assume your competition observes, when it comes to recruiting.

If you are seeking highly experienced candidates whose skills are in short supply, we recommend not delaying contacting and meeting with qualified candidates. If you are ready to present an offer, don’t let a golf engagement, weekend, holiday, your dinner plans, or your business travels delay the offer!  Savvy managers go right on hiring 24/7, no matter what’s going on.

It’s worth taking a cue from Gianni Versace, Fashion Designer & Founder of Versace:
“It is nice to have valid competition; it pushes you to do better.”

If you think differently, you risk letting your prized candidate slip away. They are not easily replaceable. Just ask your HR department manager to show you their recruiting funnel from initial sourcing through to the offer. Guess how many frogs they had to kiss before finding the candidate you selected to join your firm. Now think for a moment, how much work did you just add to their schedule, because you didn’t have the time to present and offer and close the candidate?

Correcting Recruiting Weaknesses: Candidate Acceptance Monitoring

Job offers frequently get treated as ‘fire and forget’ missiles.
You send them out. The ‘targeted candidate’ accepts. Your done with your mission.

Except the mission hasn’t ended.

While you’re patting yourself on your back for hiring your candidate, you’re misconstruing ‘offer acceptance’ for ‘on-boarding’. Until your candidate starts work, they still may be receiving calls from your competitors, along with sweeter offers. You need to stay in active recruiting mode with the candidate until they have started work with your firm.

So what should you do, following offer sign off? Make your candidate feel more at home with you, your team and company. Invite them in an early morning meeting/breakfast. Or perhaps a luncheon, or dinner–including their spouse or significant other with you and additional members of your team. Invite them to attend a company function taking place while they are awaiting their hire-on date. You could also send the candidate’s family a ‘welcome’ present, that reflects your firm’s culture.

Please also have a 90-day on-boarding general plan in place, with a clear schedule at least for their first week. It’s also an excellent idea that you have their office space, phone and computer and ready for them. Don’t laugh! When Al joined Sun Microsytems (hmmm, wasn’t that a computer manufacturer, with a large inventory of computers?), following the morning orientation, when he came to his office he discovered that he had no computer & monitor. Lapses in having standard tools available could suggest to your candidate that you really can’t plan well and don’t know how to show respect for a new hire. Remember, what matters most is what your new hire thinks of how you prepared for their arrival.

Your new hire needs to feel genuinely welcomed, before they start their first day with you. Their first impressions of you, your team and your firm really matter.

Keep actively recruiting–Even on Presidents’ Day!
Minda Hannenberg

Minda Hannenberg
VP & Senior Recruiter

Closing Quote:

“If you have a strong opponent, a competition is stimulating. I am generally most open to ideas when I’ve had a bad result.”
Viswanathan Anand
Former World Chess Champion Multiple Years