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Tips and Tricks to Prepare for Winter Recruitment

Lauren Pezzullo
December 6, 2018

Tips and Tricks to Prepare for Winter Recruitment

The competition for recruiters is more demanding than ever, with 72.8 % of HR professionals “struggling to find relevant candidates.” Depending on your industry, the recruitment process can become even more difficult in the winter, when holiday travel and festivities slow everything down. Key stakeholders are often traveling, and it’s the end of a fiscal year, before new budgets are available. So how do you set your company and job openings apart as unemployment rates are falling?

The number of recruitment tools promising success to HR professionals is, quite frankly, dizzying. But recruitment is, and always should remain, a human-centered activity. An effective recruitment plan doesn’t rely solely on all automated tools or manual outreach. Instead, the plan blends the two to create efficiency with a personal touch.

Below, we’ve identified both the challenges and trends you’ll need to take into account this winter. In turn, we discuss how you can design your recruitment strategy to tackle the holiday season.

Here’s how:

Rethink Your Strategy From the Ground Up

Millennials aren’t afraid to leave a job that isn’t making them happy. In fact, this prevailing demographic job-hopped at nearly double the rate of their predecessors within the past 20 years. And that’s why a change in perspective is crucial for any HR professional. It’s no longer about potential employees seeking your business out. Instead, you need to do the grunt work in order to source the top talent necessary for growing your business.

In fact, research shows that the current job market is 90% candidate driven. This means potential employees are now being catered to as much as the customers a business strives to reach.

Just as you use marketing strategies to sell your business to potential buyers, you should be candidate-focused in your recruiting strategy. Their needs and values should be a top priority when you’re crafting your content, outreach, and offers. Recruitment marketing is a tactical way to find, attract, and nurture top talent for your business using methods similar to those you employ with potential customers. An example of this is inbound recruiting. This means you go beyond simply posting ads or offering an available position, and instead, forge relationships by sourcing and engaging potential candidates proactively. This strategy of appealing to the unique stages of a job seeker’s journey is a way to find more relevant experience for long-term success.

Uplevel your employer branding

When job seekers are deciding where they want to apply, 84% cite a company’s reputation as a top priority in their decision—which means it’s essential to focus on your popularity and what you can offer as an employer. It’s known as ‘employer branding’, and it’s a key tenet of recruitment marketing. Your brand is not just your corporate reputation, but your value proposition for potential employees, and your key to both attracting and retaining top talent for the long-term.

Before creating your employer branding strategy, ask yourself why someone would want to work for your company. It is also important to poll the entire company, for honest and constructive guidance. What are your strengths, what sets you apart from other companies? This will most likely highlight the weaknesses of your company culture as well, which can be just as helpful.

How to show off your company

Content is king when it comes to employer branding. Get creative with it, and be sure to show the personal side of your company. Here are some starting points:

  • Create a ‘Company Culture’ page to explain what it’s like behind the scenes. What are your core values? What is is like to work for your company and/or for specific teams?
  • Shoot a series of brief interview videos of current employees in an informal setting. This will really capture the essence of daily life at your company. You might want to post these on your Company Culture or Careers page, or at the very least, have executives and recruiters share on social media.
  • Did Sally from marketing recently move up from junior copywriter to director of content? Did Earl from IT just complete his first marathon? On social media, make sure to share not just your company successes, but your employees’ successes, too. Highlight recent hires, promotions, and even personal (outside-of-work) accomplishments. Encourage employees to like and comment on posts featuring their peers. Try to get leaders (managers, team leads, department heads, executives) to engage as well. This will help show job seekers that people matter at all levels of your company.

For some excellent examples of employer branding, check out this heartwarming video that global consulting firm Accenture produced, highlighting their commitment to inclusion and diversity in the workplace. The video’s honesty made it go viral. When both Diversity Inc. and Fortune caught wind and wrote about it, the company’s reputation was cemented.

Of course, employer branding can be every bit fun and hip as it is serious and issues-oriented. Microsoft is a perfect example of this. To compete with trendier tech giants, Microsoft targeted their employer branding to millennial culture. Who knew that the company had treehouse conference rooms or a cat-lovers’ club? We didn’t, until they made a push to publicize their employer brand!

Tools for recruitment automation

Let’s face it, a strategic recruitment process takes time. It’s one thing to try to fill a couple of open roles, but when you find yourself in need to fill ten or twenty positions—or when you’re rushed and short on time during the holiday season because of the vacation calendar—the process can feel insurmountable. That’s when automation comes in to save the day. Here are some of the leading ways new tools can help you save time in your process, while still being strategic:

AI for sourcing potential employees:

Automated screening software is the stuff of a Jetsons episode. By integrating with your current applicant-tracking software, it inventories the experience and skills of your previous and current employees and uses that data to screen, grade, and suggest new candidates for available roles. For busy HR professionals, this articulate and data-backed screening saves valuable time during the most inefficient stage of the recruitment process. It also gives you more time to dedicate to the later stages in the funnel, when face-to-face interaction is most necessary.

Reacquainting with previous job-seekers:

Because the average applicant tracking software isn’t capable of resurfacing previous candidates at the right moment, you’re missing out on a huge pool of potential talent. Thankfully, there are modernized ATS programs that employ AI to locate and rank those past candidates. This allows you to reach out to folks who have already demonstrated interest, and whose contact information is at your fingertips.


Narrowing down your pool of candidates from the torrent of initial applications and managing menial communications with them is likely the biggest time-waster of the entire process. Luckily, chatbots can take care of this busywork for you. They will select relevant potentials and direct them to the next step in the process—whether that’s answering FAQs about the company or role or even scheduling a follow-up interview.

Niche targeting:

Remember our points about employer branding and going the extra mile to draw candidates to you? Refining your ads is an easy way to do just that, by re-targeting anyone who has previously applied or even visited your website. It’s also crucial to geo-target your ads in order to appeal to local candidates (unless of course, you’re hiring for a remote position!).

Network online—but also in real life

You already know that posting your jobs on both your website and across all social platforms—FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Glass Door—is a must-do. You might not know how important it is to keep up a general presence on those platforms as well. Your company social profiles should share not just job openings and business news (like funding, or product releases), but also your day-to-day culture. Many companies have even created social media accounts dedicated to company culture. This is where you should maximize your employer branding, linking to your ‘Company Culture’ page and values. This is the best place for candidates to get a realistic account of life at your company, beyond the specific job role. Lay this foundation so that candidates you source socially will get a good impression of your company when they do social research of their own.

Tricks to find candidates

As far as online networking, be smart about your search. Do research to find the most relevant hashtags for your open roles—for examples, #marketingjobs or #nycdevjobs—and use those on Facebook and Twitter to narrow your search. To find candidates who are serious about their careers, check out niche Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Alternatively, find the spots where they communicate with peers online—for example, Moz and Warrior Forum are two of the top spots for digital marketers.

Finally, don’t forget the power of a friendly face and a handshake. By attending networking events, you’ll get an up-close and personal look at your candidates before any rigorous hiring process. In turn, they’ll also be able to get to know you as well. Check Meetup, an event board that allows you to search a calendar of local networking events by category, or find a #LinkedInLocal networking event.

Make your application process mobile friendly

A whopping 89% of job seekers use their smartphone or other mobile devices to conduct their job search. That means you’ll be losing valuable potential candidates if they can’t easily apply via mobile. If this isn’t in the cards for your company yet, post your jobs on career sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn. All of these platforms have streamlined and mobile-friendly sites.

To sum it all up, the recruitment process this winter doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complex, as long as you’re doing it the smart way. Add artificial intelligence and automated tools to your wishlist to handle the most tedious recruitment tasks. This will allow you the time and energy to focus on your employer branding and networking. Most importantly, it’ll allow you to build relationships that are vital for new employees and long-term growth for your company. Hopefully the holidays this year bring you closer together with old friends, family, and some talented candidates!

Check out reviews for applicant tracking systems, HR management, or talent management tools on TrustRadius.

About the Author

Lauren Pezzullo

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