The Talent Scout Episode 40: Candidate Attraction During the Holiday Season
3 minutes | Posted 07 December, 2020

The holiday season is approaching, everything is that delightful chaos that it always is at this time of year, you’re trying to finish off the last of your tasks for the year before you take a break, and you suddenly get hit with a business need to have a role filled by early January. Not ideal, but it happens.

Are candidates looking for jobs right now?

The first question you’re likely asking yourself at this point is, “are any candidates even looking for new jobs at this time of year?”. The answer is of course yes, there are always candidates looking for new roles. The holidays do indeed provide a distraction but many people also view this time of year as a time to turn over a new leaf and start something new. That’s probably more true than ever in this year of employee exhaustion and burnout. 

Timeframes are different

The next thing we need to accept about candidate attraction during the holiday season is that it’s going to take longer.

Stakeholders who have the power to sign off are going to be unavailable just when you need them most. What this means is that you’re going to need to extend out your recruitment timelines, probably by as much as two weeks.

Now we know from our understanding of candidates that if we’re making our recruitment timelines longer we need to let our applicants and candidates know. This is something to keep front of mind while designing your job description and candidate attraction strategy.

I worked with a client who had a hiring need over the holidays last year and we made sure to include information around timelines in both the job description and the automatic response that went out to candidates who had applied for the role. If memory serves correctly the interview panel was not going to be available until the second week of January so we finished out the job description stating exactly that. This way we managed our candidates’ expectations effectively and made it clear to prospective applicants that they likely wouldn’t hear about the next steps until early to mid-January.

The tools you need 

A lot of your ability to manage candidate expectations over the holidays and keep them interested and engaged is going to come down to whatever tools of automation you have at your disposal.

If you’re a long-time listener to this podcast you know that our preferred method of managing campaigns is through an Applicant Tracking System and that we have one you can avail of at a very cost-effective price here at Scout Talent if you need it in a pinch.

However, given the proximity to the holidays, I imagine you’ll need to make do with whatever tools you have to hand. Hopefully, you have a method of setting up an automatic reply for applications, make sure that automatic reply is working for you and managing your candidates’ expectations.

If your HR team is still going to be active over the holidays and they have a phone line, include their contact details in this automatic message along with relevant information about timelines and when they can expect to hear an update on their application. If you’re only working off of email then make sure your auto-replies specifically reference applicants and answer any questions you think they might have, things like:

  • What to do if they forget to attach a resume to their application
  • When they’ll next hear about this role
  • Where to direct any questions they have about the organization. 

Headhunting over the Holidays

A cornerstone of any good candidate attraction process is headhunting, and it’s likely something that you’re going to need to incorporate if the role that you’re attempting to fill has some specific qualifications.

When proactively reaching out to candidates at this time of year be very upfront with your time and availability. There is nothing worse than contacting an individual about a role but only responding to their questions 3 weeks later. You’re going to miss out on highly talented people doing this.

If you’re messaging people through LinkedIn be very clear to them in your initial message about how long you’re remaining in the office this year and when you’ll be back to answer their questions. If you’re comfortable doing so, or particularly desperate to fill your role, offer candidates that you’re headhunting your contact number so that they can reach out to you about the role. 


I guess the best way to wrap up this episode is to say that if you have a real need to fill a role over the holidays but the concept of tackling the world of recruitment is daunting right now, we here at Scout have you covered.

Currently, we are offering 15% off of our service fee for all campaigns initiated before the 18th of December. We’re also running these campaigns for 6 weeks instead of our standard 30 days in order to maximize our recruitment efforts.

For more information please do book in some time to speak with us here.