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It’s the biggest time of year for job search—here’s how recruiters can take advantage of it

Data shows that candidates hit the ground running in the first quarter. See how to maximize this boom—and keep the momentum going throughout the year.

It’s the biggest time of year for job search—here’s how recruiters can take advantage of it

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, finding a new job is usually a big one. Monster Intelligence, which tracks job seeker and other behavior on Monster.com, has the data to back that up.

According to our 2019 State of the Candidate Survey, over one third of respondents said they  plan on looking for a job this year, and of those, 90% plan to look for one in the first three months of the year. 

In other words, Q1 is prime time for making candidate connections.

If you’re wondering why, it’s because of a couple of factors, says Heather Deyrieux, president of HR Florida State Council (an affiliate of SHRM).

“It’s the combination of that New Year feeling of being motivated to make big changes, plus the fact that a lot of companies run off of the calendar year, so people might not want to start a new position until after the holidays so they get their bonus,” she says.

No matter the reason, peak job-hunting season is here now. Take advantage of this prime candidate sourcing time with these eight “resolution recruiting” tactics.

Think ahead to Q2

Even if you don’t need to bring anyone on board right away, you don’t want to miss out on top talent who may be more open to changing jobs now.

“January is when you start running, start implementing, and get out there,” says Tony Lee, vice president with SHRM.

Especially if your hiring process is going to take a couple of months from beginning to end, you might consider making a move now, while candidates are flooding in.

The good news is candidates from across industries and skill levels are on the hunt. Monster Intelligence found that sales and service manager, customer service representative, retail merchandiser, registered nurse, and industrial maintenance mechanic were all among the top searched job titles for 2018.

Fill in the gaps from last year

Your analytics from last year – including your total number of candidates, how many went into prescreens, the number that went on to an interview, and how many were ultimately hired – should inform your action plan going forward.

Take a look at last year’s data, and once you crunch the numbers, ask yourself: “Is that going to be enough this year, or is there something else to try?” says Deyrieux.

For instance, if you’re looking for more experienced hires, considering putting more resources toward professional industry association outreach.

“Candidates are a little less stressed because they’re coming off of holiday vacation, and therefore more apt to put a meeting on the calendar for January,” says Deyrieux.

For entry level, it might be a matter of getting more college career fairs on your calendar.

You might also consider targeting talent pools in cities that have high job search volume, especially if your company is willing to relocate new hires. (In case you’re wondering, Monster’s top five cities for job searches per capita in 2018 were Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, and Richmond.)

Find ways to reach passive candidates

Even passive seekers who might be content in their jobs like to keep tabs on what’s out there.

According to research by Addison Group, despite the fact that 72 percent of employees say they are happy, 60 percent of them are looking for a new job.

In fact, Monster Intelligence found that daily job search activity (including job searches and resume uploads) mostly takes place between 11 am and 3 pm, peaking around 1:00. That implies that candidates will use their lunch breaks to work on their new job resolutions, so keep that in mind when scheduling social media posts.

Overall, you should double down on employer branding in January, says Lee. He suggests creating simple employee day-in-the-life videos that can be posted on social media.

“Just walking around the office and talking to colleagues about what they love about their jobs really resonates with job seekers; it’s much better than big video production with the CEO talking about his vision,” says Lee.

Be sure to hit on all of those resolution mantras and catch phrases in your early year marketing, too, like:

  • Looking for a fresh start
  • Ready to turn over a new leaf
  • Time to find a better fit
  • Make a greater contribution
  • Earn what you’re worth

Tweak your application process

Think about it: If potential hires are conducting covert job searches while at work, or are applying to multiple positions, you don’t want a clunky process to cause them to bail on your opening. “One of the biggest turnoffs to candidates ready to apply is a job application that’s too long or complicated,” says Lee.

He recommends that recruiters go through the application process themselves to see what it’s like. Is it painful? Are there too many steps? Is it mobile friendly? Is there enough information in the job description? Even small tweaks made before the job search rush begins can go a long way.

Tap into other resolutions

Besides finding a new job, think about how you can speak to the other top concerns on the minds of typical resolution makers. For example, people often resolve to improve work-life balance or focus on health and wellness, says Brett Good, senior district president of staffing firm Robert Half.

“Employers can recruit these job seekers by promoting perks they offer in these areas, such as flexible schedules, telecommuting options, and wellness incentives,” he says.

Reconnect with former employees

The New Year is also a great time to reach out to your alumni network to see what they’re up to, suggests Lee.

“Many former employees were probably strong contributors who left to test the waters, and they may not like what they found. That means you’ve got a big base of people you can tap into for the executive suite.”

Even if they aren’t making any moves now, you’ll have laid the foundation for future collaboration.

Make it about the candidate

Candidates want to work at companies that invest in them, adds Good. “Besides getting training that will help them in their current roles, they want opportunities to develop in their overall careers,” he says.

That’s why you should be sure potential hires know about any unique professional development programs your company offers, such as if it pays for certifications, offers classes to improve soft skills, or sends staffers to networking events and conferences.

The bottom line is you want to flip the script so that the focus is on what your company has to offer. “People need to know your employer value proposition,” says Deyrieux.

Add a human touch

Another way to stand out? By providing a transparent and friendly candidate experience, says Lee. “A lot of companies struggle with negative online reviews. Make sure the way job seekers think about you is positive,” he says. So even if you can’t hire them today, send a personalized thank you (not an automated response!), and let them know you’ll be in touch if there’s a better fit down the line.

Resolution season is the perfect time to build up your talent pipeline with potential new hires. Says Lee: “If you embrace candidates who are looking to make a fresh start and move ahead in their career, and explain that your company wants to help them succeed, that will stand out.”