SmartRecruiters Blog

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Checklist for Recruiters, and What Not to Do

Spread holiday cheer and avoid the season’s recruiting faux pas to start the New Year on a sparkling note.

December is a bustling time for most. Travel. Parties, visitors, cooking, shopping, and eating… lots of eating. Yet, with all the festivities, recruiters are still hard at work trying to fill reqs and source candidates before the end of the year.

This time of year is especially hard for talent acquisition (TA) professionals who want to keep the ball rolling while everyone else is in holiday mode. Trying to move candidates through the hiring process can feel impossible, but no one wants to just press pause for a whole month. Practitioners can easily become antsy with the slow nature of winter, but no one wants to be the overeager recruiter, dimming the spirit of the season with reminders and nudges.

Good news! There are still ways to be productive during the holidays without getting on the naughty list.

Here are some pointers for staying productive and in ways your candidates and colleagues will actually appreciate.


Don’t expect quick communication

Needless to say, people are busy during the holidays. Don’t expect fast replies from candidates. Beware of pushing too hard with reminders – it will get annoying quickly – rather make use of this time to get process tip-top for the new year.



Invite candidates to the company party

If it feels appropriate, invite top prospects to the company holiday party to get acquainted with the team, and stoked on the company culture!



Don’t contact people on the big day

Just don’t. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but it’s still a public holiday, and as such no time for work communication.

Consider adding other religious holidays to the online calendar, so you aren’t inadvertently trying to schedule meetings on a day of religious observance. Of course, you may not know what holidays a candidate observes, so just be respectful. An example of this would be…

‘I was thinking Monday 3 pm would be a good time to meet. However, it’s a busy time of year, so feel free to let me know what works for you.’

If you know you are asking to meet on a religious, but not public, holiday (generally don’t ask to meet on public holidays) then it may be appropriate to acknowledge that in your email.

‘Hi, Would Tuesday at 3 pm work for you? I realize it’s a holiday so please let me know if Thursday or Friday would work better.’

This wording gives options without making assumptions.



Spread holiday cheer

Infuse holiday outreach efforts with seasonal cheer! Wish candidates happy holidays and a joyous new year. It’s a simple gesture that makes applicants feel special.

Many recruiters wonder what greeting to use. This author’s subjective advice is to go with heart. “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” are great and inclusive terms, but “Merry Christmas” isn’t necessarily bad. Sending a personal card or email is not the same as decorating a governmental office, and most people will be touched by the thought regardless. (Consult HR for the company phrase if it’s on behalf of the organization.)

The term “Chrismahanukwanzakah” can read disrespectful and is best avoided. Don’t assume a religion on someone, but if you know a candidate celebrates an often overlooked holiday, the acknowledgment of their practice could be appreciated. Also, remember that asking someone what they celebrate is a no-no – even if the inquiry is for the purpose of holiday cards. To learn more about this check our article regarding  Top Illegal Interview Questions.



Self assess

With fewer candidates available to meet, it’s a great time to review the year. What were some big wins? Where do you want to improve? 



Think undergrads

College and university students will be on vacation for winter holidays. They are probably at home, probably bored, and probably getting a lot of questions about their future – this is a demographic that may appreciate info on open opportunities… “Yes aunt Linda, I am excited to graduate. And, I’ve already received a job offer!”



Meet with hiring managers

As part of the self-assessment and future planning, meet with Hiring Managers. Get their takeaways from the previous year, and make some joint goals for the next 365 days. And, of course, learn what roles they foresee needing!



Update everything

Make sure all the info is up to date. Career site, social media profiles, review sites (like Glassdoor etc), and job descriptions should all be accurate to start 2019. Don’t forget profile photos, too many professionals have out of date headshots. To avoid the appearance of ‘catfishing’ make sure the picture was taken in at least the last three years.



Relax and recharge!

Don’t burn yourself out before the new year even begins! Make sure to turn your email off for a couple days and enjoy the holidays.



Kaya Payseno