Recruitment plan: How recruiters can prepare for the new year

Bianca Compagnoni
13 Dec
Reading time: 8 minutes
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Remember how it was just March the other week, and now we’re in December? You ask yourself ‘where the hell did the time go?’ or ‘oh no, I have so much left to do!’ 

But more importantly, how can we prepare for the end of the year to ensure we’re ready for 2020? Most businesses wind down during Christmas, and once we come back to our desks we will officially be in a new decade.  

Like many of us, we enter the month of December with an excruciating list of tasks to complete before the new year. Christmas parties happen left, right and centre. We’re rushing to get our Christmas shopping done, preparing for visiting family members, running around the office from meeting to meeting and trying to find the time to sit down with clients and candidates. It sounds exhausting, but your recruitment plan can be accomplished if done correctly and efficiently. 

How can you prepare for this slow, and at the same time, hectic period? 

We spoke with Division Managers Brendan Allsopp and Andrew Holden from recruitment and HR consulting specialist McArthur on how they prepare themselves for the end of the year with recruitment strategies. They also offer advice that could help other recruiters and professionals in the industry. To finish off, we got in touch with recruitment firm Kennedy Reid, and Josh Vial from recruitment, digital marketing and content creation agency, Wasply, on how they prepare for the new year.

Start now, don’t delay 

As we’ve entered this end of year period, your recruitment plan, as Brendan advises, should include getting out of the office and visiting every single client and employee. “Make sure the visit isn’t about you, but about celebrating them and their wins,” he said. 

For example, “the amazing [temp/casual] employees that work for you and your clients, celebrate their hard work, dedication and passion which they provide for your clients – remember they are representing your brand, and without them, you wouldn’t have a job.

For your clients, celebrate their wins, the barriers they’ve broken and the challenges they’ve overcome. Find out what’s in store for next year and you may just find you’ll be brought along for the journey,” Brendan added. 

He never tells his clients ‘thank you for your business,’ as “to me, it’s not a business, it’s a partnership. In fact, I’ve already made pre-booked projects for next year because of this – give it a go!”

As for Andrew, he believes that now is the time to book meetings for the new year, where you “in turn start building the pipeline for Q3 of the Australian financial year. There can also be year-end work for any company that has December year-end on the finance front.” Remember this as part of your recruitment plan for the new year. 

He also believes recruiters should focus on “building a temp desk,” which “will mean that you have contractors generating revenue during this period rather than relying on permanent.”

Currently, “we have 35 contractors on average per week, so if the permanent market is slow, we always have this revenue,” he explained. “This year we are opening the Sydney Light Rail with a team of 200 people, and then managing the next metro upgrade from December 24th with other projects, so we will have a very busy period coming up.”

Andrew spoke on how running a temp desk provides “great cash flow every week, as opposed to the permanent recruitment market, which fluctuates. It’s forecastable and is less of a risk with small placements that build up over time, rather than one-off fees that can easily fall over.”

Three steps to better planning 

Brendan then shared what he follows when creating his recruitment plan for the new year. Here are his focus points.

1. Reflect

By this I mean, there is no better time than to sit back and reflect on the year that was. What has worked and what hasn’t, what was the good, the bad, the ugly, and “fugly” moments – use these as the pillars for the next step.

2. Plan

If you’re not planning now, then before you know it you’ll be nursing that hangover on New Years’ Day and the year ahead will seem just as blurry and painful as that. Don’t put yourself through it.

Planning should be in three parts:

  • Clients – current, new and lost.
  • Candidates – map out where they are and start reaching out – Christmas is perfect for talent pooling as data shows candidates tend to look for new opportunities during this period. New year, new job, right?
  • Reflecting on the good, bad and ugly behaviours that have occurred during the year.

You learn so much from reflecting on these behaviours because that is how we grow. More importantly, it can change your entire 2020. By reflecting on them, it compliments your planning.

I believe that recruiters who don’t prepare will be behind the 8-ball of those who do. 

3. Execute

Get it done! It’s kind of simple when you look at it this way. How you get it done is up to you – we all have to find our groove.

For Brendan, his boss and State Manager Rick Dalton told him about the 5 Ps. 

Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance

So, in short, “please make sure your 2020 is about the 5 Ps,” advised Brendan. 

Brendan encourages recruiters to start preparing their recruitment plan immediately. “The longer you leave it, the less time you have.”

The recruiter’s plan

Kennedy Reid’s Office Coordinator, Monica Xu, spoke with several of their company’s recruiters on how they’re planning for the new year. Here’s what they had to say.

“I’m taking it like any other month, I’m not thinking of this period as the slow or quiet end of the year as I’m still pushing through. I’m doing the same as I would do for any other day or month. I’m still looking to speak to candidates and still looking to book people in for interviews. My mindset is the same as any other time of year.” – Saskia Das Neves.

“It’s not a slow period for us on the Allied Health desk. We’re concentrating on what we can close during this period, working with what we’ve got as opposed to working on new business. To prepare for 2020 we’re building a virtual pipeline, that is, using advertisements to let candidates know now is actually the perfect time of year to start their job search if they want a new role in 2020. It makes sense because the stages of an interview, acceptance and notifying your current work takes time, so if you want to start a new role in January or February, now is the time to get all that done.” – Natasha Trpeski.

“I just started working at Kennedy Reid so it’s no downtime for me. I’m learning and trying to build a base to come back to in January. Ideally, over these next weeks, I’d like to get everything prepared and come into 2020 with everything ready to go. December is the prep month, so then in January, I can hit the ground running. At the moment I’m building a pipeline, networking and reaching out to candidates. On Christmas break, people are taking the time now to reflect on the year and potentially looking for a new career while they have more time on their hands.” – Denise Buckley.

Building your brand

What do you do during this downtime? As for Josh from Wasply, he has always adopted the mentality of “doubling down on your activity, because ultimately at the end of the day, activity equals activity,” he said. 

According to him, this isn’t just exclusive to the recruitment space, but even for sales, as sales representatives may tend to “lose motivation due to the lower volume of wins and responses that they’re used to during the year,” he added. 

Naturally, the end of the year is a slower period for all industries, where Josh advises recruiters and consultants to “double down on [their] activity, focus on the long game and set appointments with companies who [they] have identified [they] want to do business with, in the new year.” 

From a personal branding front, Josh spoke on the importance of content and videos, especially on your LinkedIn profile. “You need to be making videos on LinkedIn,” said Josh. “JobAdder has an awesome feature where they allow applicants to send through video intros, which I love because they know firsthand how powerful video can be,” he added. 

Josh emphasises to use this downtime period to learn about how to begin penetrating your market in 2020, especially if you’re not creating content for LinkedIn. 

Also, “it’s all about preparation, so use this time to establish what you want to get out of your content, what brand perception you’re looking to create and plan your posts well in advance – this is the perfect time to do that!”

I’m going to leave you with a popular African proverb: “For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

How are you preparing your recruitment plan for the new year? 

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