You don’t need me to tell you that January (especially) and the entire first quarter of 2013 can be the busiest period of the year for recruitment activity. There are many reasons for this, such as: reduced candidate supply in the festive December month, leading to pent up demand for talent in January, the fact that the new budget year starts for many businesses, releasing new funds, and the fact that many employees choose to use the new calendar year as impetus to try something new.
The problem with the January surge in activity is that it is not perfectly balanced and demand can often outstrip supply of talent, meaning it can be an especially challenging time for recruiters, but an exciting time for job seekers in what can often be a candidate’s market. Therefore, the most astute employers and recruiters will be looking to gain first-mover advantage in 2013 by readying their recruitment processes and getting themselves into gear so they can get first call on the fresh new talent as it hits the market in 2013 – and below I have outlined four tips on how you can do just this.
1. Prime your talent communities and extended talent network
Now is a good time for employers and recruiters to be engaging with their talent communities, be that their company branded communities or third-party hosted communities on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Great topics for this kind of year are: new year’s career resolutions, career goals for 2013, life aspirations 2013, or pay aspirations for 2013. These are all great topics which will start to prime your network for job search in 2013 – while at the same time putting your face in the picture as someone who can help them with it.
2. Make your job adverts more magnetic
If you haven’t done it already, it’s a good time to start upgrading your job adverts so they can have maximum magnetic effect in the competitive 2013 period. Three changes come to mind. The first is to incorporate video, as research from Careerbuilder shows that postings with video receive 12 percent more viewings and have a 34 percent greater application rate. Make sure to introduce sections in your job description that promote your company culture, career-development opportunities and the quality of management as research has shown that these are hugely attractive features to today’s candidates.
3. Revitalize your employee referral scheme with a January referral bonus
Research tells us that employee referral schemes are the most effective form of hire, accounting for a higher percentage of hires than job boards. So, if you don’t have a referral scheme, January is a great time to launch one. If you do have one, why not revitalize your scheme by introducing an enhanced bonus for referrals in next month? An added bonus is that this initiative will help to focus your critical employees on your own business, meaning they may be less focused on job search; therefore, creating a good retention device.
4. Check pay rates against marketplace
This is an obvious one. Do some market assessments to check that your pay rates are competitive from day one of 2013. You don’t want to lose top talent to your peers simply because you are out of touch with the market and offering uncompetitive salaries.
On top of making sure you get the first-mover advantage in the marketplace, you also need a defensive strategy to ensure you don’t lose top talent as quickly as you find it. Below are two tips on the staff retention side to make sure your competitors don’t get first-mover advantage on your staff.
Naturally, you should be engaging with employees all the time but, at the very least in January, you should try and engage with mission critical, at-risk employees at a time when they may be at risk or susceptible to attractive opportunities in the market-place. How exactly do you engage? This could be things like: holding career aims discussions, setting new goals and targets for the year with contingent pay rises and incentives, introducing a new project—anything that excites the employee about the business and removes their focus from the external market.
Also, think about introducing a new, modern benefit such as the ability for people to request flexible working, (if not doing so already), which is a very attractive benefit and ‘pull factor’ that should help to further engage your team.
Good luck for 2013!