Secret squirrel whispering is problematic for a number of reasons. Cleared recruiting over the holidays? Forget about it. Candidate communication is slowed while travel is at an all time high and time with family/friends takes higher priority. But as a talent acquisition professional in the DoD, deadlines, and pressure from hiring managers does NOT take a back seat.

So, how are you supposed to source candidates, meet your submittal quotas, and staff billets through the yule tide season? ClearanceJobs had a conversation with one of our D.C. secret squirrel hunters about how to maximize your recruiting efforts over the holidays.

HAVE A HUMAN CONVERSATION ON OFF HOURS

You’re trying to get a response from a candidate – the candidate communication fall off is a challenge for recruiting every holiday. But recruiters need to remember t’s not an 8am-5pm job, and that doesn’t change during the month of December. Take the time off you need to recharge but inform your hiring managers that you may have to do the bulk of your work from 2pm-7pm if that’s when the candidates are available. SECRET SAUCE TIP: follow up with a handwritten card to your candidates.

Create A GOOD SYSTEM

You need relationships as a recruiter – maintain good note-taking practices and utilize your Applicant Tracking System almost like a Salesforce. Your candidates are your customers, so good note-taking to jog your memory for a personalized conversation can help in the long-term priorities in recruiting for pipelining (connecting on a monthly basis with a group of candidates for a ‘hey howya doin’), or help you fill those billets fast for the short-term staffing game, too.

MAINTAIN A BENCH CANDIDATE LIST

You’re not supposed to bait and switch candidates for proposal efforts / key resumes. However, you should use your niche cleared recruiting (intelligence / targeting in the DC area, for example) and have your bench list of candidates you can rely on to include in your proposal response if you ever find yourself in a bind.

GET SAVVY WITH AUTOMATED TOOLS

Sometimes it’s the fourth or fifth message to a candidate that actually gets them to respond. So every recruiting team should have some sort of recruitment automation tool attached to their ATS. Especially when personal lives of recruiters start to get stretched during the holidays, automate the process where you can so you can spend more time on the human touch.

LET YOUR TEAM RECHARGE

If you are a hiring manager, let your recruiters take the time they need during the holiday season. Time off = more productivity when they are working. So, if deadlines for proposal efforts are extended to Christmas eve, remember that your team needs a moment to enjoy the Christmas carolers, too!

 

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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸