“Out-of-office hiring season” is a term used to describe times of the year when hiring activity may slow down or be more challenging, such as during the holidays and the summer. During these times, candidates may be more difficult to reach or less active in their job search, as they may be focused on other activities or waiting until after the holidays or summer to start their job search in earnest. An Acara LinkedIn poll found that 52 percent of organizations’ hiring process moves slower during the summer months due to hiring manager and key decision-maker delays caused by vacations and scheduling conflicts.
Tips for hiring managers
During the holiday and summer hiring seasons, hiring managers must remain focused on providing a positive candidate experience. Here are some tips to follow.
Communicate timelines to candidates: Plan for delays and factor them into your timeline. Be clear about when candidates can expect to hear back from the hiring team. This can help manage expectations, prevent candidate ghosting, and reduce frustration for the hiring team and candidates.
- Related blog from Aleron Group Partner Broadleaf Results: Candidate Ghosting: What Is It, Why Does It Happen, and How Do You Prevent It?
Prioritize communication: Make communication with candidates a priority throughout the hiring process. Keep candidates informed about the status of their application and provide regular updates on the timeline—leverage technology to streamline communication, including automated emails or texts.
Be transparent: It’s important to be transparent with candidates about any delays and their reasons. Provide as much information as possible to help candidates understand the situation.
Be responsive: Ensure candidates can contact you or a team member with questions or concerns. Your phone and email out-of-office messages should include a team member that a candidate can contact in your absence. Respond to candidates’ inquiries as quickly as possible. Even if you don’t have an answer, acknowledge the message and tell them when they can expect a response.
Remain positive: Even when communicating delays, it’s essential to maintain a positive and professional tone. Keep the conversation focused on the candidate and their application, and avoid making excuses or blaming external factors. Acknowledge that the delay may be frustrating to the candidate, and apologize for any inconvenience it may cause.
- Related: Stephanie Amos discusses the who, what, where, why, and how to populate an effective job posting.
Tips for job seekers
Job searching during the slow holiday and summer months can be challenging, but remaining patient and persistent in your efforts is essential. Here are some ways to accomplish this.
Be flexible: The process may take longer because people may have difficulty aligning their schedules for interviews and decision-making. Due to a hiring manager being out of the office or on vacation, you may receive feedback on an interview a few days later than you’d like or have your meeting or start date pushed back a little. Due to conflicting vacations, it may take HR longer to review applications, schedule interviews, and reply to emails. Because interviews with multiple people within the organization are required for higher-level roles, job searches often take even longer.
Remain patient: Realize the process is out of your control. Set realistic expectations for your job search and be prepared for it to take longer than you anticipated. It’s important to be patient and not get discouraged if the hiring process moves slowly. Continue applying to other opportunities in the meantime.
Up your networking: Summer picnics and holiday gatherings can be an excellent opportunity to network and connect with people in a more casual setting. If you’re attending a summer picnic with colleagues, friends, or family members who work in your industry or at companies you’re interested in, take the opportunity to strike up a conversation with them and learn more about their experiences. Networking is about building relationships, so focus on making meaningful connections rather than collecting business cards.
Update your resume: Take advantage of the holiday or summer slowdown to update your resume. Assess what’s working and what could be improved. Look for areas where you can add more detail, highlight specific achievements, or reformat the layout for better readability. Be clear about your achievements and quantify them with numbers or percentages when possible.
- Related: 3 Mistakes to Avoid on Your Resume
Focus on skill building: Increasing your marketability by building new skills can be a great way to enhance your resume and make you a more competitive candidate for job opportunities.
- Research to identify the skills in demand in your industry or the job you’re interested in.
Look at job postings, industry publications, and professional development opportunities to get a sense of the skills that employers value.
- Leverage available online and in-person courses and workshops available to help you build new skills. Consider taking classes through online learning platforms like Coursera or Udemy, or look for in-person workshops by industry associations or professional organizations.
- Look for volunteer opportunities that allow you to gain experience in areas relevant to your career goals while giving back to your community.
- Seek out mentors in your industry who can offer advice and feedback, or consider working with a career coach to help you identify your goals and create a plan for building new skills.
Work with a recruiter: Recruiters have unique knowledge of hiring patterns and employment prospects with businesses, many of which will increase their hiring in the first and fourth quarters. A recruiter can help you discover temporary work to get you back on your feet until the ideal full-time position presents itself. Recruiters know the hiring manager’s expected time out of the office or travel schedule and can assist in setting clear timeline expectations on when to anticipate a response. Job seekers deserve time off and breaks as well! When working with a recruiter, keep them updated on your expected travel or time away to set the expectation with the hiring manager on when you will be available for an interview.
Acara can help!
The experienced recruiters at Acara have worked with thousands of job seekers and can help you take the first step toward advancing your career. Contact a recruiter today.
This blog was written by Stephanie Amos.