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“It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid”…unless you’re a Recruiter

by Max Jones / Thursday 17th November 2016


Now I am sure when Bob Geldof sat down alongside Midge Ure back in 1984 & started brainstorming lyrics for the soon-to-be most played Christmas song ever, recruitment consultants were not in the forefront of their minds.

I am sure they did not intentionally look to ostracise every recruitment consultant in the world by suggesting that the Christmas period meant there was “no need to be afraid”. For all you recruiters out there, I’m talking directly to you. What does December mean to you? Gut reaction – what’s it all about? Now while I’m not there with you, I can’t see personally what you wrote down, I can assume terms like “slow”, “winding down”, “a BD month”, “quiet” have been written?

For some reason there is this idea that around the Christmas period there is a “natural lull” in prospects, interviews & placements. I think there is a usual tendency to directly compare the figures of December with the figures of January & while I respect why agencies do this, I feel this unfortunately adds to the scepticism around the holiday month.

So today I’m going to be fighting December’s corner. I’d like to challenge this perception, heck I’d like to come out here & say that I feel that isn’t just wrong, that it’s un-recruiter of you to be scared of December.
December is a fantastic month for recruitment & here’s why…

1. Prospects are always looking, no more so than around Christmas

Every prospect, from time to time, whether they are happy in their current role or looking for their next, finds themselves on job boards, on LinkedIn or social media time & time again. No more so than around the holidays. With more free time, more hours traipsing round the shops & more time waiting in line for the “Gingerbread Lint Hot chocolate Latte Christmas costa special”, there is more time to read new business material, new collateral & about new opportunities.

2. Small agency leverage

Being the fantastic SME that I know you are, or aspire to be, you have certain leverage over the larger agencies out there around this time of the year. With budgets running low in December, recruitment isn’t as heavily focussed upon. Prospects are less engaged, more likely to have a chat & happier to get out of the office & have a coffee with you than if they were being rushed off their feet at work.

3. Increased visibility

Jobs boards often slow down during December as less companies are looking to hire & recruiters are more focussed on the Christmas party than they are on REED or Total Jobs.

4. Networking

Christmas is always a fantastic excuse to set up a networking event or two or three or ten! No one raises an eyebrow to a Christmas “get together” & understanding that will put you in fantastic stead for the month ahead. You are increasingly more likely to meet fantastic candidates & having your business referred to by clients within your market, the more you network. & what better excuse, than Christmas!

5. Reflection

Everyone approaches the holiday period looking back on the year they’ve had & the year they’re hoping to have. For many, the changes in their lives for 2017 will revolve around their career & what better time to approach a candidate than during this time. A quality candidate won’t be cajoled into making any move, but if you talk to them at the right time, in the right way & from the right “place” then perhaps December will be your month.

6. Have a killer phycology

At the end of the day, recruitment is all about intensity. & without intensity, regardless of the month, the numbers will be low, the candidates will be sparse & the placements will be lacking.

Everyone is guilty, in some form or another, of taking their foot off the gas the closer they get to Christmas & the extended break, but all top quality recruiters know that the only real “day off” is Christmas day (if they’re lucky). Recruitment is simple. & I know it sounds simplistic & very “holistic” of me, but the only real reason there is a “natural lull” in December is down to recruiter intensity, ferocity & momentum.

For SSG, December has always been a fantastic month for our clients & that’s really nothing to do with us. It’s a month of reflection & projection, but also a month of intensity. Our clients are fantastic when it comes to drive & motivation & I guess that’s part of the reason they all decided to make the slightly daunting leap & create their own businesses.

So make December work for you, make Bob Geldof’s lyrics appropriate to you & I’d love to hear from you about your December recruitment experiences.