It can be tempting to sit back and tell yourself that the summer months are just a quiet time for everyone in the recruitment industry.
But the reality is that whilst you, your clients, candidates and colleagues might be taking holidays during the summer rather than thinking about jobs, you still need to be delivering results – and the best recruiters are always prepared for this.
Which is why it’s not unusual to see the top billers already thinking about June, July and August as early as April! Preparing for the summer months involves thinking ahead and approaching your strategy differently to ensure you’re still making headway towards your yearly targets.
So, how do you start laying the groundwork now to ensure your summer isn’t a flop?
1. Plan ahead for slower results
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessarily that things quieten down over the summer months for recruiters, it’s just that it can take a lot longer to move things forward. And this is because more often than usual you’ll find that someone somewhere down the line of your hiring process will be on holiday and you can’t take the next step until you hear from them.
This can be pretty frustrating, and the only way around it is to plan well ahead and try to get things moving forward before everyone you need disappears!
Which takes me to my next point…
2. Find out when clients and candidates are on holiday
Of course, not everyone has their holidays booked up and in the calendar already come March, but a lot of people do.
There’s no harm in casually asking about holidays when you speak to clients and candidates – they’ll only see this as a case of you being super organised and will probably be quite happy to tell you all about their holiday plans. Who doesn’t like telling people about their holidays? Just make sure you attach notes in your CRM and set reminders so you know to tie up any loose ends before they head off.
This could also be an opportunity to get some available dates for interviews from your client well in advance and pop these in your CRM so you can look to fill the time they have in the office with interviewing your candidates. This will be a busy time for clients as they will have to make up for being out the office, but in a candidate market does your client want to miss out on candidates because they're on holiday?
3. Focus on filling gaps
Your clients will have needs for holiday cover, so really the summer months can potentially be a busy time for you – it just means adapting your recruitment strategy a little. So start talking about gap management with your clients and perhaps switch the focus towards recruiting temps or part-time staff to fill those gaps.
Remember that Scottish and English school holidays fall on different months, so you’ll have more gaps to fill for your Scottish clients in July and in August for your English ones.
It’s also worth remembering that it’s when an employee is on holiday that you begin to understand just how much they contribute (or don’t contribute!) to the business, so summer is often a time when your clients will be making big decisions – and you want to be as close to them as possible when this happens.
4. Nail your handover system
And finally, you need to have a failproof handover system in place so that you yourself don’t miss out on any hires you’ve been working hard towards when you take a holiday yourself.
This could involve some sort of buddy system where you pair up with a colleague who’s closest to your niche and has a bit of an existing rapport with your clients and candidates so they can seamlessly take over in your absence. And if there’s no one on your team who you can entrust your clients with at this stage, start doing something about it now.
It’s so important we get a well-deserved break that involves a week or so without worrying about hitting monthly targets (as hard as that might be to imagine sometimes!), but the biggest mistake you could make is to leave without preparing first, so you come back to missed opportunities and a messy (or worse – empty!) pipeline.
So plan well ahead, assess what activity you need to nail in the weeks before you leave and get everything in place so you can actually enjoy yourself. And if this means staying back a few nights or coming in on a Saturday to get everything covered, it’ll all be worth it when you’re relaxing on the beach not worrying about the mess you might come back to!
We've got a great eBook with tips on how to map out your personal recruitment activities to ensure you reach your yearly recruitment targets - click to download it below.
Alan is the Associate Director of Growth at Firefish. An agency recruiter in a former life, he loves helping recruiters find ways to recruit smarter.