A recruiter’s time is limited between phone screens, attending recruiting events, preparing candidates for interviews, and sourcing new candidates, and because of this, having a recruiting process is essential. And this definitely includes a recruiting calendar.

But what exactly should be on your recruiting calendar? Well, that depends on your specific needs. To ensure you’re set up for success throughout the year, here are some ideas for recruiters.

January and February

For most industries, the start of the year is an excellent time to find a job. There is probably no better time of year to find a job than now.

In January, things usually start slowly as people return from holiday vacations. However, by the second week, everything is running smoothly. Following that, there are a lot of phone interviews and first-round interviews.

Furthermore, it is at this time of year that the majority of decision-makers are in the office together. In addition, companies usually get their new hiring budgets in January. This means that a lot of hiring postponed in November and December now has a chance to take place.

In addition, many companies pay annual bonuses in December, so people tend to wait until January to change jobs. Due to this, companies make a lot of new hires in January and February.

In terms of candidates, a new year sparks a need for change and a desire to explore new possibilities.

Priorities to add to your recruiting calendar.

  • Review last year’s performance. Were your goals met? If this is not the case, you may need to make adjustments this year.
  • Meet with them to determine what hiring managers are looking for this year.
    • Determine which roles could be filled from within versus externally based on the skills/potential of the current team.
    • Identify the roles that need to be filled and set a timeline for hiring them.
  • Plan and set quantitative and qualitative goals based on insights from last year and larger company-wide goals, and hiring manager goals. Establish a timeline.
  • A recruitment budget should be confirmed and communicated.
  • Ensure the budget is in mind when auditing current tools and researching new ones.

You should also include conferences, meetups, hackathons, talks, and other happenings in your hiring calendar, along with who you wish to hire and when. Your team can prepare for more niche market recruiting by marking these events on your calendar. At the minimum, this includes who to contact, how to contact them, when, and who to send. Finally, don’t forget to plan for job fairs, internships, and interviewing candidates in response to post-graduation start dates during spring and winter college recruitment.

March, April, and May

There are a few reasons why these are still good times to apply and hire for jobs during these months.

Usually, the hiring surge in January and February keeps some momentum until the summer slump. The reason? The summer months are often a time for vacations and school breaks for many families. In turn, getting in touch with candidates is a good idea, but you may also see a slow (or fewer) response to emails.

Spring also brings high school and college graduations, which means a new crop of job applicants. Consider including new-to-the-workforce candidates in your job descriptions and hiring processes — if you’re willing to hire them. In addition, you need to communicate and be transparent with recent grads since they may be inexperienced or utterly new to the hiring and interview processes.

One more thing. Although remote work is becoming more prevalent, late spring and summer are popular moving seasons for those in location-based roles. As such, the timing is perfect if you intend to hire candidates who will need to relocate.

In short, March, April, and May are still great times for both recruiters and applicants. So, it’s in your best interest to be prepared.

Priorities to add to your recruiting calendar.

  • Take an audit of your career site and social media, especially LinkedIn, to revamp your employer branding. Are your values communicated through them? Based on your online review of your company, how likely do you want to work for it as a candidate?
  • To engage candidates, review your email outreach templates to ensure they are aligned with your brand.
  • For roles that are difficult to fill, update their job descriptions. Identify the roadblocks standing in your way by meeting with hiring managers. Analyzing open, response, and interest rates will help your hiring managers to determine when adjustments are needed.

June, July, and August

In the summer, things typically slow down. So, you probably won’t have as many applicants. After all, you and your team are on vacation or reduced summer hours. In addition, with your recruiting team spread out, it’s more challenging to conduct a face-to-face interview or make a hiring decision.

As a result of the hiring rush at the beginning of the year (January-May), you may have already filled several open positions within your organization. As a result, by summer, there will be less of a need.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t have any applicants. With summer winding down and kids returning to school, some people may be more willing to change careers.

However, your main recruiting focus should be towards the fall. In the fall, hiring tends to reset somewhat as it does at the beginning of the year. The end of the year will bring hiring managers looking to fill positions across all industries, and candidates in high-demand fields may feel overrun by offers.

Priorities to add to your recruiting calendar.

  • Examine your goals at the end of the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter. By the end of the year, will you be able to accomplish them? Is it necessary to adjust them?
  • By August, you should ensure that your tools and processes are optimized in preparation for the fall hiring boom. What aren’t the features of your current software being used? Do you have an even distribution of work among your team members?
  • Assess your previous pass-on candidates and add them back into your funnel if they are a good fit for any new positions.
  • Also, the time is right to get into the recruiting mindset of “selling.” Therefore, practice your “sales pitch” and ensure you are offering competitive compensation/benefits.

September and October

Besides January and February, September and October can also be some of the best times for job applications. The reason? The hiring process often occurs in waves. Things pick up a bit in the early fall after the summer was slow. This is especially true once recruiting team members return from vacation.

Interviews happen more frequently, and the amount of downtime and waiting is reduced. As a result, from beginning to end, the hiring process is smoother and more efficient.

Priorities to add to your recruiting calendar.

  • Budgets for hiring teams are released during the closing quarter of each year. Take advantage of this time before the holidays. You may want to keep a list of emerging tools throughout the year and propose budgets for the ones you want at the end. Set up dates for you and your team to learn about and select the most valuable tools using trials and product demos.

November and December

Candidates may also be slower to respond during the end-of-year holidays. A person may also wait until the following year to decide whether to leave their job or make a decision should they receive an end-of-year bonus or have vacation time to use up.

Make sure not to contact candidates on significant holidays. Instead, consider engaging new candidates after the new year when mid-December arrives.

Also, late November and December are popular times for vacations. So, there’s a perfect chance that you and your recruiting team aren’t even in the workplace. It’s also likely that as November approaches, you are putting aside hiring goals and putting things on hold until the start of next year.

Priorities to add to your recruiting calendar.

  • Take a look at candidate feedback from the past year. Do you think it reflects your vision for their experience?
  • Make sure your budget is in order. How much does your cost-per-hire for this year look like? Next year, can you reduce your CPH without compromising your results?
  • Recruiters should analyze their workloads and, if applicable, their recruiting teams’ workloads. In comparison to your ideal routine, how do you actually spend your time? Are there ways to streamline your process?
  • Take a moment to reflect on your personal experience this year. Where did you succeed, and where are you still learning? You may find the holidays ideal to research professional development opportunities to enhance your skills or knowledge in the coming year.
  • Plan ahead for the new year. In November and December, you’ll want to build a pipeline of people ready to make a change at the end of the year. Doing so will give you a head start in January.

7 Tips for Preparing a Recruiting Calendar

1. Determine each department’s hiring plans.

Set up a hiring forecast as each department sets its quarterly or yearly goals. To meet these goals, prioritize which departments you’d like to hire first, how many hires the company plans to make, and when you’d like to train and acclimate them.

Candidate dropoff occurs, among other reasons, due to the long period between your first contact with a candidate and the extended offer period.

2. Identify potential hiring setbacks and prepare a plan for them.

It’s essential to have flexibility in your schedule. After all, no matter how well you plan for recruiting, hiring, and onboarding, unexpected hurdles come up from the candidates’ end, and ignoring how to deal with them can cause issues to escalate quickly. What do you do when someone abruptly resigns? What about layoffs?

Can the rest of the department handle the extra work if a new hire’s start date does not correspond with business goals? When your company is limited in resources, let your team know they may need to bootstrap to overcome weaknesses. Your time-to-hire can also be shortened by identifying your best source of hires, historically, for your company.

3. Batch and build your day in time blocks.

To ensure maximum productivity, build your daily schedule in blocks. Then, you can color-code your time slots to help you remember which task to tackle next.

Also, I would suggest batching similar tasks together. For example, consider sending new candidate emails before the start of each workday, during lunch, or at the end of the day to avoid getting off track and track candidates more effectively.

Also, I would dedicate Mondays to going through applications. The reason? “HR managers are freshly ready to view their huge pile of CVs and start off their work right,” explains Sahar Halawi on LinkedIn. “As the days go on, resumes can pile up, and yours might get lost among many others on a recruiter’s portfolio.”

4. Be prompt with replies.

“After each interview, candidates will be anxiously awaiting an answer as to whether they got the job,” writes Howie Jones in a previous Calendar article. Unfortunately, feedback that takes too long, or none at all, can be frustrating. “Worse, it can tarnish your company’s brand, hurting your ability to attract other applicants.”

“After each interview, set a reminder in your online calendar to reply to the candidate,” adds Howie. “They’ll be grateful that you reached out promptly, enabling them to move forward one way or the other.”

5. Leverage AI-powered candidate screening.

To hire the right candidate, it is crucial to screen them. ‌The reason? The recruiter can eliminate applicants who are not qualified for the job and focus on the most qualified candidates instead.

Nevertheless, you probably need to do this manually every day. As a result, it often requires a great deal of time and effort on your part. ‌‌Also, it is almost impossible to ensure only the most qualified candidates are considered for hire if you receive many applications.

Is there a better way? Utilize artificial intelligence to automate screening.

You can automate the selection process for candidates by using an applicant tracking system. ‌By doing this, you will be able to speed up your recruiting process while maintaining screening quality. Moreover, this technology does not tire of screening and reviewing candidates. ‌The system is also free of human bias.

6. Make timely calendar updates.

Not keeping up with your calendar is considered poor calendar etiquette.

Recruiters may schedule an interview without knowing you’re out of the office, on vacation, or working from home. They’ll need to reschedule if you’re out of the country, in a different time zone, or have a conflicting event. This is an unnecessary hassle and leads to poor candidate experiences.

Be sure to inform everyone in advance when you’re not available to participate in the recruiting process.

7. Establish your onboarding process.

Once you’ve chosen your favorite candidate, recruitment doesn’t end. Ensure a smooth transition from candidate to employee by creating an onboarding process. For example, a welcome packet may be provided on the first day. You may also consider virtual greetings, assigning a mentor, and scheduling weekly check-ins.

An effective onboarding process can make your new hire feel comfortable and prepare them for success. Develop an onboarding process that outlines the steps in detail.

Image Credit: Sora Shimazaki; Pexels; Thank you!