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How to create an annual recruitment plan

Liv Anderman
VP of Marketing
December 10, 2021

Effective planning is a key aspect of success in any recruiting team. But an equally important factor is timing. Recruiting has its ebbs and flows throughout each fiscal year and we’ve put together some tips to consider in your annual recruitment plan.

Understanding how your recruitment plan maps to your fiscal year will help you better organize your hiring efforts and improve results across the board. Let’s take a closer look at how recruitment timing typically functions.

Q1 – Budgeting and a fresh start

The first quarter of every new year is a busy time for companies. This is when new budgets are allocated to recruiting departments and action is taken to push forward new growth initiatives. Q1 is a great period to hire because money is less of a central focus.

Resource: 5 steps to optimize your 2022 recruiting budget

Also, this quarter is the industry favorite for hiring. Research has shown that January is a month when people are psychologically geared toward making a fresh start. It’s a new year, a clean slate, and an opportunity to make a change. However, this timing does depend on the industry. For example, tax and accounting companies are extremely busy from January to April every year, so they’re not focused on bringing on new people.

Q2 – College recruitment efforts

Q2 is when a fresh contingent of college graduates heads to job fairs to secure their first job. This is a busy period for recruiting teams looking to onboard new hires before the summer months.

If your company is gearing up to hire entry-level employees, it’s a good idea to review which colleges you want to target. You should plan to attend their careers fairs and find out more about graduate programs run through the university. It might be time to refresh your brand to appeal to the newest recruits.

Resource: 5 steps to building a successful recruitment marketing plan

Q3 – Business slow down and summer vacations

Companies typically slow their operations in the summer months. Many employees take time off to go on vacation and recruiting efforts typically go on hold during this period. For example, this isn’t an easy time to hire for a high-level management role that requires interviews with several people throughout the company.

For recruiting teams, this is a great time to reset, assess the company’s needs going forward, and plan the recruiting strategy for Q4 and Q1 of the following year.

Resource: 5 strategies for building a talent roadmap

Q4 – Business picks up before the holidays

Employees tend to take less time off in the Fall and there’s a push to be productive before the holiday season kicks in. Hiring in Q4 has several benefits if the situation is right for your organization. For starters, there’s much less hiring competition in Q4. Most companies are scaling back their efforts during this time to get ready for the next hiring push in Q1. So if you have any remaining budget, it can be a great time to put it to good use. It’s also the time to plan budget requests for the coming year.

Keep in mind that it’s best to plan effectively, as you’ll want to have new hires fully onboarded before the holiday season.

Resource: 4 steps to building a business case for your HR talent initiatives

3 Tips for your Annual Recruitment Plan

  1. Plan ahead
    Planning and execution shouldn’t happen in the same time period. It’s more effective to have a solid plan in place before each quarter begins, so your recruitment team can focus their efforts on bringing on the best possible candidates. Most importantly, stay on top of your recruitment budget and know when you’ll have the funds to make the push to hire.
  2. Be ready for competition in peak recruiting periods
    Q1 is the hottest period for recruitment, and competition from other companies can mean you might miss out on A+ candidates. If you’re not prepared to move quickly and close candidates with a great offer, it’s not uncommon for another company to pick them up first. Developing a streamlined closing/onboarding process is key to staying ahead of the competition. You can also get a head start on hiring for Q1 by pushing to start up your hiring process in Q4 of the previous year.
  3. Be aware of your hiring timelines
    Building on the last point, if you’re going to plan to hire in Q4 you should be well aware of the timeline required to recruit, interview, and onboard a new hire. Q4 is a period where people take plenty of time off for the holidays, so if you’re going to bring on a new hire during this time, it’s best to get them fully onboarded before the holiday vacations kick in.

Final Thoughts for Next Year’s Recruiting

When looking at your recruiting efforts for an upcoming year, planning is everything. However, it’s also important to be adaptable. If your company begins to grow rapidly at the end of Q2, you might have to change gears and kick into a big hiring push for Q3 to keep that momentum. Ensure you have the right recruiting stack to enable your team to scale with agility.

The more honed your recruitment plan, the easier it’ll be to adapt to the changing needs of your business.

Next steps:

Optimize your recruiting budget

Develop a recruitment marketing plan

Create a talent roadmap

Build a business case

This post is part of a larger series on building your own talent acquisition strategy. Follow the link for our most helpful tips.