05/15/2019 Molly Moseley

How to sizzle instead of scorch in the summer hiring slump

If you have kids, you probably have heard of the summer slump. Their motivation takes a dive during the easy breezy days of summer as they enjoy the weather and break from school. If you’re a hiring manager, you’ve probably noticed the summer slump as well, but this one is related to the dip in active job seekers and qualified candidates.

Seasonality certainly comes into play when hiring, and while there’s typically a big increase at the start of the year into spring, there is often a noticeable drop during the summer months. Turns out sunny summer isn’t people’s favorite time to get a new job. Just check out this graphic of the S&P 500 LinkUp Jobs Index from 2012 to 2019, which demonstrates the seasonality of the job market overall. Each year there is a noticeable dip in job postings mid-year, partly due to increased vacations for employers and their HR teams, but also due to an anticipated decrease in candidate flow.

Why the summer slump for job seekers? It might be workers have vacations planned and are putting their job search on hold until they are completed. It could be they simply want to enjoy the long days and glorious weather, rather than deal with the stress of interviewing and learning a new role if hired. Those kids might come into play here, too — with kids out of school, free time is spent with family (summer sports and camps, for example), and job searching just doesn’t fit into the busy schedule.

This can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean you should completely put your hiring efforts on hiatus. Now is the time to get creative and prepare for the future. Here are some ideas:

Get social: Summer is the perfect time to attend the numerous summer events that professional groups host. From nonprofits to industry associations, this is the time to get out and chat with people in a casual, friendly atmosphere. Collect business cards as you go! Don’t forget to ask for referrals as well. Even if someone isn’t an active candidate, they might know another person who is.

Be seen: With people out and about, this is when you need to be seen. Consider sponsorship and other opportunities depending on your hiring goals. Maybe there is an opportunity to sponsor a local event for recent graduates, a great keynote speaking opportunity or even participate in a local parade. You’ll not only help build business recognition, but you might meet some great candidates along the way.

Nurture: Use your ATS to look up candidates from the past 12 months that you liked but didn’t hire. Summer is a great time to follow up and see where these folks are at and if they are interested in future opportunities. Keep that talent pipeline filled! You may even consider hosting an informal informational gathering such as an early evening barbecue for these folks onsite, including building tours.

Summer isn’t a time to put your recruiting on vacation. Take these months to reach out and go the extra mile so you keep talent interested today and in the future.

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