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January Is the Top Hiring Month of the Year. Are You Ready to Recruit? Hiring new people is a major investment. Take the time to do it right.

By John Rampton

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Kamon Supasawat | Getty Images

As every savvy job hunter and recruiter knows, January is one of the best times of the year for hiring. Mighty Recruiter broke down hiring trends and found that while recruitment dips around the holidays, January marks the beginning of a much more active season.

For small businesses, that means the always-raging war for talent is at its hottest at the beginning of the year. With 2019 just around the corner, recruiters and entrepreneurs need to be ready to snag the best new hires before the field dries up for a few months.

The most effective way to land top talent is to follow a plan, and the best plans all follow smart schedules. Before you add new faces to your team in the new year, add the following tasks to your calendar:

Related: How to Develop a Stellar Employer Brand

1. Create strong recruiting content.

Think content is just for outside marketing? Think again. Content is one of the most effective ways to attract top talent and advertise your company values.

Create content that provides an inside look at what life is like within the organization. Interview people in departments looking for new hires. Showcase the types of projects they tackle, the fun ways they come together as a team and the perks they enjoy working at the company. Work with HR to come up with pieces that talk about all the great ways the business takes care of its workers.

Companies should their brands to appeal to would-be candidates. Young people are especially interested in working for companies that understand social responsibility. If the brand stands for something noble, talented recruits will be more likely to pay attention when they start looking for work.

Related: Why Employer Branding Is So Important

2. Communicate warmly after interviews.

Even for people who don't make the cut, schedule time after interview rounds to follow up. So I don't forget, I always mark this in the calendar app.

Many companies don't speak at all to rejected applicants. Courteous ones send a generic email thanking applicants for their time. Smart companies, however, recognize that even rejected applicants can become brand ambassadors. Those companies follow up with personalized communications and encouragements to maintain positive relationships.

Creating brand ambassadors of rejected applicants allows businesses to expand their recruiting pools through word-of-mouth marketing. A person who doesn't hear back might speak negatively about the company, but a person who receives a genuine response might speak positively to a wide social circle. Messages like that spread quickly, attracting better candidates to companies that do things the right way.

Schedule a few minutes after each interview to write a handwritten note to applicants thanking them for their time. This small but uncommon gesture could open all sorts of unexpected doors for the company in the future.

Related: 5 Signs Your Employer Brand Is in Trouble

3. Speak to all the stakeholders.

Don't just work with HR to plug holes in departments that need more hands. Talk to managers and teams to find out what needs to improve and what kind of person could help. I like doing this in budgeting meetings in December.

Big corporations are notorious for making bad hires when they let HR departments blindly lead the hiring process. However, when running a small business, you can equally make egregious errors when founders only consult the hiring manager about the needs of the department.

Take the extra time to talk to everyone involved. Talk to the hiring manager to find out which functional competencies the right candidates should possess. Work with HR and cultural leaders in the office to avoid hiring someone who could disrupt the company vibe in a negative way.

Don't forget to include the affected team in the hiring process. Ladders advises leaders to include teams to feel out potential candidates. Not only does this make team members feel valued, but it also makes the onboarding process easier when the team already knows the new hire.

Remember, a recruitment push is not a hire-and-forget frenzy. Hiring new people is a major investment. If you don't take the time to do it right, you could end up wasting much more time and money than you would have by moving slowly. Schedule time to handle the small things and make your next recruitment push the most successful one yet.

John Rampton

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Entrepreneur and Connector

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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