We’re getting a lot of calls right now from potential new clients who have been recruiting on their own since the summertime. In past years, we got those calls in mid-September, then as the economy worsened, we got the calls in October. But this year, we’re getting them in November. It’s an economic barometer–I call it the “How long can you suffer until you ask for help?” indicator.

But in November, when people call, they often ask me a question. “Is this a good time to be recruiting?” People are worried that they frittered away the great recruiting months of September and October.

Our ability to get the attention of great candidates varies depending on the time of year. (We can always find someone who is willing to talk with us.) So the real question is “How long will it take to put together a robust slate of highly qualified candidates?” And the holiday season adds some delays and complexities to that. It brings to mind a quote attributed to General Omar Bradley:

“Amateurs talk about strategy, dilettantes talk about tactics, and professionals talk about logistics”

So on to the logistics. On the 2011 calendar, there are 4 beautiful weeks of recruiting left–from November 14th to the 18th, and from November 28th through December 16th.  Outside of that, you will have a very difficult time attracting the attention of currently employed people.

So if you really want to get someone on board in early January, don’t dabble with just running ads and hoping for luck. This is the time to aggressively reach out, and to move quickly to interview anyone with potential. The recruiting window is closing fast.

But if something happens, and you end up frittering away the next few weeks, promise yourself that you will stop suffering this year. Make your plans in mid-December to be recruiting heavily in early January–which is the best time to recruit all year. At least then you can get someone started in mid-February.