Recruiting Lessons from Video Chat Santa

Did you know? 10,000 parents avoided the mall and paid $34.95 for their kids to talk to Santa online this year. What does that have to do with your business? Find out now.

It is a new world out there – don’t miss it!

A couple weeks ago, I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Mall Santa Loses Reins to Video Chat.” What I read not only shocked me, but it also reminded me that this is 2020 – not 2002.

The article discussed how kids now get online to talk to Santa. The live video chat costs their parents $34.95. Guess how many parents did this over the holiday season? 10,000. Yes, TEN THOUSAND! That’s TEN THOUSAND at $34.95. When the service started five years ago, they had 80 Santas. Now, they have more than 300 Santas. These “screen Santas” have a backdrop behind them that looks like their house at the North Pole. But wait! There’s more…

There is a professional Santa Claus school in Denver that has been training Santas for 37 years. This school helps train those 300 Santas who will take the 10,000 calls.

Want to supersize the Santa experience? For $74.95, parents can order the platinum gift package from This comes with some goodies, including pictures of Santa holding a baby elf, reindeer food, and a personal phone call from Santa himself. Parents say this is better than going to the mall and standing in line for a couple of hours and putting their kids in an environment with colds, etc.

So, what does this have to do with Recruiting, Hiring and Retaining? EVERYTHING! It is a new world out there. We need to adapt to it, because the world is not going to adapt to how we used to recruit, hire and retain.

  • Speed is everything. You have someone who needs a job, and you have an opening. Shouldn’t you do everything you can to hire the right person right away? 37 percent of hourly workers list being hired quickly as the most important factor as a job seeker.
  • Texting back applicants immediately is a must as soon as you get their application and it passes CareerPlug PRO’s fast track questions.
  • Be considerate. For those who don’t qualify, let them know right away! Again, CareerPlug has an email template ready to go for this. This person is a prospective “customer”. They will appreciate how considerate you are. Most companies aren’t and applicants may wait for weeks to hear something.
  • “Close” the deal. Get their commitment to join you. Back in the day when I was hiring, we sent a dozen roses to the new employees and mentioned how excited we were to have them as a part of our family. It really helped to make sure the new employee showed up on day one. Again, most importantly, get the commitment and the starting date. Then, of course, complete the cycle by recording this in CareerPlug.

It is 2020. We are better positioned than ever before to provide Neighborly franchisees with the support and tools necessary for Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining. Take advantage of them, just like some entrepreneurs have realized talking to Santa online is more effective than going to the mall to do it.

We have new recruiting sites on CareerPlug and on Indeed. Our FBCs can provide more support understanding and using CareerPlug than ever before. There is more to come, too.

Let’s have a great year in recruiting!

 Mark Liston Signature

Mark Liston, Director of Special Projects for Neighborly

Mark Liston, Director of Special Projects for Neighborly

Mark serves as the Director of Special Projects for Neighborly



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