By Vijay Khatnani, Managing Partner, J2 Solutions
There is a persistent myth among job seekers that, except for seasonal work, hiring comes to a halt at Thanksgiving and picks up again after the New Year. Despite this myth, the truth is that most companies operate year-round and don’t slow down due to the holidays. Although the holiday season presents some challenges with hiring, the benefits of continuing to hire this time of year far outweigh the inconveniences.
Many companies create and follow a hiring strategy. Having a tried and true process is a wonderful thing, but your strategies may need to be altered to successfully hire during the holidays. For instance, just as you’re spending time reviewing the year, employees are also taking stock of what they accomplished or how happy they are in their role and debating if they are ready to move on. Turnover exists in every industry and this is the time of year when employees that are moving on may choose to tender their resignation earlier than they might at other times. If they have a new position to start in the New Year, they may want extra time so they can relax and spend time with their families for the holidays. Their departure creates an unexpected open role that may need to be filled right away, and you may need to alter your hiring process to accommodate the need to fill that role.
In addition to these unexpected openings, this is also the time that a budget surplus may surface with a use it or lose it stipulation that if you don’t use it, it won’t be available in next year’s budget. Maybe a new contract has been signed, and you need additional employees to handle the extra work. Regardless of the reason, you will want to start the hiring process as soon as possible. This is especially important if you need a new hire to be a contributing member of your team sooner rather than later.
Another compelling reason to hire during the holidays is that some of your competitors really do put a freeze on hiring during the winter months. With less competition, your job postings will stand out. You will be able to generate more interest in qualified job applicants, thus making your search more efficient than at other times of the year.
In fact, the candidates that apply during this time of year are particularly motivated in their job search. They are not the ones taking a break to make merry and they remain laser focused on a positive outcome. This high energy and optimism may well represent the stand out employee you are looking for. If they can prioritize their job search, they can prioritize your work, and some top businesses actually make a point of looking for new hires during the holidays for exactly these reasons.
In some cases, business may be a little slower during the holiday season which will grant you more time to concentrate on your hiring process. More time to review resumes, research the applicants and schedule interviews can allow for a more deliberate process to make sure you’re finding a great match. Job seekers can often be more responsive to interview requests because asking for time off this time of year doesn’t arouse suspicions with superiors or coworkers.
Despite the wealth of benefits of end-of year hiring, it’s important to remember that this is a hectic time for those celebrating any of the winter holidays. If a candidate is a little slow getting back to you, they may be taking a digital break to spend time with their family so try and cut them a little slack. Additionally, some of your staff may be taking vacation time and will need flexibility in scheduling interviews for potential new hires. Be patient with them, too.
If you haven’t done so yet, you may want to consider developing a relationship with a recruiter as part of your hiring strategy. Recruiters are hard at work to increase placements year-round, but especially at the end of the year. You can count on recruiters being motivated to find the right candidates to fill your openings.
Top companies work all twelve months of the year. They are always on the lookout for top talent, regardless of the season. The best recruiters are also on the job during the winter holiday season, making sure candidates and the companies who need them get together. Don’t wait until the New Year to post your open positions. The right candidates are out there all twelve months of the year, too!