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Job Hunting During the Holidays

Don’t give up. Companies are still hiring through the holidays.

Every year in November, job seekers I’m working with inevitably call me up to lament that “things seem to be slowing down on the hiring front.” Less jobs are being posted, it’s taking longer to get feedback on interviews, and the overall urgency falls off. It can be frustrating, especially if you are in between jobs and have that hanging over your head during the holidays.

It is true that there are lots of distractions going on this time of year that provides headwinds for hiring:

  • Most HR teams are in the middle of open enrollment for benefits during November and the front part of December. This can be an enormous, deadline-driven distraction.

  • HR is also often tagged with planning the company holiday party, another time-eating event.

  • Sales, operations, and finance are focused on year-end.

  • Executives are working on their budgets for next year, a process that can extend into January or even February.

  • Any company involved in the holiday shopping season (retailers, shippers, trucking, etc.) is just trying to hang on. Hiring is the last thing on their mind.

  • Many people are sitting on a pile of PTO they need to take. Getting all the stakeholders together in one place at one time for one candidate can be a feat. Let alone a slate of 3-4 candidates. It can result in weeks of delays or extra trips to interview.

  • Even if they are in the office, there are tons of extracurricular things going on – the kids’ holiday play, office parties, client luncheons, and the never-ending to-do list that swamps us this time of year.

With all that noise, many candidates make the mistake of assuming there is zero chance of getting a job before New Years. They slack off all the work they’ve been doing up until this point to find a job and go into holiday mode. This is a huge missed opportunity. Here’s why:

  • While some companies are dragging their feet, many have hiring targets and budgeted positions to fill ASAP.

  • While you might not start a new job until January, many managers want to have a full bench before the year starts.

  • If managers are in the office, they are often less busy. I have some of the best meetings and conversations of the year with hiring managers the week between Christmas and New Years.

  • You might actually need to impress less people. If Steve in Marketing is on PTO and is not critical to the hiring process, the company might skip his input.

  • It can be easy to onboard and train people over the holidays, when the workload might be less.

  • There are less job seekers right now, meaning less competition. Assuming many are slacking off (which you are NOT going to do) you will be at the head of the line. Many employed job seekers are eligible for year-end bonuses or stock options, which usually don’t hit until February or March. They will also be on the sidelines, so they don’t leave that money behind. Companies that have an opening to fill now will not wait until a candidate is available in April.

If you are on the job hunt now, keep it up. It might seem like an impossible mission, but you will have a great chance of landing a new job. Even if you don’t, you’ll have so much more momentum in your job search going into the New Year.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below and share with your networks. If your job search is really struggling, The Rivet Group can help! From practice interviews to resumes to full coaching packages, we can be a resource for you. Let us know how we can help.

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