Career challenge: Should you allow the December holidays to slow down your job hunt?

Monday, December 11, 2023

It is often said that December is the most wonderful time of the year — but is this the case for job seekers? 

If you're looking for a new opportunity, it still makes sense to send out resumes, network with recruiters and follow up after interviews — even if some businesses are slower, according to hiring experts.

Here's a deeper dive into the issue — and smart tips for those on the hunt for a new position.

Do companies go into a slower ‘holiday mode’ in December? 

In general, most companies are still conducting business, but the pace of business operations may vary by industry, experts note.

"Although many companies and employees take vacation or are focused on the holidays, [the] end-of-year [time period] tends also to be a very busy time, as deadlines need to be met and onboarding new employees can be very beneficial," Michael Timmes, a senior human resource specialist at Insperity based in Florham Park, New Jersey, told FOX Business.

The end of the year often brings a hiring slowdown, noted Timmes, though some industries do have positions to fill.

"December is statistically believed to be the lowest hiring month of the year, but this isn’t reliable across all sectors as certain industries, such as retail, are in their busiest season of the year and hiring remains level, if not increased," he said.

Furthermore, with the end of the year comes the end of the annual budgeting process, noted Timmes.  

If there are surplus funds, a portion may be used by hiring managers to attract new employees to onboard ahead of the New Year, he also said.

Should job seekers keep sending out resumes in December?

Experts advise keeping your job search going, as your resume may hit the desk of a hiring manager at just the right time.

"You should absolutely send out resumes during December," Timmes underscored. 

"Also, even if the seeker isn’t hired in December, it’s a great way to get a jump-start on the new year hiring process — and interviews may begin in late December or early January," he added.

Also, job seekers may not be as focused on end-of-year job hunting, which allows for a smaller pool of competition, Timmes says.

Are hiring managers actively recruiting in December?

Human resources personnel are indeed recruiting in December, said Timmes.

"Hiring managers are recruiting, and many of them are looking to fill vacancies rather than having a hiring frenzy come January," he says.

"Keep in mind [that] we continue to see a labor shortage in many industries," he continued.

"Forward-thinking organizations are taking new approaches to find and retain talent."  

In addition, he says the year’s end is a good time to onboard and train employees, especially if the office is slower due to the holidays.

"Like job seekers seeing less competition in December, companies will also have less competition when seeking top talent," Timmes added.

In addition, specific companies will be looking to fill temporary positions, as they may need help on end-of-year projects and deadlines, he said.

"Temporary jobs can often turn into full-time positions," Timmes noted.

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