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How to Hire around the Holidays

There’s a long held rumor that companies don’t hire during the holiday season. Where the rumor came from, it’s anyone’s guess. While some industries may slow down, many others keep trucking along, and even more ramp up. Sectors like eCommerce, retail, logistics, travel & hospitality all tend to start their busy seasons in Q4. So is the time between turkey and auld lang syne the time to be pumping the brakes on hiring? Or should your company be full steam ahead?

Timeline to Hire

One of the first questions we ask our clients who want to start the new year off with a bang is what their timeline is for hiring. By starting with an expectation of when they want their new employee on board, we can work backwards with an estimate of when they need to start searching. And while most companies aren’t putting the kibosh on hiring through the holidays, the reality is that people tend to be less available. Hiring teams are using their precious PTO and candidates are likely to have scheduling constraints, as well. Knowing that interview scheduling might need to be pushed further out is a factor that should be considered when thinking about keeping a role open through November/December. But that doesn’t mean companies should push pause. On the contrary, if a company’s target start date for an employee is January or February, hiring teams should be actively recruiting and interviewing talent through the end of the year. The average time to hire in the United States is 44 days (which can be much less if you’re utilizing amazing, talented, and beautiful recruiting consultants like us). And that’s just the average. More specific qualifications, technical ability, or seniority can stretch that timeline out considerably. Even without the holidays mucking up getting interviews on the calendar, hiring managers need to be planning a couple months in advance. And that’s just the employer side. Once you identify your next hire, there’s still more time that needs to be factored in.

Think about it: A candidate who is currently in a position will likely need to give 2 to 3 weeks notice to their employer and many employees will be unwilling to give notice before they use their holiday time-off. By making an offer and a firm hiring decision in mid-to-late December, a company can ensure their new employee is ready to go in mid-to-late January.

Talent Feels the Holiday Horrors

We all know the feeling of “Sunday Scaries”. It’s the dark cloud employees start noticing the evening before the work week begins again. The dread begins setting in as Monday creeps closer. Even the happiest time of the year isn’t immune to this syndrome. The same feeling happens over the holidays. Employees get quality time with friends and family and are forced to evaluate (and re-evaluate) how they feel about work when they answer the, “How’s your job going?” question for the millionth time. Time off gives workers the opportunity to reflect on their current situation and current place of employment.

And guess what? Lots of employees are going to reflect on the fact that their job sucks.

That may be harsh but it’s also the reality for many candidates. Other employees may simply be feeling the squeeze of holiday gift-giving and travel–especially when it comes to the impact on their pocketbook. Considering most employees need to make moves in order to seriously increase their salary, a company’s next hire may be perusing job listings and mulling over a move while sipping mulled wine.

Either way, recruiting through the holidays gives employers a leg up on snagging these candidates who are weighing what they want out of their career versus what they’re actually getting in the present moment. Staying active on LinkedIn and keeping jobs up on job boards is a sure fire way to stay in front of these people who may even just be passively looking during downtime boredom (or in a desperate attempt to get away from the in-laws).

One Company’s Downtime…

…is another company’s treasure. The fact remains that some companies will move hiring down the list of priorities over the holiday season. Companies that remain visible in the market at this time of year are going to be ahead of the competition.

There is a rise in social media use over the holidays. Candidates simply have more time to peruse new listings, scroll LinkedIn (and Instagram… and TikTok…) and are, therefore, more likely to see new listings as they pop up or more likely to respond to that shot-in-the-dark recruiter InMail.

Leveraging major job-seeking platforms during the oft slower time of year can be extremely advantageous to companies looking to hit the new year running. ________________________________________________ Whether the rumors are true or not is moot. There are many reasons why every company should continue working on hiring even as they’re working on getting the last piece of tofurkey or grandma’s honey ham. Candidate interest doesn’t slow down in December, nor should organizations looking to bring top talent in for the new year.

Whether you’re a candidate considering sleigh-ing the job search or a company leader looking to grow their departments three sizes, you don’t want to enter the new year feeling like a grinch because you missed out on an chance to uplevel your career or your team. Just know that if you choose to stall your hunt for the next opportunity, YULE be sorry.

Written by Brenn Scott

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