Contrary to popular perceptions, the holiday season encompassing Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s – among other celebrations – can indeed be a great time for job seekers to look for work and for companies to post job openings.
Less talent competition
Since many companies slow down their hiring during the holidays, those that do post job openings face less competition in attracting top talent.
Job seekers who are actively looking during the holidays are often highly motivated and serious about their job search, suggesting a strong work ethic and dedication.
Preparation for the new year
Posting job openings during the holidays can ensure that new employees are in place by the start of the new year, aligning with business strategies and goals.
Some candidates may have more flexible schedules during the holidays, making it easier to schedule interviews and meetings.
The end of the year is a time when many people reflect on their careers and consider changes, potentially increasing the pool of qualified candidates seeking new opportunities.
For businesses that are slower during the holidays, this period can be an optimal time to focus on recruiting and onboarding new employees, preparing for a more hectic period.
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For job seekers
Many job seekers pause their search during the holidays, assuming it’s a bad time to apply. This means less competition for positions that are available, increasing your chances of standing out.
Some companies might have remaining budget funds they need to use before the year’s end. This can result in new positions being opened to utilize these funds.
January start dates
Companies looking to have employees start in January will be actively recruiting and interviewing during the holiday season.
The holiday season is ripe with social and professional events, offering unique networking opportunities. Personal connections made during this time can lead to job opportunities.
The festive atmosphere can sometimes make hiring managers more receptive and responsive, and there’s a general mood of goodwill which can work in a job seeker’s favor.
Many businesses hire temporary staff for the holiday season, and these positions can sometimes turn into permanent roles.
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Key voices in the human resources industry concur.
“Even if you only focus on the job search for an hour or two a week, that’s time well spent. If nothing else, you’ll start the new year well-organized with a top-notch personal brand and a resume that positions you for that next incredible opportunity,” writes Caroline Castrillon, Senior Contributor at Forbes.
Author and career coach Samorn Selim makes several “pro tips” on her insightful piece on the Harvard Business Review. She suggests that the simple gesture of sending holiday greetings to your network can set the stage for follow-up conversations in the new year, providing an opportunity to share your job search and career goals, and to seek support or advice. This is true for businesses, too. Reaching out to contacts during the holiday season with personalized messages or cards can significantly benefit businesses. It’s an effective strategy for strengthening existing relationships, laying the groundwork for future opportunities, and enhancing brand loyalty. Such communications also provide an opportunity for subtle lead generation and market research. Internally, sending holiday greetings to employees boosts morale and fosters a positive work culture. Overall, this approach sets businesses up for a productive start in the new year, leveraging the goodwill and networking potential of the festive season.
Managers often rush to meet year-end hiring targets due to “use it or lose it” budget policies, where unused hiring budgets can lead to reduced future headcounts. If a job posting remains active, it may indicate the company is struggling to find suitable candidates.
Hiring in January after a challenging couple of quarters can feel risky, but brave emerging industries more-often-than-not can use their resiliency to their strategic advantage. New hires bring fresh perspectives and skills that can address past shortcomings and contribute to a turnaround effort. Aligning with the start of a new fiscal year, this approach supports long-term planning and resource allocation. Additionally, it helps maintain employee morale and ensures the company remains competitive, as new talent can drive innovation and growth, essential for long-term success. This strategy demonstrates a commitment to growth and adaptation, even in the face of previous setbacks.
For job seekers looking for work during the busy holiday season, leveraging referrals can boost a job application. Asking contacts within the target company for a referral, or using a personal network to connect with someone internally enhances the likelihood of an application being noticed, which can lead to an interview. And it almost goes without saying that employers, retail stores, food and beverage business, and e-commerce providers are among the businesses who benefit from bringing on new talent during the holidays. Even if some of these positions are part-time or seasonal, they’re a great way for a job seeker to get a foot in the door, and for businesses to bring on new talent (and with it beneficial ideas large and small). And have the help on hand needed to rally over the holidays.
So put to bed that old chestnut that the holiday season is not ideal for or hiring or job hunting. As you’ve read here, there are several strategic advantages for both job seekers and employers during this time. The key is to remain active, engaged, and open to opportunities that might arise by your efforts. Wishing you bountiful holidays.
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