An Eye for Talent No Matter the Season

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6 December 2012


We are a just few days into December and the myth is being perpetuated once more.  Yes, I heard it today when a job seeker informed me: “Companies stop hiring this time of year.”

Well, yes… and no. It depends on the company and how critical their needs. For us, it’s crunch time! Just three business days into the month and we have already extended offers and received acceptances on two of our analytics positions.

In fact, more than 12 years of recruiting have taught me that December is a month of opportunity for both job seekers and employers. Yes, scheduling interviews becomes more challenging amid the flurry of year-end deadlines and holiday parties. But winning companies keep an eye out for talent no matter what the season. Employers with essential business needs or those who want to stay ahead of their competition keep interviewing between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Employers, too, sometimes assume it is impossible to hire after Thanksgiving. I have started hearing this as well:  “It is too difficult to interview and hire during the holidays.”

To those employers with real business needs to fill, do not be discouraged. Consider instead the following solutions:

  • Develop a game plan. Determine ways to streamline your hiring process.  If your process normally takes three steps, coordinate schedules to combine your process to two.
  • Know that the first three weeks after Thanksgiving are your most opportune times for interviews if you expect to make offers before Christmas.
  • If your position is business critical, work with a trusted recruiting partner who can deliver qualified candidates ready and willing to make a change. (Hint, hint)
  • Advance a candidate “up” or “down” through your process versus an approach of talking to six people over the course of a week, narrowing to two, and then offering to one. If the candidate you want is the first person you interviewed, he or she may have lost interest or found another opportunity along the way.
  • Or instead, dedicate a day to first-round interviews. Pre-determine a second day within 48-72 hours for final interviews with your top candidates. And be prepared to make an offer contingent on background checks within 24 hours.
  • Many professionals have already scheduled time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  If you are planning to be in the office, this is a great time to schedule interviews without the demands of regular, non-holiday workweek activities.

“It’s too difficult to start new hires in December” – or – “This position isn’t budgeted until January” I’ve heard both of these statements this week as well!  Some solutions to consider:

  • Timing is everything. If you encounter a great candidate, interview now and make an offer with a set start date in January.  In addition to meeting your constraints, this gives already employed job seekers a chance to continue with their holiday plans. Even unemployed candidates I’ve worked with have been surprisingly agreeable to January start dates.  They can relax and enjoy the holiday season more knowing their position is lined up.  And you have the benefit of starting 2013 with your new employee already in place. If you do set a January start date, make sure to communicate on a regular basis with your new hire.  Perhaps include a new hire in an office holiday party to make them feel included in your company.
  • Remember the virtues of late December start dates, especially for benefits eligibility. Some health plans start on the 1st of the month following hire, so starting a person in December would allow him  to enroll in health insurance January 1st.  If 401(k) eligibility is six months following date of hire with entry dates of January 1st and July 1st, a January 7th start date would require a person to wait a full year before she could contribute to the plan.

For job seekers, continue your openness and diligence to seeking out new opportunities. Now is the time to seize them.  Know that if companies are interviewing, they are serious about hiring.

Please contact OnBoard Recruitment if we can help bring analytics, big data or related talent to your organization. Two of our hottest searches with potential for December offers are:

Thank you for reading! Your comments are welcome below. Happy holidays!


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