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Yes You Should: Conducting a Job Search During the Holidays

It’s a widely held belief that everything grinds to a halt come the holiday season – even hiring. But this assumption couldn’t be further from reality. Hiring managers don’t stop looking for good candidates especially in the current job market. In fact, staying on top of your job search during the holidays may give you a distinct advantage. With many people believing that it’s not a good time to search, you’ve got less competition. So, whether you’re employed full-time but looking for a career move or you’re in between positions, the holiday season is a good time to search for that perfect job.

The Job Market is Hot

The job market is not slowing down. At Planet Forward, this year has been the busiest we’ve ever seen. Typically, November and December aren’t peak times for us, but this year that’s not the case. The same holds true for our sister staffing companies, Planet Pharma, Planet Healthcare, Planet Technology, and Planet Professional – across the board, the job market is hot and competition for talent is fierce.

Companies need people. They’re not going to take off two weeks in December and stop hiring. There’s a lot of employers looking for good employees right now, and they’ll hire people as they find them. If you are hired in late December, your start date may be delayed until the new year, but your offer won’t be.

A misconception is that companies don’t hire during the holidays or toward the end of the year because budgets are often approved January 1. But any time hiring managers and teams are getting the feelers out or posting jobs in October or November, that means that they have the budget to get somebody started in the fourth quarter. If it’s a fit and schedules line up, the good candidates will be interviewed, maybe even starting work in December. That’s why it’s important to continue your job search during the holidays.

Once the interview process begins – and the candidate makes it clear they can work as soon as possible – employers keep working through the budgets that they have allocated for that year.

Hiring Managers Have More Time

Even though people may take off time around the holidays, many companies’ customers are powered down during late December (with the exception of retail!). Managers may actually have more time to devote to hiring at the end of the year. With remote working and video conferencing, interviewing is also easier to fit in, even with time off.

As an example, many of our clients are manufacturing plants and many of them shut down for a couple weeks at the end of the year. But, while production may be temporarily halted, their corporate teams and back-office staff are often working normal hours. And without the demands of customers, it’s a good time to focus on hiring.

Be Flexible and Be Available

Pre-COVID, when most interviews took place in person, the whole process could take a long time. Fitting interviews into everyone’s schedules was challenging. But with video conferencing and many people working remotely, it’s much easier to pull all the parties together. Communication between key players and teams is more fluid. The process is much more expedited now.

If getting a job soon is your objective, consider limiting your travel during the holidays so you’re available for interviews. Let recruiters, HR or the hiring manager know that you are willing to fit their schedules. Make it clear that you’re ready to work but might need a few specific days off for the holidays. Companies will respect that and accommodate new employees.

Flexibility is even easier with the communication tools we have available today like video conferencing and smart phones. You – and the hiring manager – can be sitting in any location to make the interview happen. In that case, if you know you’ll be away from home, be sure to bring your laptop with current resumes, cover letters, work samples, etc. And, a lighting cable wouldn’t be a bad idea to have handy as well.

Putting Yourself Out There

If your work is slow, take this time to put yourself out on job boards. Devote a day to polishing off your LinkedIn profile, for instance, or refreshing your resume. Make it clear that you’re open to new opportunities. Create several sample cover letters so you’re ready to go when you see a good position.

There are also people who are working full time that just want some extra cash for the holidays. Many job boards have a feature where you can list that you’re only looking for part-time work, working evenings or weekends, for example.

Whatever you do, don’t stop your job search during the holidays. If the positions are listed, it’s because companies need to hire. Keep applying. Make yourself available for interviews. Put your resume and qualifications out there and keep going. Good luck, and from all of us at Planet Forward, happy holidays!

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

by Joey Sekula, National Recruiter. Planet Forward