Why You Shouldn’t Write Off Job Hunting Over the Holidays

Is job searching over the holidays worth it? It could be an opportune time to look for a new job.
Dawn Kawamoto
Staff Reporter
November 17, 2021
Dawn Kawamoto
Staff Reporter
November 17, 2021

Think job hunting over the holidays is a bust? Let’s talk turkey.

“It is actually a great time to start looking for new opportunities going into November and December,” Amy Kovacs, a senior client lead recruiter at Seattle-based Amazon, told Built In. “This is when employers are starting to look at their headcount going into the New Year.”

The statistics bear this out — December is good for job hunting.

Information industry job openings peaked in June and December as a percent of the total employment for that industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ JOLTS data compiled by Robert Half over a 10-year period. The information industry includes software publishing, data processing and telecommunications.

“There are opportunities to interview even during the holidays. You may think every company shuts down but that’s not the case. You just need to engage with your recruiter and let them know your preference is to interview during your time off,” Kovacs said. “It’s definitely doable. I’ve set people up for interviews the week leading up to Christmas and after Christmas.”

That said, Kovacs and other recruiters note it is more challenging to schedule interviews during the holidays because hiring managers, team members and executives are often off on vacation. As a result, the first two weeks of December yield greater success in speeding through the interview process than the later two weeks. 

“New start dates do tend to slow down in November and December compared to other months. That being said, this pattern is typically a result of a candidate or company-driven decision to start talent following the winter holiday season in January,” Nikki Glasgo, vice president of staffing at Autodesk, a San Rafael, California, design software maker.

But despite those challenges, there are several factors that fall in your favor when job hunting during December, according to recruiting experts.

Top Reasons to Job Hunt in December

  • Hiring managers and recruiters are interested in fulfilling as many open job orders as possible before the end of the year.
  • Posted job openings increase in December
  • Less competition from other job seekers who are on vacation
  • Hiring managers and recruiters have more free time to go through resumes
  • More free time to research and apply to companies and improve your resume

 

Companies Want to Fill Open Roles Before the Year’s End

Towards the end of the fiscal year, most companies are trying to wrap up their headcount plans for the year while also kick-starting their hiring for the next year, said Scott Lee, head of technical recruiting for San Francisco-based work-management tools maker Asana.

“People often think they should take a break from job hunting during the holidays. But many companies are actively recruiting tech talent to help with seasonal projects and heavy workloads,”

“Generally, companies will have more open roles around the holidays, and recruiting teams are hyper-focused on sourcing new talent,” Lee said. “What’s more, joining a new company in the December time period means you’re more likely to actively participate in planning and scoping for the new year.”

This year-end pressure to hire full-time tech workers also spills over to landing contractors too.

“People often think they should take a break from job hunting during the holidays. But many companies are actively recruiting tech talent to help with seasonal projects and heavy workloads,” said Ryan Sutton, district president at recruiting firm Robert Half, based in Menlo Park, California.

He added Robert Half research shows 82 percent of companies in the technology industry are hiring contract professionals to support year-end initiatives.

More on Job HuntingHow the Hiring Process Actually Works

 

Fewer Tech Workers Are Job Hunting

Your timing may mean everything with your holiday job hunt. 

Companies post more job openings in December than any other time during the fourth quarter, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And there’s likely fewer tech workers applying for new positions during the holidays.

That creates an even greater demand for tech workers, giving you an edge. 

“Staying active on a job search during the holidays is a smart move. It’s a great way to keep momentum going while others with similar skills and training may be taking a break,” said Kim Hoffman, director of talent acquisition, products and technology, for Mountain View, California-based financial software company Intuit.

Keep in mind that if you see a job opening posted during the holidays that interests you, there could be less competition for you, said Elissa Jessup, HR knowledge advisor for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

 

There’s More Time to Plan Career Moves

During the holidays, you may have additional time off of work to reflect on personal goals for the upcoming year, think about their career development, update your resume and research companies or roles that may be of interest to you, Glasgo said.

“Second, interview volume tends to slow down as the winter holiday season approaches meaning some recruiters may be easier to reach,” she added. “It’s common to see a surge of open positions right before and after the winter holidays as annual company budgets, goals and objectives reset, so it tends to be a very active time of year for interviewing.”

It’s also a great time for you to do informational interviews during the holidays, when people have more time on their calendars. 

Kovacs, for example, likes to encourage her available hiring managers to conduct informational interviews with prospective candidates who are sitting on the fence of whether to take a job at Amazon and get them interested in joining the team.

More on Job InterviewingDon’t Bomb Your Interview on ‘Tell Me About Yourself’

 

Holiday Party Networking Potential

“Over the holidays, there is a unique opportunity to network during holiday parties,” said Jessup. “Other holiday social events can also help professionals job search — when meeting new acquaintances — they can let them know they are job seeking.”

Holiday parties provide an excellent opportunity to put your elevator pitch in play, she noted.

More on NetworkingProfessional Networking: How to Build and Use a Network

 

Best Strategies for Holiday Job Hunting

If you have no interviews scheduled during the holidays, make use of the down time to prepare a 2022 job hunt search.

“Job seekers during the holidays can focus their energy on researching companies, updating their resume, refreshing their interviewing skills and networking during holiday parties,” Jessup said. “By being prepared, job seekers may have a head start over other job candidates that just start looking for new jobs at the beginning of the year.”

A number of companies prioritize company referrals for open positions and, as a result, your holiday job hunting efforts will go a lot further if someone at the company you’re interested in introduces you, Lee said.

“Job seekers during the holidays can focus their energy on researching companies, updating their resume, refreshing their interviewing skills and networking during holiday parties,”

If you don’t have any personal connections at the desired company, reach out directly to the hiring manager or in-house recruiter, he added.

“Think about messages you get from recruiters and reverse engineer your note from there,” said Lee. “As a hiring manager myself, I will always take an extra moment to respond to a well crafted, personal message from someone who seems to have a genuine interest in joining my team.”

That recently worked for one candidate who reached out to Intuit’s hiring managers and recruiters via their social media accounts. He directly reached out, noting he had also applied through the company’s career site. 

“From start-to-finish, we moved through the process to the final interview in just 10 days,” Hoffman said.

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