Holiday Season Job Search

job-search-blocksActively searching for employment during the holiday season may seem like a daunting task, but doing so may increase your chances of being found by an employer.  Many job seekers stop actively looking for work around the holidays, so you’ll have less competition for the openings you find.

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season makes timing for interviews and new hiring’s “tricky” to say the least.  In order to best prepare yourself let’s ask a couple of questions.  “Why do employers hire during the holiday season?” and “Why should I ramp up my job search during the holiday season?”

A couple of responses to the first question could be, some positions need to be filled before the new year or hiring managers want someone to start soon after January 1.  To the question of why you should ramp up your job search during the holiday season is simple; less competition.

Hiring managers report that job applications slow to a trickle around the holiday season and they have trouble finding suitable candidates for jobs that must be filled quickly.

Here are a few tips on how to stay engaged and maintain an active search during the holiday season:

  • Be flexible.
    • Companies that are trying to make a hire before the new year are often trying to move quickly but may have limited interviewing slots available because of the vacation schedules of those involved in the hiring process. You may have an advantage if you’re willing to adjust your schedule to make yourself available when they can talk. That might mean being flexible about your holiday plans or being willing to come back from a trip on short notice if asked.

*That said, don’t avoid making holidays plans just in case an interviewer calls.

  • Be patient.
    • Hiring processes often move slowly at this time of year, especially if key decision-makers are out on vacation. That means that employers might take longer to get back to you or need to wait for someone to return from vacation before a hiring decision can be finalized. You should still follow up politely after an interview to reiterate your interest, but don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than usual to hear back from employers; there’s generally no way to avoid that.
  • Volunteer.
    • Look for holiday season volunteer opportunities with local organizations. You can target potential employers, or events where you may interact with potential employers. In addition to providing networking opportunities, volunteering helps take the focus off of ourselves, providing a much needed diversion.
  • Be prepared.
    • Make the most of holiday gatherings, since you may be asked about your job search. It may be worth attending as many events as you can and making a point of mentioning your job search to people you talk with, because you never know who might have a useful lead for you.
    • It is also important to be prepared to receive some rejection that might come along with that mistletoe. Don’t let it interfere with your holiday spirit and plans. Rejections are a normal part of a job search and it’s close to impossible to be searching in this market without accumulating a few. No one wants a rejection in during the holidays, but don’t be thrown off by it if it happens to you.

It may also be important to note that even If you get hired, you might not start until after the new year.  Many job offers made in December have start dates for after January 1.   With lots of staff members away on vacation, it can be hard to have someone new start when no one is around to train and support them. So if you get an offer this month, you might be able to enjoy a break over the holidays – with no more job searching to worry about and no work to do until January.

This break may provide an additional bonus and allow time for a new hobby.

Be encouraged.  Cheers!

James Caldwell-Acha-Ngwodo, MHRM, CPC, PHR, SHRM-CP, CPBA

Certified Professional Coach

Talent Management and Workforce Development Consultant