Monday, December 8, 2014

Job Hunting at Holiday Time

Does hiring slow down or stop during the holiday season and if so, is it a waste of time to do anything during that period? Different nations and cultures have their own holiday periods when business decisions seem to take a back seat. But for the sake of this blog entry I am referring to Western holiday period, relatively speaking between Christmas and the New Year. And just to be clear I am not talking about part-time holiday hiring in the retail sector.  
I know from many years of experience that as it relates to concentrating at work, most people’s brains begin to shut down to business matters from about the 10th of December and don’t switch back on again fully until or in the days following the first Monday following New Year’s Day.
As such, most folks assume there is no reason to bother searching, applying for or even trying to interview during this period of time. Indeed, it slows down but part of it has to do with this perception and Groupthink. However, if you are looking for a job this does not mean you should sit on your hands just because so many others do. I’ve been directly involved in scheduling interviews, negotiating and signing final job offers as late as mid-day on Christmas Eve, as well as on New Year’s Eve – and so too in the days in-between Christmas and New Year’s. So yes, it happens.
While many if not most of us look for and find reasons not to work at Christmas time, there is a group and among them key decision makers who have plenty to keep them busy right up to and including New Year’s Eve. While most us are distracted with visions of sugar-plums dancing our heads, business decisions are still being made right up until the last business day of the year.  When do you think they interview for projected first of the year hires? Sure, business slows down but I have lots of anecdotal proof of people interviewing, receiving, accepting and signing job offers right up to the final hours of the year.
So if you are a job seeker what does this mean for you? Well it’s obvious isn’t it that while others are not paying attention you still have a chance to accomplish something. More often than you think, doing the opposite of what the rest of the sheep are doing can have its rewards.
True some first round interviews will be delayed until after the holidays. But my message is simple; with the exception of the holidays themselves – those dates, if you would otherwise be following up on potential opportunities and want to in order to gain any small advantage in comparison with others – go for it. The worse that can happen is that your resume or messages might wait until after the holidays but, yours will be there waiting ahead of others who are still half-asleep when they resume work or searching for work into the first week of the year.
I’m not suggesting you don’t take a holiday break; however, if you don’t want to sit around waiting between mid-December and mid-January while others have been on a mental vacation for a few weeks, your efforts are not a waste of time.

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