The end of the year is one of the best times to look for work – if you know how to approach the process.
The holidays are approaching, but that doesn’t mean you should take a break from your job search. Summer is a great time to find a new role and there are plenty of opportunities available if you’re willing to look. We spoke to human resources manager Johanna Wright to get tips on why you should maintain your job search over the holidays.
While applications on Scout surge in January, most people aren’t thinking about career moves at Christmas time. If you can apply during the quieter period in late December, you’re more likely to stand out to potential employers. There are still plenty of roles up for grabs across most industries this time of year, because many employers prefer to consolidate their hiring plans now and hit the ground running in the new year. It doesn’t hurt to have your CV in order for January, either.
“Around this time of year, there’s a smaller candidate pool because people are hesitant to start a new job right before a holiday period,” says Wright. “If you’re the best candidate in a small pool, you’ve also got more negotiating power in terms of salary package.”
With the holiday season approaching, many businesses are hosting end-of-year parties, lunches and other events. If you’re looking to find out more about a role, get in touch with a hiring manager and offer to catch up for a coffee – they might invite you along to a work event where you’ll get an opportunity to network and get your foot in the door.
“Most offices are quite social towards the end of the year, so they’re more likely to get candidates in to meet the team,” says Wright. “Because workplaces are more social in summer, I find that we’re at more networking events which you might invite a candidate along to.”
A lot of companies are pretty relaxed during the second half of December and won’t be in a mad rush to hire – which gives you more time to prepare your CV, tailor cover letters to specific roles, and even make calls to hiring managers. They’ll likely have more time to chat since the office will be a little quieter than normal.
“Some offices will have more time to do phone screening and interviews this time of year,” says Wright. “Once a candidate has been hired, it’s a better time to on-board them as well. They’ll have more time to meet the team, plus most of the year’s work is already done so it’s a good time to train new staff.”
Because a lot of offices are closed over the holidays, there’s a good chance companies will be negotiable with start dates for new hires. While you might want to delay your job search until the new year so you can have some time off, if you’re applying and hired in December you’ll likely get a bit of a holiday anyway before you start. Businesses are usually pretty busy the first week back, so you may be offered a later start date to make onboarding and training easier. Applying in December doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t have a chance to relax.
“Companies will normally understand if you can’t start until January if you have leave booked, and in my current role I’m really flexible with start dates this time of year,” says Wright. “Some jobs I’ve worked at have needed people to start before Christmas though, so remember that it’s different for every business.”
Even if you don’t land a job in December, you’ve got your CV sorted, and you’ve had the time to write a few cover letters and put your credentials in front of some companies you’d like to work at. Many businesses keep promising applications on file for future roles, and you’ve done the work to get your foot in the door early.
Most companies keep a record of good candidates so they can keep in touch about opportunities in the new year,” says Wright. “Businesses will often allocate a recruitment budget on a per-quarter basis, so coming into January there’s more opportunity to onboard and spend on recruitment in the new year. If you don’t land a job in December, January is still a great time to try.”
Johanna Wright is the human resources manager at Maxam and has worked in recruitment for six years.
Photography: Simon Shiff