The weeks between Thanksgiving and year-end has been historically known as a slow period for hiring. So, should job seekers take a holiday vacation from their job search? Our experts say absolutely not.
According to Anne Howard, recruiter at Chicago-based executive recruiting firm Lynn Hazan & Associates, candidates who continue to look for a job during the holidays have a competitive advantage over those who use the holiday season to take a break from their job search. "Competition is often lighter because many people think that companies do not hire in the fourth quarter." Howard says. She noted that her firm made several placements during the short Thanksgiving week last year, debunking the myth that all hiring slows to a halt during the holiday season.
Laurie Battaglia, career coach and co-owner of Scottsdale-based Living the Dream Coaches, agrees. "If you're a job seeker, the pool can be less packed than it is other times of the year," Battaglia says. "Jobs still need to be filled, and sometimes there is pressure to hit a budgeted number of hires in the 'old year' before the 'new year' starts. This means that hiring managers need to keep the pressure on to fill positions in a timely manner, even through the holiday season into year-end"
Many of our sources also referred to the holidays as a great time to find work due to the number of networking opportunities that exist this time of year. "My best recommendation to my clients is NOT to back off from the hunt, but rather use this time of the year to maximize the number of informal interactions they can make," recommends Cheryl Rich Heisler, president / founder of career consulting firm Lawternatives. T.C. Whitaker, president and CEO of national recruiting firm 3P Staffing also recommends that job seekers take advantage of holiday events to extend their network. "During the holidays, networking events are plentiful and people are generally in lighter spirits," Whittaker says. "Use this time to further develop, nurture, and leverage contacts that could potentially assist in your search."
Whittaker warns that these festive events are not the time to hand out resumes, but he encourages job seekers to carry business cards and to follow up with contacts via email or LinkedIn. While there are many upsides to continuing your job search through the holidays, Battaglia warns that there are a few downsides. "Many people are using up vacation at the end of the year, so the interviewing schedule can be spotty, and it stops and starts due to people being out of the office. Winter can also be a season where people get sick more easily, and this can delay the selection process as well," Batalgia advises. She says as long as job seekers are patient with the delays and the process during the holidays, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day can be some of the best in which to find a new job.