Why recruiting in December can give you a competitive edge

By Robert Half on 14 December 2020

It’s December, work is winding down and the work Christmas parties are in full swing.

Conventional wisdom is that it’s also a quiet month for recruitment. But the reality is actually very different.

The job market in fact heats up significantly in December, with a surge in the number of jobseekers who want to make a fresh start in the New Year. This presents a big opportunity for employers who want to recruit top talent – and in the process, get a step ahead of their competition.

Here are the top five reasons why December is a great time to dial up your recruitment activities.

1. Less intense competition

Many companies are looking forward to taking a break, and as a result, recruitment will be well down their list of priorities. But as we’ve pointed out, there will still be a steady supply of people who are on the job hunting trail.

This means that if you make the effort to fill vacancies in December, you’re more likely to get the cream of the crop before your competitors do. The other major advantage is that you’ll be heading into the new year with the headcount you need to get the business off to a running start.

January and February can be a bit of a hiring frenzy, so you’ll also avoid the intense competition for talent that is usually seen in these months.

2. More free time

As the holidays approach and more of your colleagues and customers go on leave, there tends to be less business-critical work filling people’s time. This gives them more time to browse job ads, send out resumes and chat with recruiters.

Likewise, this quieter period gives you more time to post job ads on social media and screen resumes. It also means being able to spend more time speaking with candidates, in a less rushed atmosphere where you have an opportunity to get to know the candidate on a more personal level.

If staff members are exiting the organisation in December, it also means there’s more time available for handover activities, such as training, writing guides and answering questions. All this will help to ensure you are matching the right person with the right role, and that they are onboarded as effectively as possible.

3. Time for a change

December often sees jobs becoming available immediately due to employees receiving their end-of-year bonuses and resigning.

In general, turnover tends to increase during this period as people make New Year resolutions about their career, and become more motivated to look for that dream job they’ve been thinking about all year.

Savvy employers will anticipate that this kind of soul-searching will be going on in the minds of many candidates, and look for ways to market themselves to them before January rolls around.

4. Increased social media usage

As the year draws to a close, numerous office parties and social events will see people sharing photos, videos and status updates on their favourite social media websites.

And with workloads becoming lighter, many people will be spending more of their day posting on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

This creates a great opportunity to leverage these social platforms to promote your company and its current hiring requirements. Furthermore, the ability of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to deliver targeted content to users who are most likely to be receptive to it, will assist you in searching and sorting for the best candidates.

5. Leftover budget

For calendar-year companies, December marks the end of the fourth quarter. Many organisations have the policy that if a department’s budget isn’t fully used up by that time, it goes back into the company coffers, without being rolled around from January.

If this leftover money is spent on hiring a new employee, it ensures you’ll go into the new year with the headcount you need – and may have also spared your team from future budget cuts as well.

December sees many people not just thinking about the holidays, but also reflecting on the future trajectory of their career.

If you have time or budget to spare, it’s a great time to reach out to high-quality candidates who are thinking of pursuing new job opportunities.

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