Current Events

Title:December Job Search

Date:December 2012

Source:Reprinted with permission —

Seems this is the season where I hear a consistent theme from folks I run into. During the holidays, I hear of plans to take a break from two activities that require absolute discipline: diets and the job search.

The Diet:

"I am going to be eating so much during the holidays; I might as well take a break from my diet and then start it back up after the next year."I understand the mentality here, but add on one more sentence and you don't sound like you have given up on a hopeless cause: "I am going to kick my exercise level up a notch in January". Just because the circumstances aren't perfect doesn't mean we need to give up.

Which brings me to item number two: The December Job Search

"No companies are hiring during the holidays so I am going to stop looking for a job and start the search back up again in the New Year." Bull. But when I hear this, I immediately think that this person doesn't really need a job, is lazy, or just doesn't know any better. I am not able to do much about the first two, but let me clear the air on the last piece of misinformation. If you want a job, you are not going to let a few folks going on vacation stop you. You are not going to let anything stop you.

Hiring doesn't stop in December and if you think it does, this is an excuse.

Putting a job search on hold in the month of December is a mistake. There are plenty of jobs to be had during the month of December, and the hiring process doesn't stop. If anything, there is just less competition because of all of the non-believers. A few reasons why you should continue with a December job search:

  1. I will be recruiting all through December. There were positions that were NOT filled during November that need to be filled in December. There are positions coming up in January that I would love to make some headway on. Things may "slow down" but that isn't because the company doesn't have any open positions. It is because I still need to coordinate schedules with a hiring loop of 6 fellow employees and some of these folks will be taking vacations over the next 45 days. It doesn't mean we have stopped hiring, it doesn't mean business stops and it doesn't mean we are not interviewing. We may slow down just a bit, but what was a 4-6 week process in normal times is only becoming a 5-7 week process. Business continues, we are interviewing, we are hiring.
  2. Even if I do NOT have any openings I know that I will have positions to fill in January and may even have an idea of what is coming up in February. If I work for a larger company, I may have an idea of what positions are coming up 3-4 months out just based on department budgets. The candidate may not have a start date till February, but if I can start conversations with a candidate in December for a February close, I won't pass up the opportunity. (I don't like to extend offers for jobs that are starting 2 months out because too much can happen in those 60 days with the candidate, hiring manager or company). The bottom line here is that I always want to get candidates engaged and excited about ACME Publishing.
  3. A job as a seasonal or temporary worker is a great foot in the door. Employment-services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas forecasts retail payrolls to increase by 700,000 jobs during the final three months of 2012, up from the 660,200 seasonal jobs added during last year's fourth quarter.

Some poo-poo seasonal or temporary work and others may feel it comes with a stigma. If anything has a stigma, that is insecurity talking. Let me be the first to say that there are a lot of folks who prefer "contractor" work and love the freedom of being able to experience different companies, meet new people and not be committed to a company long term. Personally, I look at it as a foot in the door and know of a lot of companies that convert contractors to full-time employees. The mistake I see many temporary workers make is that they fail to take the initiative. If you are working part-time or as a temporary employee through an agency, let the HR department or the hiring manager know that you are interested in long-term employment. They may not have an immediate opening, but they may have one coming up or know of another opening in a different department within the company. Just don't let your intentions be known on your first day or your first week. That just looks desperate and dysfunctional. Establish yourself first as a solid employee and make sure you like the place. Explain why you like the company and what you like about the job. Just explaining to your manager "If an opening were to come up, I would be interested" isn't going to cut it. It would fall short in an interview, and it will die on the vine here as well. Think about it. If you know you have an opening come up and you see a great temporary worker in front of you, wouldn't you want to just hire them instead of going through the process of interviewing, hiring and training someone new?

So, if you are thinking about putting your job search on hold, think again. The same amount of openings exists and there is less pressure because a lot of candidates take the easy way out and believe the hype when it comes to the December job search.

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