Expert job search advice.

December Hiring is Different this Year

December hiring is different this year

December hiring typically sees a slowdown in new hire postings and job offers but this year trends are different. The fourth quarter is usually filled with thoughts of a year-end wrap-up, holidays and family time, and planning for the new year. HR Departments and recruiters are historically slow in Q4 – not this year. Unlike most years, this year, the business world is wrapping up the year with a hiring frenzy.

My NSENG networking group of 9,000 members is a good example of this. For the past 11 years, we’ve averaged 10 members landing new jobs each week throughout the year, but during that holidays that number jumps to 15 or more because of the “use it or lose it” behaviors. Given this fact, now is the time to ramp up your search efforts. What you do today could pay big dividends before the year is over. Stay positive. Take chances. And don’t let the opportunity pass you by because of a lack of effort.

Marty Gilbert, Founder, CEO & Job Search Coach, NSENG

Why is December a traditionally slow month for hiring?

Some call it the “Holiday Hiring Freeze”. Hiring in December is traditionally slow as many companies freeze hiring during the last quarter to help save budgets, pushing new hiring to the following year. Conversely, there is also the mindset that budgets need to be spent before the end of the year – a “use it or lose it” scenario. Another factor that contributes to decreased hiring is that the pool of qualified applicants is smaller. This could be a benefit for the job seekers – your application will not face the same amount of competition, leaving you with better chances of getting an interview.

Why December hiring is different this year?

In what seems like greater numbers than ever before, employees are looking to make a move. After 18+ months of the pandemic holding life hostage, employees are ready for a change. Employers are seeing a shift in benefits that employees hold valuable – flexibility in the workplace, remote work, and a more sustainable work/life balance. This year is also different as it is bookending hiring freezes in 2020. The stronger economy and increased consumer spending has created a need and allowed for the resources to accelerate the hiring process

This year things are ramping up to 2022 early. Everyone wants people now to kick off the new year fully or more staffed up. Usually, it waits until January or February for new budgets, but a lot of customers budgets were released earlier because they weren’t hitting hiring goals.

Jeff Weidner, CEO, JWave Staffing

The Great Resignation or the Great Reshuffle

There is a lot of buzz around the great resignation – employees leaving positions after realigning their priorities during the pandemic. However, these employees aren’t leaving the workforce – they are out searching for a new position that better suits their terms. It could be called The Great Reshuffle and has forced those hiring into a frenzy at year-end. 

Over the 12 months ending in September 2021, hires totaled 73.3 million and separations totaled 67.7 million, yielding a net employment gain of 5.6 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.” according to data from the BLS

At the beginning of the pandemic, layoffs were plentiful and hiring was nearly non-existent. Job seekers were at a loss, but not anymore. Job seekers are at the helm of the job search journey now and have a lot of leverage to request higher wages, better working conditions, and land a job having less relevant experience. 

Now companies are trying to coax people off the sidelines by increasing wages, allowing for more remote work, looking at skills and not just experience. That’s a marked contrast to the rehiring after the recession of 2008 when employers could be quite picky and would layer on skill requirements.

Ben Popken, senior business reporter, NBC News

Challenges that job seekers are facing and how to overcome

Hiring managers and recruiters and jobseekers alike face scheduling challenges in December. With holidays and time off, people are not as available for interviews or responses. Virtual interviewing is helpful to solve this issue, but it’s not always the golden answer. Another challenge recruiters and hiring managers face, is that their top candidates may also be hesitant to make a move until they receive bonus payouts from their current positions. A lot of companies want to start the year fully staffed. They put pressure on recruiters and hiring managers to work through these challenges and use their budgets by year-end or they risk losing it. Job seekers need to remain flexible in the interview process, try to be creative with time, and accommodate the schedule if possible. 

His advice to jobseekers is simple – allow yourself to take a break.

I’ve been telling a lot of the candidates I speak with to focus on breaks and non-job-searching activities just as much as seeking jobs. Especially those who thrive on structure, scheduling in breaks (reading a book, going for a walk, cooking, shutting your phone off, yoga, meditation, etc) can help balance the stress of searching for open roles, researching organizations, resume fine-tuning, interviewing, and networking. Job searching is stressful enough, but getting burnt out while doing it becomes counterproductive quickly.

David Hanley, Director of Placement, DRH Search LLC

How should job seekers navigate December hiring this year?

First and foremost, anyone looking for a job needs to create a job search strategy complete with a job search schedule. It is important to keep track of connections and progress, more so with anticipated gaps due to time off around the holidays. 

The holidays lend themselves to a great time to reconnect. Using LinkedIn or other social media outlets can help job seekers find old friends and colleagues who have connections to their target companies

Hiring may slow down during the holidays, but it won’t stop! 

Use November and December to expand your personal and professional network! Attend social gatherings and meet new people. Rekindle old relationships with past coworkers. Your ask is a simple one… let’s reconnect, it’s been a long time. 

4.3 million quit in September and 4.4 million quit in October. This means that companies will need to fill some jobs either now or in January. 

Forge warm connections and build allies, informants, and advocates to help your search.

Hannah Morgan, Job Search Strategist, Career Sherpa

Your mindset is a key component to your job search strategy this December

It is important for job seekers to give hiring managers and recruiters grace during this unprecedented time. They are navigating challenging schedules while trying to meet deadlines. Job seekers need to keep in mind that while the process may look slightly different than they might envision, recruiters are working hard to make meaningful job placements. Stay positive and focused on the long game – you never know who you may run into over the holidays that could help you land your next position.

Be upbeat and positive as you tell your recipients about your current situation. You want your friends and relatives to think about how they may help; you don’t want to drive them away with demands or sound needy or despondent. Hearing about your situation will prompt many of them to inquire how they can help you.

I think you may recall that I’m in transition from my position as director of marketing at my former software company. I enjoyed my tenure there but, alas, the company was sold to a European conglomerate. Please have a great (holiday) and, above all else, remain safe.

Bob McIntosh, Career Coach
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