Waiting Until January to Start Hiring? So Is Everyone Else…

by Wes Lieser

Last week, I found myself in the office of a client who was looking for a Digital Marketing Manager. After discussing the job requirements, critical success factors of the role, culture of the organization, leadership style of the hiring manager, etc., I asked them about their hiring timeline.

They responded by saying, “Our req opens on January 4th, so we like to start seeing candidates as soon as possible after that.”

I was a little surprised by their response because, far too many times, recruiters are called into situations where we’re racing against the clock. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard the phrase, “Send me candidates as soon as you get them.” Or, “We’d like to have this position filled yesterday, if you know what I mean.”

Any other time of the year I would praise the client for their planning to avoid a last-minute search, but this situation is unique. It’s no secret that the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be a slow time for hiring. Strategic planning for the upcoming year and, of course, the holidays claim much of the time normally spent on the hiring process.

While it may seem better to wait until the new year to start the process, my recommendation in situations like this is to start seeing candidates immediately to capitalize on the fact that most companies aren’t in hiring mode.

With fewer companies focused on hiring, there is less competition for the market’s top talent. Even if you don’t officially hire the person until budget comes available in January, starting the interview process early puts you ahead of other companies looking for the same type of candidate.

While this scenario might not be possible for every organization, in a market that is currently driven by top candidates, I’d recommend taking action while everyone else is waiting for the new year.

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