November 19, 2020

Hiring Through the Holidays

One of the most common misconceptions that I hear from jobseekers is that the Q4 holiday season between Halloween and New Years isn’t a good time to look for new opportunities. Believe it or not, the end of the year is consistently the busiest hiring season for myself and my team at JK Executive Strategies – with 70% of our current active searches coming in at the start of Q4.

Companies will hire when they need people, despite what time of year it is, so jobseekers shouldn’t pause their search when the holidays come around. However, hiring around the holiday season can look a bit different than other times of year, and it’s important that both candidates and corporate leaders are willing and able to adjust accordingly in order to foster a successful match.

Here are some ways that candidates and leaders can ensure that the holiday hiring process goes smoothly:


  1. Candidates: When looking for new opportunities, do some research into what industries thrive during Q4 and may be looking for new talent. For example, for manufacturing and financial services, the year-end is the busiest time of year, presenting the greatest need for an increase in staff. Be flexible with your search criteria and you’re sure to find enticing openings.
  2. Leaders: Especially for smaller businesses, the biggest hurdle to plan for in reviewing applications during the holidays is making sure that someone on staff is there to move the hiring process forward. The holiday season is understandably the most popular time of the year for PTO, so working with a staffing agency partner to identify top candidates will help to ensure the process moves along efficiently.


  1. Candidates: Prepare for a shorter interview process. With COVID-19 and the holidays meaning more staff are out of office, scheduling windows become tighter and hiring moves faster. Depending on the level of the job and your availability, if you submit your application on December 1 – you could very well be starting before Christmas.
  2. Leaders: Consistency is key. Be aware of employee time off so you can ensure that the same staff member is able to guide an interviewee through the process from start to finish. When too many staff members get involved in the interview process, feedback can be skewed, disorganized and inconsistent, making it harder to make final hiring decisions.


  1. Candidates: Expect a non-traditional onboarding process. Especially with COVID-19 persisting through the holiday season, and staff members taking time off or working remote while visiting family, it is more likely than ever that holiday hires will be onboarded remotely. Take time to carefully read through all of the documents sent to you ahead of time, and come to meetings with your HR team or new manager with prepared questions to ensure that you have a clear understanding of your role and responsibilities.
  2. Leaders: Stay organized. The most important factor for onboarding during the holidays is making sure that someone will always be available to the new hire to answer questions and walk them through important documents. Have an onboarding schedule prepared before staff starts taking time off to make sure the new employee feels valued. Also, don’t forget that the new employee has family they will likely want to spend time with over the holidays as well, so be open to allowing them time off early on.

While hiring through the holidays can be intimidating for both jobseekers and corporate leaders, it’s important to not let stigmas around the season get in the way of finding the ideal culture and skillset match. Partnering with a staffing firm can help to remove holiday roadblocks and ensure that companies are matched with qualified, diverse candidates that are right for the job before the start of Q1.

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