Is December a good time to look for a job?

Is December a good time to look for a job?

Well, it’s officially December and the new year is around the corner.  People often ask me if December is a good time to look for a job.  The answer is yes… and also, no.  Here’s the breakdown:

Reasons why December is a good month to look for a job:

  • Seasonal hiring – If you are looking for a temporary or “seasonal” job, it’s a great time to look. The retail industry in particular ramps up in a big way during the months of October – January.  This is also a great way to earn some extra $ for holiday shopping or to keep busy if your job search has taken a little long than expected.
  • Smaller candidate pool/less competition - Many people who have jobs won’t be looking to leave them in the last few months of the year.  Those who are eligible for a year end bonus will likely stick around at their current job to get their payout before making a move.  Otherwise, they end up leaving significant earnings on the table.  This means that the candidate pool is much smaller than it will be in the new year, which means less competition.  Recruiters have a tougher time filling roles that are open which means they are more likely to answer a cold email or chat with someone with a less traditional background.
  • More time to work on quality applications – Depending on what kind of commitments you have over the holiday season, there are usually many more days off than at other times during the year.  In some circumstances, that may mean you have more time to spend on those job applications and make them great.  In other circumstances, it could just mean hard core family bonding time.

Reasons why December is bad a month to look for a job:

  • Less jobs - There are less jobs open in the last few months of the year.  If a hiring manager was able to hire X number of people in 2012, of course they can’t hire them all at the same time (so recruiting timelines are scattered).  However, no one wants to wait until the very last minute.  That means there are just going to be less openings so if you are looking for something really specific, you may have to wait it out.  However, when those jobs do open up (say someone quits), they urgency to fill the role is still quite high.
  • Slow time/vacation time for recruiters - Recruiters are people too, and they also take vacation days.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are ideal times to take these days since recruiting is generally slower.  That means it might take a little more time to get updates, hear back, and move through the process.
  • Upcoming vacations affect start dates/giving notice - If you do get a job offer in the month of December, you may have pre-planned vacation to navigate around. Even when you get your offer, it could take longer to give notice and start.  Your pre-planned vacation is one hurdle but also keep in mind the days your manager will be out.  That will affect how quickly you can give notice and transition.  It’s always okay to explain any of these types of time restrictions at the time of an offer and most recruiters/hiring managers will be understanding.

So there you have it – looking for a job in December can work to your advantage and also slow you down depending on your own circumstances.  I personally recommend continuing to put effort into your search and see what opportunities come up.  You never know what will come your way!