How to Prepare for Hiring Office Staff at Year-End

By Robert Half on October 13, 2016 at 3:00pm

When it comes to end-of-year hiring, companies appear to have divergent needs. An OfficeTeam study on hiring office staff spelled out what’s different.

While more than half of HR managers said their company generally decreases hiring during the last quarter, more than one-quarter surveyed said their organization typically increases hiring in the fourth quarter.

Why is this?

When it comes to those employers who increase admin hiring at the end of the year, the survey revealed three common causes:

  • Addressing an uptick in business — which could reflect seasonal hiring needs — is behind the end-of-year hiring increase of just under two-thirds (62 percent) of HR managers.
  • Staffing vacated positions — This drives more than two-thirds (69 percent) of companies to boost their admin hiring in the fourth quarter.
  • Adding new positions — Around half (51 percent) said this is why they ramp up hiring office staff later in the year.

If some of the results of the OfficeTeam study surprise you, it may be because you often hear that the fourth-quarter hiring season is a slow one, given the holidays approaching and the fresh calendar year still a few months away. Not necessarily. Some employers have surplus budget that needs to be spent on hiring before year’s end, or may — like many of those surveyed — find that they simply have a position to staff, whether a new or vacated one.

Prepping for year-end hiring

Hiring office staff at the end of the year requires some specific preparation. Consider these strategies for effective admin hiring, seasonal hiring and recruiting in the fourth quarter.

Whether your company is one that tends to increase admin hiring or decrease it as the year draws to a close, hiring office staff at the end of the year requires some specific preparation.

  • Start early. If your office is among those that expect to be hiring office staff, it’s smart to start planning for these additional resources well in advance of the year’s final quarter. That’s because hiring managers who snooze on making fast hiring decisions may quickly lose candidates to competitors, according to a Robert Half survey. About a quarter of workers surveyed said if they don’t hear back from a company within a week of being interviewed, they lose interest in the job. Keep this in mind when planning the timing of your admin interviewing and seasonal hiring process.
  • Create or update the job description. When recruiting, be sure to make it clear in your job posting exactly what kind of talent you are looking for to avoid wasting time sorting through poor fits when your hiring office staff is in a rush. Top applicants will customize the resume they send to you, reflecting their skills and experience in direct relation to the job description and requirements that you posted. Otherwise you may receive resumes with lots of red flags and potential hires who don’t match your criteria.
  • Don’t forget temporary staffing. While the survey focused on full-time hiring, many companies — especially retail businesses — address greater workloads during the holidays by bringing in temporary administrative professionals. If this describes your firm, remember that the most in-demand temporary professionals could be on assignment or already have work lined up by the time you come calling. Start recruiting early, even several months before you'll need interim assistance. A specialized staffing firm can help streamline the process of hiring office staff and ensure you're set up with the right talent.

The job of hiring office staff isn’t the same year-round. The more you understand about the specific nuances of fourth-quarter admin hiring, the better prepared you’ll be to meet your company’s seasonal hiring needs — whether your staff is growing or shrinking this time of year.

Ready to start hiring office staff? Download OfficeTeam’s Administrative Salary Guide to access administrative salary ranges for more than 60 positions in the U.S. and Canada.

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