Job Search Tips: How to Find a Job at the End of the Year

The holiday season is fast approaching. Employees everywhere are looking forward to work slow-downs, vacations, family time, holiday bonuses and perhaps some much-needed peace and quiet. But while workers are winding down, hiring trends are heating up.

If you’re in the market for a new job, year-end hiring might just be your best friend. Richard Singer, Robert Half’s Director of Permanent Placement Services, who is based in New Jersey, has four important job-search tips to help job seekers capitalize on year-end hiring trends:

1. Get in before the budget closes.

“Companies want to start the new year clean, which means they are motivated to get items like new staff hires finished before the end of the calendar year,” Singer says.

Also, because the final quarter of the year is often the most profitable, there may be more leeway in that budget for year-end hiring. Hiring managers may be more amenable to bringing on new employees before the holidays so they are fully staffed before the new year starts.

2. Get a head start on the competition.

If you’re thinking that the holidays are a time to kick back and relax instead of ramping up your job search, chances are your competition might be thinking along the same lines. So pull a “tortoise-and-the-hare” trick on them and keep moving, while they stop to nap.

“Lots of people wait for holiday bonuses to arrive before looking for a new job, so if you move fast and search during November and December, you may have less competition than if you wait until January,” says Singer. If you’re waiting for a bonus, you have to consider the opportunity cost, but a new position born of year-end hiring might well make up for any lost bonus.

3. Prepare for tax season.

The holidays may be the calmest quarter of the year (unless you’re in retail), but for accounting firms they are the calm before the storm. “Tax season begins January 15, so CPA firms often can’t wait until after January 1 to hire,” Singer says. “They need to be fully staffed before tax season starts, so year-end hiring becomes hugely important for them.”

That means hiring activity peaks around the holidays and then falls off sharply after the first of the year. If you don’t get in before the year-end hiring window closes, it likely won’t open again until late April at the earliest.

4. Interview like you mean it.

As much as companies want to staff up before 2015 starts, they don’t have time to waste. Nor do they want to bring promising candidates back for two or three interviews when they could easily lose them to a competitor who’s also doing year-end hiring.

So if you want to work for a company, be direct about it. “Don’t go in like you just want to kick the tires,” says Singer. “Make the first interview count. Go in strong, motivated, and informed about the company, and let them know you want the job and can start in two weeks.”

Do you have tips on how to find a job at the end of the year? Share them in the comments section.