When it comes to end-of-year hiring, companies appear to have differing needs. A recent Robert Half study on hiring office staff explored the differences.

While more than half of HR managers said their company generally decreases hiring during the last quarter, more than one-quarter surveyed said their organisation 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 Robert Half 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.

Learn why a recruitment agency could be your best friend when hiring office staff.

Preparing 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 delay making hiring decisions may quickly lose candidates to competitors. 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.
  • Create or update the job description. When recruiting, be sure to make it clear in your job description exactly what kind of person you are looking for to improve the quality of applications. Top applicants will customise the CV 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 CVs 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 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 specialised 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 changes through the year. The more you understand about the specific nuances of fourth-quarter hiring, the better prepared you’ll be to meet your company’s seasonal hiring needs — whether your staff is growing or shrinking.

Ready to start hiring office staff? Download Robert Half’s Salary Guide to access salary ranges for more than 270 positions.

Note: This blog has been adapted from Robert Half

About the Research
The survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 300 HR managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.