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Is January really the best month for hiring staff?

Published: Thursday 12th December 2019

It is common to hear the expression, “January is the best time of the year to start hiring new staff.” But is this the actual truth or simply just another myth?

Past surveys have reported a spike in job search activity during January. However, this might well be due to a combination of things caused by the year coming to an end. Regardless of the reasons, this can actually be an excellent opportunity for companies considering expanding their workforce, wanting to be proactive for the new year or simply looking to keep their employees from leaving.

Recruitment concept. Businessman using futuristic tablet computer, pressing button on the touch screen and selecting Recruitment.

The reasons behind the January job search spike

One of the most obvious reasons for this increased activity during January is that the recruitment cycle restarts. During December, a lot of companies are winding down to prepare for the Christmas holidays. Employers, bearing in mind multiple annual leave requests and business shutdowns, tend to hold off on hiring within that month. Instead, this time is commonly used to re-forecast and reassess hiring needs, develop budgets, and pre-plan for the new year. Moreover, January is one of the best months to schedule interviews due to hiring managers taking less time off.

By the fourth quarter, any employees contemplating a job change are most likely to remain at their current job in order to receive their annual bonus at the end of the year. With many companies paying out extra incentives around the holiday time, employees are highly unlikely to start their job search beforehand.

Human Resources Interview Recruitment Job Concept

Are companies missing a trick?

January is definitely a good time for companies to hire. It provides recruiters with a good chance to audit their own hiring function, to answer questions on whether they really have the right people, processes, technology, and principles for the upcoming year. Consequently, hiring follows a strong seasonal pattern that is tightly coupled with overall business activity. But are employers missing a trick?

Companies need to fill their vacancies by specific dates in order to execute their strategic plans in alignment with the production cycles and trends of each industries. Therefore, the candidate selection process must begin several weeks or even months in advance in order to ensure fully staffed teams. Remaining proactive is the key to stay ahead of competitors when it comes to recruitment. Moreover, competition is usually less fervent during that period whilst budgets and hiring plans are firming up.

Positive HR representatives listening attentively to applicant ideas and thoughts, discussing experience during job interview for open position. Concept of employment, hiring, recruitment

Could December be the new January?

However, even the few weeks in December leading up to the new year can be a great time to initiate any recruitment processes. Although people are likely to be busy socialising or off on their annual leave, this gives them more free time on their hands to do company research and submit applications. As a result, there is a great gap between Christmas and New Year that employers could be taking advantage of, by posting their job vacancies and be ready to capture the attention of prospective job seekers.

Conceptual 3D render image with depth of field blur effect. Compass needle pointing the word talent, concept for recruiting or head hunter., hiring staff

In addition, with so much competition for talent in January, this undoubtedly increases the risk of missing out on top candidates as they can be far more selective. At the very least, employers are likely to walk back into the office in January to a decent number of applications that can give their business a head start and the edge over competitors.

So, if you are on the search for quality candidates, why not kick-start your recruitment process right away? Give yourself a head start by visiting Zoek and find top talent today.

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