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Why Is It Harder to Hire in December?


As the year draws to a close, businesses often find themselves navigating unique challenges in the recruitment landscape. December, typically associated with holiday festivities and year-end reflections, presents a set of circumstances that can make hiring more challenging. In this article, we delve into the factors contributing to the difficulty of hiring in December and explore strategies for both employers and job seekers to navigate this distinctive time.

1. Budget Constraints and Year-End Closures:

  • Many organizations operate on an annual budget cycle, and by December, budgets for new hires may have been depleted. Year-end closures and financial planning for the upcoming year can result in a temporary slowdown in recruitment activities.

2. Holiday Distractions and Time Off:

  • The holiday season brings a myriad of distractions, with employees often taking time off for vacations and personal celebrations. This can lead to a reduced workforce, affecting the speed and efficiency of the recruitment process.

3. Internal Focus on Evaluations:

  • December is a time when businesses conduct year-end evaluations and reviews. Human resources and hiring managers may be preoccupied with assessing current employees, potentially delaying external hiring decisions.

4. Uncertainty and Caution:

  • Businesses may adopt a cautious stance towards hiring at the end of the year, preferring to wait for a clearer outlook on the upcoming year’s economic conditions. This caution can contribute to a slower pace in recruitment.

5. Extended Decision-Making Processes:

  • Decision-making processes within organizations may be prolonged in December. Multiple levels of approval, additional scrutiny, and a desire for comprehensive planning for the next year can all contribute to delays in hiring.

6. Candidate Availability and Job Seeker Engagement:

  • Job seekers may be less actively engaged in the hiring process during December, focusing on holiday festivities and personal commitments. The reduced availability of candidates can make it harder for employers to fill open positions.

Strategies for Navigating December Hiring Challenges:

For Employers:

  1. Plan Ahead:
    • Anticipate year-end challenges and plan recruitment strategies accordingly. Consider front-loading hiring efforts earlier in the year to mitigate the impact of December slowdowns.
  2. Flexible Budgeting:
    • Implement flexible budgeting strategies that account for unexpected hiring needs at the end of the year. This flexibility allows for opportunistic recruitment when suitable candidates emerge.
  3. Streamline Decision-Making:
    • Simplify decision-making processes to expedite hiring. Minimize bureaucratic hurdles and ensure that key decision-makers are available, even during the holiday season.

For Job Seekers:

  1. Maintain Job Search Momentum:
    • While recognizing the holiday season’s importance, job seekers can maintain momentum in their job search. Networking and staying engaged with potential employers can set the stage for opportunities in the new year.
  2. Be Open to January Start Dates:
    • Recognize that some companies may delay onboarding until the start of the new year. Being open to January start dates can broaden job opportunities and align with organizational hiring timelines.
  3. Leverage Networking Events:
    • Attend holiday networking events. While these gatherings may have a festive atmosphere, they can also provide valuable opportunities to connect with professionals in a more relaxed setting.

In conclusion, the challenges of hiring in December are multifaceted, encompassing budgetary considerations, holiday distractions, and internal evaluations. By understanding these dynamics, both employers and job seekers can adopt proactive strategies to navigate the unique landscape of December hiring, setting the stage for a successful start to the new year.

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