Christmas is here. So should I put my job search on hold?

Christmas Tree 2014 2

The TM Christmas Tree

On the first day of Christmas

My true love sent to me:

A rejection email with my unread CV.

 On the second day of Christmas

Another company:

No interview date

And a rejection email with my unread CV.

 On the third day of Christmas

This time four more companies:

“We regret to inform you”

No interview date

And a rejection email with my unread CV.

It is a common assumption that the recruitment market goes into a bit of a lull during the festive season, possibly due to employees drinking too much vin chaud and attending one too many Christmas parties.  So, with the holidays fast approaching, TM began to reflect on whether there is any truth in this belief.  Is the Christmas period truly a bad time for job hunting and when would be the optimum time of the year to start applying for jobs?

What TM finds

At TM International our busiest periods fall in April and October.  Given that our clients are based across all industries, this isn’t surprising since these two months coincide with the busiest months for recruitment in general, regardless of sector.  Being based in Paris, our quieter period falls in the summer, when the majority of Parisians pack their bags and head south for August.  Employees are usually en vacances and things begin to pick up again at the rentrée; it’s not just the children who are back to school!

Know your industry

The key piece of advice though is to know your industry.  It is fairly obvious that the retail and catering sectors see a huge surge in recruitment around Christmas as companies need to cope with the many more festive shoppers and restaurant goers.  In the UK, Royal Mail and Amazon are hiring 32,000 temporary staff between them this Christmas!  Likewise, financial services take on the most recruits between January and March in preparation for the end of the tax year when the workload picks up.  Aside from this though, analysing the recruitment calendar and hedging your bets is a lot like card reading; there doesn’t seem to be an exact science to it.

Change is in the air

Interestingly, Simon Baddeley, regional director of Reed employment, makes the point in an article by Emma Woollacott that the conventional recruitment calendar is changing and the traditionally ‘slow’ seasons (Christmas and the summer) are no longer quite so slow.  With online applications now commonplace, the use of automated processes has made the imbalances in the recruitment calendar decidedly smoother.  Now that job adverts are all online (who remembers the old adverts posted in the newspaper?) and many companies use technical screening for the first stages of your application, previously time-consuming processes have been simplified.  This means that the recruitment process is not so affected by reduced numbers of staff during holiday periods.  Furthermore, thanks to email, your CV and cover letter are no longer in the hands of the Royal Mail, so long gone are the days of your application being a victim of the infamous Christmas post!

Some recruitment experts go so far as to actually advise applying during the holiday periods.  Mary Eileen Williams gives several reasons to look for jobs at Christmas, her most important being that the number of candidates applying drops off.  While at TM we can’t see any specific lull in the number of candidates we receive in December, there’s no reason why you should put your job search on hold thinking that your chances of getting hired will be reduced.

So, on that note, update your CV, stop the online Christmas shopping, and start job hunting instead!  With many adding ‘Look for a new job’ to their list of New Year’s resolutions, beat the crowd and give yourself a head start before the year is up.  There’s no time like the present!

If you want a job for Christmas, head to our website to browse our latest opportunities.  And, if you liked this article and want more career advice, take a look at our blog (you can even subscribe by clicking ‘Follow’ – now that would be a good Christmas present)!

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