Recruiting has seasons.  If you don't believe that you haven't been around long enough to understand the pattern.  The salmon run between late August and the first week or two in November.  Squirrel season starts the second week in November and lasts until the second week in January.  The salmon start running again the second week in January until about tax time in April.  At least that is the way it has always been in my part of the world.


I find the winter squirrel season to be the time when everybody turns squirrel for at least six weeks.  Open reqs are put on hold due to budget meetings or some hiring manager deciding (even if they have been interviewing for a month)  that if they haven't hired by now maybe they can just wait until after the first of the year.  The ones that are ongoing suddenly turn into logistic nightmares because the candidate is leaving next Wed for Nova Socia or the hiring manager is taking the last week of vacation to include turkey day.  Or the CEO just said, what the heck, let's freeze hiring until after the holidays and see what happens.


I start to hear screams from hiring managers that they have to get someone hired NOW because they need them on board by Dec.  Sure we can do that, no problem.   Everybody in the world who has a job, is looking for another one is going to interview this week, give notice next week and be ready to start by the second week in Dec.  I think not.  Start dates will be delayed due to trips planned/paid  for Christmas, year end bonus that will paid the last week of the month, being the awards presenter at the Christmas party, year end financials or tax projections have to be completed before they can leave.  I have had candidates tell me they can't give notice for at least 10 days because their boss was on a cruise and wouldn't be back until after the first week in Dec.


  At very least an acceptance this week is somewhat likely not to give notice until after turkey day to be sure they aren't walked out the door or they don't want to ruin the holiday for the boss.  If a move is involved i haven't had much success with candidates being willing to move a family between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  If a candidate is unemployed it's a great week for offers, then even then they don't want to start until after turkey day.


I wonder if this year will be different due to so many companies operating lean and mean during the recession, now wanting to hire as things start to pick up.

I am not feeling any vibes as to a press to hire.  Talking about it, yes, taking any steps to move forward, no.  Perhaps it will happen late if the tax cuts are extended.


I got my squirrel license this morning, dusting off my squirrel gun and starting to aim for December acceptance and start date after the first of the year on new recruits.  Hope springs that the squirrels i shoot in the next few weeks still have enough hair left on them by Jan. to start storing nuts in a new tree in Jan.  don't get a raise, hefty Christmas bonus in the form of a buyback or a promotion announced that will change their minds.  As to interviews going on now.  I am in full court press to close and get a Dec. start date.  In my world it's four days until odds are that it doesn't get billed until Jan. 


 In fact i close my office between Dec. 20 and Jan. 2 .  After years of rescheduling and frustration with the sound and fury of holiday attempts to hire,  i like to wait until the squirrels are a little tired of running around in circles so they sit still long enough to get a good shot.  Not to mention all the fruits and nuts who have not looked for a job for two years then decide the week before Christmas that they really do need to find something to do.  Holidays are just a great time for all the career drunks and druggies to get sappy and call a recruiter.  Color me out of that loop.


What do you see happening in the next six weeks?  Is this year different?

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Over the years I have experienced getting people hired and started in December - one year I had a candidate start on December 22nd! However, I have also experienced hiring activity getting put on hold at or around Thanksgiving.

I have one candidate who is scheduled to start on 1/4/11 because he must stay with his current emaployer through 12/18 to get his 6-month severence...I will be communicating with him regularly that is for sure.

I do currently have a decent amount of job orders and interview activity for now. I expect that for candidates that are working, if they do get a job offer its likely they'll want to start in January...its an interesting time of year!
December has always been my best month of the year. I can't think of any year where a different month produced more placements. This being a very funky kind of economy - that may all change - but usually December is the best for me.

It also might be that I typically work a very (very) limited schedule from T-day through January 2. I'm not sitting in my office wondering if anyone else is working. I'm not - so I'm not in here to mess around. You want to hire someone before the end of the year? Let's do it. You don't? Cool. See you after the holidays.

Maybe I should have that attitude all year long.....
December is always an interesting month. I had one year when it seemed like everybody had been asleep or too busy to think until Dec. 15th. Job ads went up, i was setting up interviews for the week after Christmas on the 23rd of Dec, while the car was being packed , confirming on the road and on the morning of the 24th. Truth be told most of them had to be rescheduled by the 28th. My family was not thrilled with me being on the cell in the middle of a restaurant on the night of the 23rd.

I never put up an "out of office" email response so while i too work a very limited schedule from Tday till Jan. Nobody knows it but me. I check emails 24/7.

My question Jerry is, are you talking about December acceptance or December start dates. If start dates when did those searches start?

Will, yours sounds pretty consistant, do you think it has something to do with certain industries or do you think that Squirrel Season relatively has to do with the economy?

Maybe our own attitude about the holidays has something to do with what happens. Maybe i really subconsciously "will" it to slow down or go nuts because i do. :)
No doubt that at this time of year, people are focused on delaying things til the new year. I just closed two deals and both came back with Jan 2011 start dates. On the other hand, it's nice to have a business where one can take time to enjoy the good times that can come over the holidays. My best to you & yours for the holidays!
Congrats on the closed deals Ted. Do you know if they are giving notice before or after Thanksgiving?

I am always grateful that i no longer do any accounting except my own. Those year end closes really put a damper on the holidays. At least recruiters get invited to lots of HO HO parties. That may be the subject for a whole nother' blog. :)
Sandra good post, I am hoping for a squirrel season as this year has been far busier than I ever anticipated. What do you think the impact of annual performance bonuses are on the recruiting seasons? I have always wondered if some urgent January requirements are not the result of short notice departures caused by people waiting out bonuses.
The hiring managers that have money left in the budget or have already blown the budget want to get that check out the door before year end. I also hear the painful urgency in their voices in November.

I had to look into QB to verify. I almost always have billings in December but they fall near the first which indicates that those deals were done in November. Just closed two, one started this week and one starts on the 22nd and a third backed out of her fly-out offer interview. Might shake a tree seeking a backfill squirrel. There's still time but tick tick, not much.

Hopefulness and confidence that 2011 will be the recovery year could drive some December hires.
James, Thanks!
I have had a very good year, thank you recruiting Gods, but it has been somewhat crazy. The ones i thought were a slam dunk or would close didn't and the ones i thought were a long shot fell in like somebody planned it. I would rather be lucky than good any day. Or maybe it was my turn, or maybe the recruiting Gods said, aw heck. The old girl worked her butt off on those that fell apart, let's give her one or two so she doesn't go drool in her oatmeal, she has all those rescue animals to feed. Spooky stuff happens in this business, years ago i figured out it wasn't all about how nifty a recruiter i think i am. There are forces at work for candidates and recruiters and companies. Hell no, i do not have a tarot deck and i don't stick pins in dolls , i just know that sometimes things happen for a reason that has nothing to do with me. Or it was something i did in the past that finally paid off.

It has been my experience that most people who have a potential bonus that is paid at the end of the year are not about to give notice before they get the bonus or they think they will get a raise or a promotion. They don't find out until right before or right after Christmas or the 1st. If it doesn't happen the way they felt it should, my phone rings off the wall with candidates saying. " I am on go, get me out of here. " I think a lot of times the January calls from employers are because people accept jobs in December and dont' give notice until after the holidays or the bonus. They either do it the Monday after Christmas or they take the last of their vacation and roll back in on Jan 2 and quit saying "sorry but i have to start my new job next week." I have seen fewer buybacks in Jan and fewer accepted if it was about lack of bonus or lack of promotion. Not much an employer can say or offer if the bonus was cut or the promotion not received that will make a difference at that point.

Tick, tick, tick is right. I am close on several placements right now. Had a candidate no show this morning. I am trying to make the decision - is there enough time to shoot into the trees and see if something falls out in time to get another candidate in or do i roll with with the one i have in the loop and hope that one gets an offer. Congrats on those starting this month. That is money in the bank instead of a belief in the power of prayer that those who accept now with Jan. start dates will not get two other offer before they are due to start in Jan. Many a slip between the cup and the lip. Nothing like a little "guilt by christmas fruit basket" for those hanging fire for Jan start date. Include a card that says, "Happy Holidays and Congratulations on your New Position with XYZ they are very pleased to have you joining them in Jan.". It may not work, but like i said, I don't stick pins in dolls. :)
Christmas Cookies for the fat lady so she will sing, shut up and it will be over.
Jerry We agree on Something. DEC is always good to me.
Congrats CB. Looks like you are storing nuts for the winter. :)
Got lots of Nuts
I tend to see a lot of candidates wanting to interview and get the offer, but push off the start date for all the reasons you gave. SO, I'm still fairly busy, but it doesn't look like a lot of hiring /starting is getting done until we hit those first few weeks of Jan.

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