December Hires Vs January Hires

December Hires Vs January Hires

It may shock you to know that it is only 48 working days/6-7 weeks until Christmas, this can be a key period in any hiring cycle.

A lot of different factors can get in the way during these weeks (not to mention the sharp increase in Christmas music, Christmas jumpers and a sharp intake of turkey sandwiches!).

 Santa Is Coming

So why I am I posting this issue now? Because to make the most of hiring during this busy period you need to have a plan in place now.

Do you rush to close positions before Christmas or wait until after Christmas to start interviewing for January headcount? Do you bring people on board prior to Christmas or delay the start date until after the festive period? These all key options that hiring managers will have to consider.

When to Hire

Closing before Christmas

Closing all positions before the festive period, even those cleared for the months of January and February, has huge benefits to yourself as a hiring manager and to your company.

This will help you to avoid the ‘talent war’ in January which can be a particularly tough as the majority of top talent will have confirmed themselves a new role in the run up to Christmas; so they do not have the stress about job hunting during the festive period.

With notice periods coming into play - to secure the person who is the best for your company an offer will need to be made and accepted at the start of December at the latest so that they can start in the New Year or prior to the Christmas the break.

Waiting Until after Christmas for January Headcount

Many companies wait until January to start hiring however, by doing so,  they limit their options in January for the new headcount. You are better pipelining or recruiting actively for positions that open in the New Year prior to Christmas.

As mentioned above, most people that I work with, prefer to have a new opportunity confirmed prior to leaving work for Christmas so this is not hanging over them as they enjoy time with family and friends before returning to work.

Beginning your recruitment process in January means that your ‘candidate pool’ is now a ‘candidate puddle’ and the quality of your options will have decreased in this puddle.  

Therefore this is one strategy I suggest you do not decide on.

When to Start

Start Dates Prior to Christmas

By getting new hires to start before Christmas, you are able to on-board your new additions to the team in a period where things can go quiet as clients start to take an elongated Christmas break.

You can train your new addition(s), introduce them to others in the company without interrupting them in full flow and they could even attend a Christmas party which is a good time to socialise and get to know their colleagues outside of the work place.

From an on-boarding perspective, getting new hires to start before Christmas helps them to feel part of the company and included immediately.

Xmas Party


Start Pates Post Christmas

Getting new hires to start after Christmas can be advantageous to an employer as you are not paying for a new additions’ salary whilst they eat turkey, watch Elf and build snowmen, especially if your company shuts down at Christmas

However, upon returning, the working environment will be one of going 100mph back into achieving goals. Those in the work place will have less time to engage with the new starter as they are looking to re-engage with clients and close things off that have been sat in the pipeline over Christmas.

January can be a key time for all businesses as budgets can be approved or adjusted so that they are able to buy in the new calendar year. If your new employee starts in January, they still need to be trained on the internal systems, product set and the sales style within your business. This is one person less who can be having meaningful, revenue generating conversations with clients at the very start of the New Year.

Pipelining Candidates for the New Year

Something we hear a lot is ”the headcount will be approved in the New Year so we can engage then”; however, by putting this off it puts you one step behind the competition. A competitor in the same space could already be at the final or decision stage of interviews and this candidate is not even aware of your interest or positions available.

Even if the headcount is not open yet but will be opening in January or February, why not engage with the talent out here on the market prior to Christmas. This makes the job seeker aware of your interest, aware of your organisation and aware of the benefits of working for your organisation above your competitors.

In a market where all you see is headlines stating there is a talent shortage’ or a ‘skills gap’, this could be a small step that helps you to secure that rare high-achieving talent; and importantly, before your competition.

How to Streamline This Process and Make the Most of the Festive Period

Finlay James has closed hires for clients as late as Christmas Eve for January starters. To be able to ensure things run smoothly during a time of year where people are out at dinners and off on annual leave, it is key to make the hiring process as streamlined as possible.

From our side here at Finlay James, we are already scoping out the entire hiring process for many of our clients; to limit the time between interview stages, to make sure everyone in the process is available from both parties, to confirm the interview process remains the same as what was discussed at the beginning of the process and to plan for alternatives if one point of contact is out of the business.

Is it too early to wish you all a Merry Christmas, I think it is! So I will remain a scrooge until at least the 1st of December.


If you have any solutions to hiring during the festive period, all feedback is much appreciated! Please email