The Hiring Freeze Myth: Is the End of the Year a Great Time to Hire?

The end of the year hiring freeze is a common theory among both hiring managers and candidates. It’s easy to understand why this perception exists. According to Monster, January continues to be the busiest month for job searches.


Between the holidays and budget planning ahead of the new fiscal year, both job seekers and companies might assume there’s a slowdown in the hiring process during the fourth quarter. However, based on his experience, John Jeltema, Head of New Business Development at eNamix declares this hypothesis is a myth: “It’s a great time to look…I’ve been doing this for 25 years and the fourth quarter is consistently the busiest and most successful every year.”


In a recent Innerview Podcast, both John Jeltema and Mark Bassett, Director of Executive Search, discussed why companies should maintain hiring momentum toward end of the year.


1. Strategically Spend End of Year Budget

The reality is that as much as the end of year may be focused on budget planning for the next year, a hiring manager’s focus remains on budget spending at the end of the year. The fourth quarter brings forward a dilemma, depending on a company’s policies, of “use them or lose them.” This policy places the hiring manager in the situation of needing to fill a vacant position by December 31, or that position simply gets dropped from the budget for the following year.

Though to be clear, this type of policy isn’t in place at every company. However, if it’s a reality at your company, it’s beneficial to fill the position to not only maintain budget for the following year but also to add human capital to further support your department or business goals.


2. New Year Resource Planning

Conversely, another reason why the fourth quarter is ideal is because hiring managers are also budgeting for the upcoming year’s headcount. Oftentimes, it makes sense to have a new employee start in the first quarter of the year. In this situation, companies should at minimum commence the hiring process in the fourth quarter of the previous year—posting the job, recruiting, screening, and interviewing. Finding the right candidate is a time-consuming process. Companies should plan accordingly so these positions can be filled and new employees ready to start at the beginning of January or shortly thereafter.


3. There Are Still Quality Applicants

An argument against end of year hiring is that the pool of qualified job seekers for a position drops at the end of year. The theory is that some job seekers may be on vacation, taking time off to be with family, or, ironically, the job seeker thinks companies just aren’t hiring in December.

This hypothesis is, once again, not always true. No matter the time of year, the right candidate can always be in the job market. Just like how the job seeker needs to be proactive when looking for their next position, the hiring manager and company need to be proactive as well. And there’s no reason to think that even if a job seeker did slow down their job search around the holidays that they would stop looking altogether. Furthermore, the candidate who is consistent and diligent about landing their next career opportunity demonstrates character, motivation, and commitment.

The recruiters at eNamix encourage job seekers to reach out and connect with their network and hiring companies toward the end of year, whether it be to share holiday greetings or actively network. It’s about maintaining momentum. So stay active as a company, even at the end of the year, and promote that you’re still hiring.


4. Demonstrate Efficiency and Initiative

Success doesn’t take a holiday break. That’s not to say the hiring process is easier in December, but keep in mind that, for example, your entire marketing team might not be in the office at the same time to interview a new marketing position candidate by the time December comes around.

Mark Bassett, Director of Executive Search at eNamix, believes this situation presents an opportunity for a company to demonstrate initiative to potential candidates. Companies that have the foresight to get ahead of roadblocks will attract quality candidates. Mark Bassett helps clients navigate any possible curveballs by often asking, “Do you have the bandwidth to get the deal closed… there’s three interviews, four people involved, two holidays, how do we work around that? From the company’s perspective, it’s about making a commitment to get this position filled.” Staying proactive and mindful of others’ schedules will help hiring managers avoid any year-end pitfalls as well as ensure the quality hires your company expects year-round.


What better way is there to be ready for the upcoming fiscal year and new start in January than to start taking action in November and December of the previous year? eNamix encourages candidates to keep looking in the fourth quarter because the hiring freeze myth creates an opportunity for less competition. And from the hiring manager’s perspective, the best way to get ahead of the next fiscal year is start preparing early.


eNamix is here to assist you with your end of year recruitment needs. If you have any questions or want to discuss a job requisition, contact to set-up a consultation with one of our senior account managers.



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