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​With 2013 coming to a close, many individuals will be making the most of the opportunity to wind down and bring the year to a natural close. Much like those in-between days after Christmas and before New Year are spent thinking about how much you ate/drank, and what a great person you’re going to be starting 1st January, December in the work place is a time for reflection, consolidation and forward-planning.  January presents a fresh start, with blank league tables offering endless opportunities and renewed optimism. January is the perfect time to hire new staff for your team – isn’t it?

Actually, no. Here’s why:

1. In January, everyone wants to be running full steam ahead

Amid the start of year chaos that is sales kick-offs, budget planning, new product releases and customer meetings, January is the busiest month of the year for most businesses. Expectations are high, and over-indulged employees back from their Christmas breaks are under pressure to make up for a slow December, punctuated with Christmas parties, hangovers and last-minute holidays. During this time, are your staff really going to be motivated to take time out of their day job to complete a hiring process?

 2. You need a different game plan to your competitors

So you’ve seen some great CVs and set up interviews for next week, confident one of them will be right for the job. Meanwhile, all your competitors are interviewing the same candidates in a frantic scramble for the best talent. Companies hiring in January have to be extra-competitive with job offers and move at the speed of light to even get a shot at securing their preferred candidates.

3. Lost time in January is lost money for the rest of the year

You’ve probably never considered November/December as a logical time to focus on hiring, but if you want to up headcount in the New Year, it makes sense to complete the hiring process during the quieter holiday season when the team can give it their full attention. It’s easier for candidates to get time off to interview, and if you’re smart about reaching out to passive candidates who are more-often-than-not thinking about a career move come the new year anyway, you get pick of the bunch without having to battle other would-be employers.

4. You’ll be amazed at the impact of getting new starters up to speed before January

Starters in December have the opportunity to get to grips with the new environment at a comfortable pace, whilst in January when there’s no room for error. The team will be feeling extra welcoming with all that Christmas spirit flying around, and by the time their first month is up your new hire will think they’ve landed their dream job. Queue January, and they have no excuse not to hit the ground running and contribute fully to the year. This way, you get the best out of them with no lost time and a smooth, comfortable integration. Happy days!

5. Hiring in Q4 is a proven strategy favoured by industry leaders

One of ConSol’s longest-standing customers, globally leading telecommunications and internet service provider, have found ever the years that hires starting between Q1-Q3 are slow to make an impact and trickier to integrate. They complete the vast majority of their hiring in Q4, with very little activity throughout the rest of the year. They believe that by following this pattern, not only do they get the maximum business value out of new staff for a full business year come January, they also get their pick of the best talent as other companies have slowed down their hiring.

Some business owners will be reluctant to bring on new staff in December, who have to be included in budget for Christmas parties and a pay period in which staff are inevitably less productive than usual. But you can still get a head start – there’s no reason not to use December to complete the hiring process – complete interviews without pressure and cherry-pick candidates ahead of the competition. A job offer is made and accepted, hands are shaken, mince pies are shared and everyone goes away for Christmas. The new starter arrives in January, fresh as a daisy and raring to go.

So, if you’re currently thinking about your hiring strategy for 2014, now is the time to get the wheels in motion. Stop planning to plan your hiring plan, and get started on identifying candidates for the roles you want to fill – the impact come January resonates throughout the year and is well worth the extra work before Christmas.