Why Q4 is the best time to look for and start a new job

Why Q4 is the best time to look for and start a new job

The holidays are a job-hunter’s paradise.

We’re well into one of the most unusual job markets in history, with no signs of returning to business as usual. Competition for top talent is holding strong despite a shaky economy. And as we head into year-end – a season typically marked by candidates and companies pausing job searches – you may find yourself wondering if now’s a good time to be on the market.

So to set the record straight: Yes, the end of the year is actually a great time to search for and start a new job. Yes, even in this economy.

But we get it; you have concerns. Here’s our take on the questions that have come up in recent conversations with candidates.

1. Don’t let fear be the reason you don’t chase your dream job.

Too often, we hear of talent hanging on to less-than-ideal or downright lousy jobs well past reason — especially when the economy is a bit bumpy. They’ve internalized the fear of being the “last hired, first fired” and cling to the perceived security of staying put. There’s something to be said for loyalty, of course, but not if it’s at a significant cost to you.

The reality is, job security is an illusion. Business is business, and as harsh as it sounds, anyone can find themselves on the chopping block at any moment — especially when the economy is in trouble.

This is why it’s so important to be entrepreneurial about your career, and focus on contributing your talents where you can make the greatest impact and receive in return the most reward and fulfillment. If you’re undervalued or underutilized in your current role, that’s not exactly an advantageous place to be when downsizing decisions are made, either.

In other words, now’s as good a time as any to make your next move and go after the job you really want. 

2. That bonus you’re holding out for could cost you. 

If your total comp package includes a sweet bonus opportunity, you may be hesitant to leave it on the table. After all, you’ve been working all year, gunning for that perk, and you deserve it. Bonuses are an effective way for smart employers to incentivize strong performance (and retention). But payouts are not guaranteed, and you won’t always see the writing on the wall.

With the fear of recession in the air, companies are pulling back and shoring up resources in preparation for a possible storm. This means making tough calls, including canceling plans to pay out cash reserves. If you think your bonus is in the bag because you’re making your numbers, think again. You might get it, might not.

Now is a great time to negotiate for higher salaries in a new role to combat inflation or to find roles that better suit your lifestyle,'' says Freeman+Leonard recruiter Brittani Kroog. “For the right employee, we are seeing companies go tens of thousands over their range and negotiate more PTO and other benefits.”

Plus, you may be able to negotiate for more money with a new employer to make up for the bonus you’re leaving on the table.

But even if not, you’ll need to decide if missing a great opportunity is worth a bonus you may not even get.

3. ‘Return to office’ is gaining ground, so get ahead of it. 

At Freeman+Leonard, we’re Team WFH. We think companies should be offering more remote work opportunities, not fewer. Alas, not every employer is on board. Many cling to outdated ideas about in-person collaboration (or their commercial leases), in addition to those whose workers must be on-site to perform their jobs.

In the past few months, we’ve seen a sharp increase in job descriptions with in-office-attendance requirements. And quite a few folks in our talent pool have been voicing displeasure about their employer enforcing return-to-office policies. With the pandemic waning, the trend isn’t looking good for home office holdouts in 2023.

If you prefer working remotely and it’s become clear that your employer has different ideas, your best bet is to get ahead of it. Doubly so if you moved farther away from your office during the pandemic (or even to a whole new city!).

Find a new opportunity with an employer that agrees with your thinking and appreciates the value of working from home. The clock is ticking!

4. Your competition is sleeping on the job (or sipping eggnog). 

The job search and hiring front are notoriously quiet at the end of the year. But in our experience, it’s often one of the best times to be on the hunt for a new role. Economic downturn and headline-grabbing layoffs aside, the job market is still strong in many sectors. Heading into 2023, healthy marketing and advertising budgets mean employers are still hungry for top talent. 

It can be tempting to take it easy during the holiday season, but your competition is probably thinking the same way. You may even figure that recruiters and hiring managers have completely checked out for the year, but we can assure you that’s not the case. Sure, some people are out of the office on vacation, but we’re still plugged in and actively looking to fill roles before the new year.

“We often advise clients to swoop in and get good talent now with fewer companies competing,” says Andrea Tipton, EVP, Marketing and Talent Solutions at Freeman+Leonard. “The same can be said for talent. Take the time now to decide what you want and go after it.”

With fewer candidates actively searching, December is a good time to stand out, get noticed and land your next role. 

5. ’Tis the season for searching and settling in with ease.  

The holidays can be a sleepy mix of slowing down at work while getting caught up in hustle-and-bustle at home. But don’t forget, you can always pare back your social calendar commitments and mile-long to-do list. If you’re eager to make your next move, use some of the downtime to polish your resume, update your LinkedIn profile, brush up on your interview skills, and take advantage of the slower pace.

If you land a role near year-end, you may be inclined to push your start date to January. But Q4 is a great time for onboarding without the pressure to start contributing right away. You’ll be able to sit in on planning meetings, connect with your new coworkers and clients during holiday social gatherings, get up to speed on company policies, programs, and technology, and prepare to hit your stride in January when projects are in full swing.

Set yourself up for success next year and beyond.

Overall, the future looks bright for marketing and advertising talent in this market. We encourage you to seize the opportunities in front of you, continuously strive to advance your career, and set yourself up for future success. December could be the month that makes a difference. 

The skilled talent professionals of Freeman+Leonard can help you with your search now and year-round.

Get in touch with a Freeman+Leonard recruiter today by submitting your resume or connecting with us on LinkedIn.

Why Q4 is an ideal time to hire and onboard new employees

Why Q4 is an ideal time to hire and onboard new employees

Don’t write off December!

Over the years, we’ve noticed a troubling pattern: hiring tends to go on hiatus in Q4. 

It’s certainly not because business has slowed. With leadership focused on hitting year-end numbers and top performers aiming to make their bonuses, there’s plenty of activity afoot. But as talent acquisition professionals, we’ve come to expect a lull in our workload each year heading into fall. And while we understand the reasons, we see it as a missed opportunity. 

Placing searches on hold and pushing back start dates might seem like a good idea. After all, the holiday season is coming up, lots of people will be on vacation, and hiring managers are looking forward to some downtime. However, putting staffing off till January can waste precious time that you can’t get back. 

Q4 is actually a great time to hire and welcome new employees to your team. Here’s why.

1. There’s less competition for top marketing, advertising and creative talent.

Employers may be resting on their laurels at the end of the year, but top candidates in marketing, advertising and creative fields are on the move. Holidays or not, candidates are actively looking for new opportunities this time of year. This means you have a real shot at adding to your team a few marketing rockstars that your competitors otherwise might have snapped up any other time of the year.

2. You can avoid burning out your team (and keep billing).

For many consumer brands and nonprofits (and the agencies that serve them), the holidays are actually a high-volume time of year in terms of sales and revenue. Not having a full team means you may not be operating at peak performance (or billing the hours you expected) – and during the busy season, that can cost you money. Hitting a ceiling on growth is never fun, and especially not during the time of year when the lion’s share of revenue is expected.

Not to mention this stretches your existing team far too thin during a time when everyone else they know is relaxing at home with friends and family. It’s a recipe for burnout you can easily avoid by staffing up in Q4, rather than waiting for that “ideal” moment in the new year.

3. Your new hires get to learn ‘by osmosis’ while your team strategizes for the year ahead.

The end of the year is a natural time to reflect on the progress you’ve made, reassess the challenges you’ve faced, and look forward to what you hope to accomplish in the months ahead. 

This gives your new employees a unique opportunity to absorb information about the company and their role that will be vital to their success, simply by being in the room during important discussions.

Your new hires get to see the 30,000-foot view before the year begins and before they (and everyone else) get caught up in the day-to-day.

The fresh perspectives that new team members bring can also open your eyes to alternative approaches, potential obstacles you haven’t anticipated, or trends you might have missed – before your plans are set in stone.

Including new team members in these important discussions can also help you bond with new hires and help them feel valued and welcome.

4. You can hit the ground running in January.

As we all know, returning from the holidays at the first of the year can be grueling. The transition from festivities and Hallmark movie binges to a calendar chock-full of meetings and deadlines can be a shock to the system. Not the best atmosphere for onboarding a new hire. 

When you fill open positions in Q4, you avoid thrusting new hires into the weeds on day one. A more laid-back schedule means they have space to review materials, and get up to speed on your systems and technology rather than jumping right into a project. And while your team is less busy, they can show them the ropes.

Most employees don’t start contributing immediately, anyway. A late-year start date gives them plenty of time to get acclimated before their output is truly needed.

5. ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’… to mix and mingle!

Ramping up in a new role is about more than getting the hang of the job itself. Fitting in — meeting your co-workers, learning who’s who, and familiarizing yourself with the company culture — is a big part of onboarding success

But when your team is remote or hybrid, opportunities for face time are less abundant – except, perhaps, at the end of the year. Q4 hosts a flurry of in-person events, lunches and holiday parties. No matter what traditions your employees celebrate, or how many of them work remotely, year-end is a wonderful time to gather in-person.

All the merrymaking provides a natural opportunity to introduce new employees to the rest of the team (and clients) before everyone retreats into their home offices for the rest of the winter.

This worked well for Brittani Kroog, who kicked off her new remote job as Recruiting & Talent Sourcer at Freeman+Leonard in Q4 of 2021 with an in-person day at the company’s coworking space. “It was great meeting HR, IT and my manager in person, followed by a team lunch. That was a very personable first day,” she says. “Starting in December also meant I got to have social time with everyone for the holidays, which was so nice.”

Getting bumped to January means missing out on the casual team bonding and personal connections that Q4 onboarding affords. (Plus, your Q4 new hires will get to be in on the holiday party inside jokes in January, instead of feeling even more like an outsider.)

It’s not too late to add to your team in 2022.

Whether you’re thinking about pausing an active search or delaying a new search for the next couple of months, we encourage you to think again. 

We see it every year — employers who continue to recruit in November and December have an edge over those who don’t. 

The marketing and advertising talent experts at Freeman+Leonard can help you with your search and onboarding process year-round. The hiring landscape is still competitive, but strong candidates enter the job market daily. Strike while the iron is hot, and don’t miss your chance to tap the advantages of Q4 onboarding. 

Use the contact form below to reach out and start a conversation. It costs nothing to explore your options.

Get in touch with a Freeman+Leonard consultant today: