There is a general attitude among the job searching community that year-end or fourth quarter is one of the worst times to try to land a job opportunity. While in some industries, this is true or companies only hire for seasonal roles, the good news is that it does not apply to all industries or jobs.

Industries that operate on a strict yearly budget are the ones where year-end positions are hard to come by. If there is no budget left for a new hire, the position waits until the New Year at the earliest. The silver lining in these situations is that candidates who are networking among these companies will be the first to be considered when they do start hiring in January.

In fact, the outlook on hiring is more good than bad. Overall hiring is still on the uptick. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in the year between September 2015 and September 2016, there was an employment gain of 2.6 million. While this statistic is not indicative of fourth quarter hiring, it does show that there are no market trends slowing down hiring in general.

In regards to hiring at this time of year, the outlook is fair.  CareerBuilder’s Annual Forecast reported that 34% of employers plan to add permanent full-time positions in the fourth quarter this year. This is not reflective of any part-time seasonal hiring. On the flip side, 9% of employers expect to reduce headcount in the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter layoffs could mean a disadvantage for a candidate that waits until next year to job-hunt.

Companies Hire In Q4 For New Year Advantage

Young Businessman Working On His LaptopSome employers focus on fourth quarter hiring so that their new hires are on board and comfortable with how the company operates before a rush of work comes flowing in.

“This time of year is notoriously less busy,” said Alyssa Krane, Chief Talent Strategist at Powerhouse Talent, an employer branding and talent acquisition agency. “It can be an ideal time of year for new hires to acclimate quickly and build relationships that will yield big gains in their overall ramp up time. Festive parties, more social opportunities and an inbox that is not overflowing provide a great environment for a new hire to settle in and assimilate to hit the ground running once the New Year arrives.”

Competition Among Candidates Is At Its Lowest

Because there is a commonly held belief that companies do not hire at the end of the year, many candidates write off job searching until January. This results in a drop in the competition for the opportunities that need to be hired before year-end.

“We are trying to find great talent to hire in December but noticed a lot less applicants apply during the holiday time,” said Shawn Porat, Co-CEO of Scorely, a credit bureau that publishes business credit reports and scores for free. “Please do not stop applying because of the holidays. There are employers like us that are looking for engineers, business development, and sales staff to join our team. Our application rate falls in December.”

Not only are there plenty of companies genuinely looking to hire at this time of year, but candidates who are pursuing opportunities and making themselves available for interviews can be favored over those who take the holiday season off.

“I find that the candidates who really are serious about finding a job will keep up the intense search during the holidays,” shared Kisha Mays, CEO of Just Fearless, an international business development company. “Those are the people I like to hire as they have drive and ambition. They don’t let the circumstances or times stop them. So yes, I typically like to do hiring between Thanksgiving and New Years, because I get fewer unqualified responses and better results.”

It is also worth mentioning that millennials who are searching for entry-level jobs have less competition now than they would in May when most graduates finish their degrees, despite a decent number of December semester graduates also looking.

Headstart On 2017

“The myth is that searching for a job in December is a waste of time,” said David Lewis, President and CEO of Operations Inc., a HR Outsourcing and Consulting company. “This is patently false. While the process may be slowed due to key hiring managers being out of the office and less than available, the spillover into January leads to a slew of offers the first few weeks of the year, all to candidates initially interviewed in December.”

As Lewis stated, even companies who are not filling positions until January may be interviewing in December so they can make offers as quickly as possible . The name of the game is to avoid slowing down during the holidays.

One great tip if you are considering roles at a specific company is to find out if there is a hiring freeze in place there. This can be found easiest by word-of-mouth from an employee, but can also be found in blogs, social media, or unofficially by reviewing the company’s recent earnings release. If the results are especially poor, it’s likely they are freezing at least some of their hiring. While you can continue networking for the future there, it will help save your time now.

If you are seriously looking for a new opportunity, there are advantages to doubling down your efforts at year-end. You will see less competition among qualified candidates and opportunities with companies looking to get new hires settled before January. Even if you don’t land the job in December, you’re likely to be at an advantage for jobs that will be filled in January due to your visibility, networking, and possible interviewing in December.