Answer: While most hiring managers think their timetable to complete a search is unique, it is subject to the realities of when decision-makers have time to complete the process and extend an offer. There really is a cycle. As we follow the hiring process, here is a blog post about activities during the last quarter of the year. If you missed the first post of the series which started in the fall, here is an update wrapping up the year.
CALENDAR – September to December.
EVENTS – September, October November (until Thanksgiving Week ) include Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving. End of Year Rush (Thanksgiving through Dec. 31) with Holidays throughout this period.
This is a short recruiting window for new searches and to allow for completion of searches begun in the spring and early summer. During this period, hiring organizations discover that with other corporate priorities such as trade shows, internal meetings and business travel, they can only expect to complete first round interviews before the holiday season begins. There is usually time during the first week in December for business appointments. After that the exodus begins with senior officers taking from mid-December through the New Year for vacation. It becomes clear that any hires involving their approval simply won’t happen as much as that was the initial intention.
There is another path leading to end of year hires. If an organization has been trying for several months to fill a senior role before the end of the year, they may try to manage holiday schedules and find one or two days when the interviewing team is not traveling. If that is the situation, a finalist can help by providing a list of dates s/he is available starting immediately after Thanksgiving. It is always appropriate to provide scheduling information as I have said, e.g., vacation travel plans and days when you are unavailable, to help in arranging interviews. This can mean the difference in extending an offer before Christmas, for example, or having to wait weeks.
It is also essential to have all the details about your compensation at your fingertips. If there are two days to wrap up a search, you must anticipate what will be needed and have it immediately available. Instead of giving a finalist a full week to think about an offer and discuss terms, an end of year decision may happen within 2-days. I have always found that a risky path. Decisions made that quickly often lead to errors or details that were not discussed. Also, distractions and overload due to holiday obligations lead to stress and the potential for conflicts as the offer is negotiated. If it is at all possible to agree to work out terms of an offer once the New Year begins, knowing that both parties are eager to make the hire, that would be my recommendation.