Now is the time to make the most of the New Year HR job market

Now is the time to make the most of the New Year HR job market

As the professional world shifts back into gear after the festive season, the industry tends to experience a fairly reliable increase in job movement and recruitment opportunities. As candidates, this can be a great time to professionally pivot or progress your career. As employers, this period can offer the opportunity to implement personnel changes that support your growth strategy for the year ahead. So for organisations recruiting and candidates searching, what is it about the New Year that makes it so special?

What are the benefits of New Year Job Hunting? 

Of course, there are different perspectives that make January a great season for recruitment depending on whether you’re a business or a candidate. From psychology to budgets, the month of January sets the tone for the year to come. This brings with it specific conditions that can lay the foundation for recruitment success. 

For Organisations

Businesses looking to recruit into their HR teams can benefit from the circumstances that January brings. 

Headcount Budgets

As the beginning of both a new year and a new quarter, many departments are likely to have a more generous headcount budget in January. This level of optimism from your CFO may be quickly affected by economic and industry changes, so it makes sense to grab potential opportunities early and get recruiting!

Pool of Talent

With the knowledge that more people make job searches in January, an organisation can take advantage of the increased pool of talent. It’s important to have your job spec, interview process and on boarding set up in place so that you can move quickly and remain ahead of other organisations with the same approach.

Blue Monday

In 2005, a British travel company coined the phrase “Blue Monday” for the third Monday of January, which is said to be the “most depressing” day of the year. The idea was clearly to encourage consumers to book overseas travel in response to the dark and wet days. However, the concept has a very real impact on recruitment patterns too. So recruiters should understand how important it is to offer attractive benefits packages to make the most of this time of year. 

For Candidates

While organisations look to enjoy plentiful choice in the January recruitment drive, there are some great positives for candidates too.

More Options

As organisations look to fulfil their recruitment strategies for the year ahead, it can potentially be HR roles that come up first. These roles are instrumental in setting out overall strategies for growth and are therefore often the first vacancies that must be filled for organisations on this path. This means that there is more choice for candidates to find a role and business match that’s right for them. 


A key driver for many applicants is to seek more fulfilment in their working life. This might be based on organisation values or personal development. The start of the year allows you the clarity to articulate exactly what you want in your next job move. This means that you can search with more defined targets.


After a festive break, candidates can embark on their search for a new job role with enthusiasm and vigour. This translates automatically in your approach and language when applying or interviewing for new roles. 

What are the drawbacks of New Year Job Hunting? 

There are of course drawbacks to recruiting or job hunting at the start of the year. Indeed, there is no perfect time to recruit HR professionals, and due to the nature of recruitment, timescales are often taken out of our hands! 

For Organisations

Quantity will never beat quality. This is why employing specialist HR recruitment services will yield a better result than simply relying on a month of the year! In addition, it’s important to take into account the delays and challenges that come with new year job seeking.

Festive Lull

After a potential lull in activity over the festive season, filling vacancies may take a back seat for senior colleagues. The knock on result is that the bulk of January may be spent on administering the process of advertising a vacancy rather than filling it.

New Year New Me

Finding the right candidate for your business is not an instant process. Rushing into recruitment simply because it’s January has the potential to result in a quick turnover of staff, which doesn’t benefit either the individual or organisation. 

For Candidates

Clearly, it can benefit candidates to hold back from rushed decisions when they want to move on from their current organisation. 


The upsurge in potential applicants means increased competition from a candidate’s perspective. This is why it’s important to be connected to specialist recruitment services. This is the most direct way to access the best match of vacancies.


Key personnel may be catching up after a period of annual leave, which has a knock on effect for recruitment processes. This may mean a longer period for applications to be considered, and an employer may decide to introduce additional interview stages. 

How to make the best of January 

If you’re looking to recruit in January, or even throughout the year, what are the steps to take to make the job market work best for you? 

  • Employment strategy: Growing businesses will benefit from setting their annual employment strategy from HR down. This means employing your top HR team first, who will then be able to manage your organisational growth across the rest of the year.
  • Check details: Even if you’re re-staffing an existing role, check the role requirements and job description to make sure that it’s all relevant. After the festive lull, these are the kind of details which can get missed.
  • Think ahead: Don’t stop at recruitment – onboarding and training is just as important. So make sure that you have a full program of activity ready for your new starters. This will help to secure retention of the talent that you’ve worked so hard to 
  • Benefits: Many job seekers who join the market at the start of the year are dissatisfied with conditions in their current workplace. To attract the top talent, make sure that your specification highlights benefits such as flexibility and personal development. 
  • Expert services: In a busy job market, vacancies can get missed. To ensure access to really high quality talent, consult specialist recruitment services. At HR talent, we match our clients with the cream of HR personnel to enable appointments that last the distance. 

Contact us to find out more about how HR Talent can help with your employment strategy in 2024. 

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