Is the Fourth Quarter the Worst Time to Job Search?

The fourth quarter of the calendar year is notoriously perceived as a bad time for job searching. The main arguments for this stance include companies already draining their yearly budgets by the fourth quarter, hiring managers having extended breaks from work due to the holiday season, and hiring managers being preoccupied with tasks that need to be completed before the end of the year.


However, is it merely a myth that the fourth quarter is a bad time to search for a job, or is it reality? The short answer is myth—and, in fact, the end of the year is an opportune time for job seekers looking to get hired or get an edge on their search. As long as jobs are being posted, companies will be hiring. Continue reading to discover why the fourth quarter is an excellent time to search for a job.


Less Competition

Job seekers may experience greater success during the fourth quarter because other job seekers have postponed or halted their search. This is possibly due to the end of year hiring freeze myth, and therefore job seekers decide not to look during this time. Thus, less competition equals a greater chance of landing the desired job.


Efficient Hiring Process

Another essential aspect to note is that if a job is posted in the fourth quarter, there is a high probability the company is committed to making a quick hire. The fourth quarter is usually busy for businesses, so if a company decides not to push back hiring until the next year, candidates may experience an efficient and responsive hiring process. Mark Bassett, Director of Executive Search at eNamix says, “In my experience, even if there are fewer job postings during the fourth quarter, the companies with open positions during this time are usually more serious about hiring…and hiring quickly.”


Companies Recruit for January Start Date

Many companies hire at the end of the year because they target the beginning of the new year for start dates. This results in a faster time-to-hire. If job seekers wait until January to begin their job search, it is too late to be considered for these roles. However, by starting in October and November, job seekers can find job positions looking for January or even first-quarter start dates.


Critical Roles for Business Continuity

When looking for jobs in the fourth quarter, some job roles might have more openings than others. These roles tend to be critical for companies, and the vacant position interrupts their daily operations. So whether they need additional help on the IT support team, a developer for a holiday-themed landing page, or a salesperson for a new product, a company will find the resources to hire a vital employee. Bassett says, “Companies can get creative. They can bring the new hire on as a consultant or contractor for the first month or two. Then convert the employee to a direct hire. That shows up as a different line item on a budget so, accountants can play with that.”


Opportunities for Passive Job Seekers

Lastly, as we covered in a previous post, passive job seekers consistently network, browse job openings, and research companies, because the best time for a job seeker to look for a job is when they do not need one. Therefore, passive job seekers should not stop their search because it is the fourth quarter. Professionals should continue hunting year-round because opportunities may arise when least expected and sometimes appear in obscure ways.


Recommendations for Targeted Job Searches

Job seekers and professionals tend to have a few companies they would be thrilled to work for one day. This could be due to the company having top-tier clients, being part of an exciting industry, offering great benefits, or a multitude of other reasons. So, what should a job seeker do if one of their dream companies does not have any job postings or a job posting in their desired department? Reach out!


Job seekers should feel encouraged to reach out to these companies and ask if they foresee any job vacancies appearing at the beginning of the next year. Job seekers can reach out to talent acquisition at the company, human resources, department heads, or other employees where it makes sense. By contacting these individuals when there are not any job postings, job seekers demonstrate their interest in the company because they went out of their way to connect with key individuals, even when there was no available job opening.


John Jeltema, Head of New Business Development at eNamix stresses the power of inquiring about future job opportunities, “Reaching out to these stakeholders is going to open doors and uncover those potential opportunities that never make it to the market. Again, those are the best ones to find. The ones that never get posted anywhere because they already thought of you for the role.” 


Stakeholders at these desired companies are usually excited to connect and talk with people interested in working at their company. Stakeholders may even provide employee referrals for the job seeker, or the job seeker may be able to skip the application process altogether if they connect with the right people, have fruitful conversations, and make genuine connections. If you need a topic to center your initial message around, Jeltema recommends wishing the stakeholder a successful end of the year or a happy holiday season.



The fourth quarter is still an opportune time to continue the job search. The end of the year might mean fewer companies are hiring, but the open jobs are usually hiring swiftly, and there may be less competition due to other job seekers hauling or delaying their search. There are also the benefits of beating all the new year’s resolution job seekers to the job search, and certain roles will always be hiring, regardless of the time of year.


If you have any questions on how eNamix can help your company find great candidates for your opening or you want to learn more, visit or contact to set-up a consultation with one of our senior account managers.