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Keep searching: Hiring revs up during the holidays

RashedJohnscontinues search for positihuman resources despite holiday season. . | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

Rasheda Johnson continues to search for a position in human resources despite the holiday season. . | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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If you’re unemployed and have let up on your job search as the holidays approach, get back at it.

It’s a bad idea to back off on your search as the end of the year nears because opportunities are out there, experts advise.

“Don’t fall emotionally, mentally into the trap of thinking that things slow down,” cautioned Tom Gimbel, founder and chief executive officer of Chicago-based staffing and recruiting company, the LaSalle Network.

For many employers, hiring revs up.

“We think we’ll have more companies offering our candidates permanent jobs in December than we’ll have had all year long,” Gimbel said. “Our business is up 35 percent year over year. Historically year-over-year, we see an 18 percent pick up in the fourth quarter.”

Right now many employers are making hiring decisions for next year, noted Anne Edmunds, spokeswoman at recruiting and workforce consulting company Manpower in Chicago.

Employers are “doing quite a bit of interviewing,” she said. “For companies, the budget constraints usually occur in the fourth quarter. But that comes off January 1, so they’re really planning for the first quarter of next year.

“We’ve seen a big increase in our permanent placement business. We have quite a few more job orders than we typically do. So it’s really a very good time to be looking or to be aggressive in your search.”

Indeed, the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s web site presently lists 120,000 active job openings statewide, according to spokesman Greg Rivara.

For many prospective employers, they ‘really want to finish their hiring now,” said Marilyn Bird, district director at staffing firm Robert Half International in Chicago. “They want to be ready for 2013, to enter 2013 with the best team on the field, so it’s a good idea to keep looking.”

Job seeker and the LaSalle Network client Rasheda Johnson has found that to be the case. She has been unemployed for roughly eight months, since the human resources manager job she had was eliminated.

“Right now I’m in the recruitment process for two positions, and even though the holiday season is coming up, they’re looking to have someone in place and started in those roles shortly after the holidays,” she said.

In the past few weeks she has done onsite interviews and visits with prospective employers, she said.

Now can be a more ideal time for job seekers to engage in job interviews, HR experts noted.

In many human resources departments, it can be a less busy time than other times of the year, “so they have a lot more time to go through the interview process,” Edmunds said.

“Because other people perhaps are not as aggressive about their job search during this time of year, you’re going to really stand out because you’re keeping up your networking and your interviewing,” said Anita Jenke, executive director of the Career Transitions Center in Chicago.

Jenke added holiday parties can be a good place to network.

“It’s a wonderful time to reach out to others and share that you’re in transition,” she said.

Job seekers also can see more opportunities to land temporary or seasonal work, which can lead to permanent jobs, Bird said.

“It’s happening more and more today because when companies find the talent that really fits them, they are eagerly hiring on those temp employees” as permanent workers she said. “They feel more confident about it because they’ve seen their work. They’ve had a chance to get to know them. That is the area that we are seeing growth the most in recent months. There are a lot of employers converting temp employees to permanent.”

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