Ask the Hiring Boss: Does It Make Sense to Hire Before the Holidays?

holiday hiring

Ask the Hiring Boss is our ongoing advice series dedicated to all questions related to HR. Today, we’re covering workplace holiday parties and workplace celebrations. Each month, our team of hiring and staffing experts, team up to answer the questions we all have but don’t know who to ask. Welcome!

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Dear Hiring Boss, 

We’ve recently had two people on one of our busiest teams give notice. All good things — one of them is retiring after a beautiful career with us! — but that leaves me uncertain about hiring. They’re both leaving in mid-October, which leaves us with only about six weeks before the holiday season cuts into working hours. We also close our offices between Christmas and New Year, which includes paid leave for the whole team, so we’d have to pay each new employee for that time, even if they’ve only been working for a week or two. Am I crazy to try to fill these positions before 2023?  

-Holiday Stressed


Dear H.S.,

While there’s never a right time to find yourself with an open position, you’re absolutely right that hiring right before the holidays is extra tough. On the one hand, most of us are busier than ever in the fall, so it’s a lot to ask your remaining employees to pick up the extra slack. On the other, if you do hire someone, will you even start training them before 2023? There’s no right answer here, but there are several options to consider when holiday hiring:

Option 1: Hire a temp! Depending on the roles, using a staffing agency to fill these spots temporarily could buy you some time until you can dive into searching in the New Year. You could also consider a temp-to-hire position, offering a candidate the position for the weeks leading up to when you close your offices (which is an amazing perk, by the way!), with a potential to go full-time when you’re all back in January 2023. This should cut down on your time-to-fill and spare your employees from too much additional work.

Option 2: Talk to your team. I’m a big believer in companies openly communicating with their employees, and it sounds like your company culture is spot-on — you’ve held onto an employee until retirement! So, if you’re really not sure what to do, why not sit down with the employees who are affected by these changes? Explain your concerns about hiring now versus later, then ask what they think. They know the work better than anyone and might surprise you with a solution you haven’t considered!

Option 3: Adjust your 2022 goals and expectations. Things happen, and the best goals are flexible enough to adapt. Are there any project deadlines you can push? What about taking a few lower priority projects off current employees’ plates, so they can step in on some of the exiting employees’ higher priority projects? I’d suggest actually putting pen to paper (or marker to whiteboard) to map out your “must get dones,” “nice to get dones,” and “fine until 2023s.” Then, talk to your team about what’s changing!

Whatever you choose, make sure to communicate how much you value your team and that this situation is only temporary. You don’t want them to feel like you’re avoiding replacing these employees forever — just until you all come back from the holidays rested and refreshed!

Best of luck & happy holiday hiring!


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We’ll be back soon with our next installment. Don’t forget to submit your own question, or read our other previous answers in our Ask the Hiring Boss series!

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Ask the Hiring Boss: How do I give employees critical feedback without affecting our retention?

Ask the Hiring Boss: What is the most important recruiting metric I should be tracking?