Go to Menu The Third Fallacy
By Nick Corcodilos

You've read The Headhunter's Two Fallacies. As the year-end Holidays approach, this special edition of The Headhunter Articles is dedicated to debunking yet another fallacy that may be keeping your job search stuck in low gear.

Fallacy #3: The holidays are not the time to search for a job.

Christmas Eve was not the time for war maneuvers, either, but George Washington creamed the Hessians at Trenton because "no one does business during the holidays". If you're ready to make a change, don't sit out the two weeks before New Year's.

The conventional wisdom is idiotic. Who says, "companies don't make decisions at year end"? Who says, "no one's around"?

This may be the best time to make your drive into the company of your choice. Certain end-of-year phenomena make crossing the Delaware auspicious. Put your resume aside, start thinking about intelligent topics to discuss, and get on the phone now.

Asleep at the wheel
While other job hunters are out of the picture, make your calls to companies and people who aren't being deluged with the regular requests for interviews and information. This is a time of less competition. Capitalize on it!

The switchboard is dead
And the receptionist is bored. With fewer calls coming in, it's easier to strike up a conversation with the person who answers the phones. Ask for information, names, advice, contacts. And get the receptionist's name -- when you call back in a couple of weeks, you won't be a stranger.

I know you're alone
Lots of managers work through the holidays -- and so do lots of their team members. The place is quiet. Nerves are calm. Information is more easily had. A tactful, no-pressure call from you can yield a useful discussion -- and valuable advice and insight.

Do some research, and be prepared to have a smart discussion with the manager you'd like to work for. Try to stick to one subject: the work that you and the person you're calling both do. Do not ask for a job outright -- but do explain that you're considering a job change in the New Year.

"I've heard a lot about you. Your company is one I think I'd want to work in, and I wanted to learn about the organization. By the way, congratulations on winning the XYZ deal. I read about it in ABC magazine."

If the manager responds well, ask if you could stop by in a couple of days for "the cook's tour" and maybe a bite of lunch in the cafeteria. (This approach works best if a company insider refers you to the manager, but it can work regardless.)

The cat's away
The personnel jockeys who stand ready to cut you off at the pass are not there in full force -- if they're there at all. Now's the time to poke around in many areas of the organization, making new contacts without being routed to the HR office.

While many managers are on vacation, lots of "grunts" are busy in their cubicles. These are people who typically don't talk with job hunters. When you get a staff member on the phone, and he tells you the manager is gone, don't leave a message. Have a chat. Ask for his opinion about the company and the department. Ask for advice. You'll be amazed what you'll learn from someone who isn't wary about calls like yours.

In lots of companies, the work slows down and people are also more casual. When you get that discussion going, leverage the calm. Ask for a non-interview.

"I'd like to continue our conversation. I'm going to be in your part of town around noon tomorrow -- would you like to grab a quick lunch?"

This isn't just a way to get in the door. It's a way to meet an insider who can help when you finally get to talk with the hiring manager.

Life is about to be renewed
Managers are putting the old year behind them and they're starting to think about new possibilities. Be there to "blue sky" with them about how you can help their departments take flight in the New Year. In many cases, the budget will be renewed, too. Be first in line to help a busy manager spend some of it.

Changing careers at the same time?
If you are, your job search is a bit more complicated and beyond this article. Learn how to justify to the hiring manager that you're a better hire than your more-experienced competitors by providing a plan that proves you can do the work profitably! More here: How Can I Change Careers?

Beat the crunch
Come January, you'll be one of hundreds of people trying to get the manager's attention. Your resume (and your message) will be mashed at the bottom of a big pile. Washington didn't wait: he charged. Make your move now.

(And have a great Holiday Season!)

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