December can make normally stable people insane with holiday shopping, family get-togethers, vacations and end-of-year business commitments. Add a flurry of hiring activity--due to anxiety over use-it-or-lose-it headcount policies--and you're sure to want to step in front of a snowplow.

IT leaders say the problem is that the end-of-year rush leads to poor hiring decisions.

Rusty Patel, former CIO of VWR International, a $4 billion global laboratory supplier, shied away from the use-it-or-lose-it practice. "We certainly vacillated from time to time, as most companies do, regarding the affordability of the hire within a given time frame, such as a quarter. But once we decided we wanted to make the investment in new talent, we moved forward deliberately."

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