My friend, the restaurant manager, tells me he knows by mid-morning how well his restaurant will perform that evening.
Preparation is his key. If the food preparation is on schedule, the restaurant will run well that evening. OK, I can't even boil water, but I can predict even further into the future.
I can tell you with near certainty how your January recruiting is going to work out...right now, in mid-December.
Just like in a restaurant, preparation is the key:
Has your open position been approved, or is the approval process happening in January? (My Prediction: If you wait until "January 1" you are really going to first get approved in late January, so you'll start recruiting in February and probably have someone starting in late March")
Have the stakeholders reconciled their differences and agreed on a hiring profile, or are you recruiting with a "Just get me some people. I'll know it when I see it." approach? (My Prediction: You will start seeing candidates in January, debate the profile in February, and maybe make a hire in late March")
Is your salary realistic? Are you using the right title? How do you know what everyone else is paying for the skills you seek? Hint: Salary surveys based on job title are very misleading - unless your skill requirements are the same as all your competitors. (My Prediction: You will start seeing people you think are too expensive, then interview people who are under-qualified, and sometime in late March either decide to pay more or hire someone a bit under-qualified that you have to train.)
Are you recruiting using a job description, or something more interesting? Have you stated a compelling reason why a top performer would want your job? (My Prediction: Your recruiting will drag on with lots of resumes coming in, but nobody worth talking to. Eventually someone barely acceptable will turn up and everyone will reluctantly agree that they are better than leaving the job unfilled. 6 to 12 months later you will regret this decision and about 6 months after that you will push them out and start over.)
How are your going to promote your job? Are you just posting an ad, or just searching the over-used database from some job board? (See above)
What is the timeline you are planning to use for the project - when do you plan to complete your hiring project? Who will be involved in the hiring decision? Who gets a "veto vote" and who just gives you their opinion? (My Prediction: You guessed it, this process will drag on until late March).
Yeah, my ability to predict the future is almost supernatural. Hey, now that we know how your hiring will turn out, would you like to hear my amazing forecast of how you will do on your first quarter goals?