The Best Time to Search for Jobs – Recruiting Cycle

If you are not in Human Resources, it is easy to overlook the recruiting “cycle.” There simply are better times to be searching for a job than others, and your timing will greatly impact the time it takes for you to search, apply and interview at various companies. And while every company is different, the recruiting cycle across the U.S. tends to bob and weave at the same time.

Ever Wonder Why There Are Suddenly No Jobs Available?

As a job hunter (become a job-lander already!), there will be weeks or months when you see hundreds of jobs that could be a great match for you and then suddenly, the well seems to dry out. You have applied to every job out there and nothing new seems to be available – at least not in droves like they had in the previous month. Most likely it is because you have hit a dip in the recruiting cycle. I created a fun infographic to help you plan your job-landing activities. Feel free to share it (text version below)!

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Text version of Infographic:

Introduction: Job openings in the U.S. tend to follow the same recruiting life cycle. There are months when you have a better opportunity to landing a job than others, simply due to the number of companies with open positions.

  • January: The worst month to try and find a new job. A new fiscal year is beginning for many people, as well as the performance review year. New goals and projects are being established and employees are coming back from a long break. If the company pays out bonuses, employees will wait around until it is paid out before leaving their current position. Managers do not have a lot of time to dedicate to the interview process… yet.
  • February: Start dialing your contacts and getting your feelers out there. There will not be a ton of openings in February as people are still waiting for their bonuses and goals to be finalized, but now is the time to start reconnecting with your contacts and prospects.
  • March: Game on! You will start seeing a significant increase in job openings in mid- to late-March as employees start seeking new opportunities post-bonus payout and hiring managers realize how much effort their new goals will take to accomplish. Q1 is coming to a close and budgets will be ready to take on new employees. You should already be in the hunt when these positions open up.
  • April: This is your shining month. April through May will be the best months to find the most jobs. People realize the opportunity in other companies and  start comparing their compensation packages. April is key because you are getting in before new graduates hit the market officially, and employees will be eager to welcome in additional help.
  • May: Especially for new grads, this is the season for starting new jobs. Hiring managers are typically rushing to fill these positions before summer as scheduling gets significantly more difficult beginning in June. School is letting out so working parents are reevaluating their priorities which could lead to open positions and recruiters seeking out talent.
  • June: During June, you will see the number of job postings start to dwindle as the summer months begin. And positions that are posted, tend to be unexpected turnover or expansion positions. Hiring managers and recruiters want to fill these as soon as possible, so great follow-up in June can increase your chances of being noticed.
  • July & August: There is no easy way to say this, but July and August are some of the slowest months for new job postings. Why? Hiring managers are slowing down in work production and using their vacation time away from the office. Employees are taking advantage of the slower pace and the opportunity to take time off, before making their next career move. Note: If you are going through the interview process during these months, it will be extremely SLOW.
  • September: You will see more new positions posted in September, but they will most likely be higher level positions. This is an easy time for families to relocate or change jobs to coincide with the beginning of the school year, and hiring managers are under pressure to use their budget dollars before they lose them. But act fast!
  • October: The clock is ticking! This is the last month of the year that you will a significant number of open positions across industries. Trying to ramp up before the new year and also fill any positions that are difficult to recruit for, is critical during this month. Hiring managers want to cross this off their goal lists and have everything set for the upcoming year. As a new employee, you will get a “free quarter” in Q4 to get up to speed before needing to deliver above capacity.
  • November & December: It is extremely difficult for companies to recruit during these months with so many holidays, vacations and year-end madness. You will not see many new positions posted unless they are critical, as most employees will decide to wait out until their next bonus payout at this point. Continue to keep in touch with your contacts and use this season to network at all of the holiday events so you are ready to go at the beginning of the next year.