Being in the right place at the right time is crucial when it comes to job hunting—but how can we know when to apply to increase the chance of getting hired?
First of all, we need to understand how the recruitment cycle works. The recruitment cycle is simply a schedule defining when a company starts looking for new employees, and when they aren’t looking to hire. Recruiting managers use recruitment cycles to guide their hiring strategies, and savvy applicants who pay attention to these cycles can use them to know when to apply—but there is more to it than just following a cycle.
How to apply at the right time
The question “when it is the best time to look for a job?” cannot be answered universally—there is no definitive best time to apply. However, recruitment trends and job searching tips can offer insight. In this article, we’ll go over how companies typically run their recruitment cycles each season, then offer some advice on how to be prepared when the time comes to apply.
Winter is a great time for upskilling and reskilling, but not for applying to jobs. Avoid applying during winter since companies use this time to rebalance their budgets as the year comes to an end. Companies tend to spend winter focusing on other things they need to accomplish before another fiscal year ends.
Also, during December many HR departments and recruiting staff face budget limitations, so they may not have the resources to hire new employees. These factors, plus the holiday vacations many employees take during this time of year, means that companies do not offer many jobs in the colder months—unless it is an emergency.
In the spring, the hiring process is more robust than it is in the winter, so you can expect more opportunities. Spring is the time when students are nearing the end of the school year, so companies are eager to grab the best soon-to-be graduates, offering them training and jobs for positions that are hard to fill.
As early as January or February, companies start looking for new talent that could contribute to the company in the year ahead. Therefore, you can expect to see a wider range of job offers. As the new fiscal year begins in January, accountants and financial managers are in high demand. Also, as winter ends, the construction, tourism, and hospitality industries start to bloom, which means more open positions.
The summer is a convenient time to start a new job, especially a catering or tourism job. Schools, museums, amusement parks, country clubs, and arcades are also packed with the job vacancies in the summertime, so it’s the best time to apply for such jobs. Still, this does not mean you cannot get a job in the IT sector during the summer—it’s just that some jobs are more frequently available during this time of year. At the same time, summer is prime time for travel and leisure, especially when it comes to office-bound fields such as IT, so expect that many recruiting managers will be out of office for some time. If you are looking for a teaching job, keep in mind that the school job searches start in summer, when class is not in session.
There is no huge demand for job applicants in autumn, but many companies use this season to focus on filling out remaining positions if there are any. It’s the time of year when employees come back from summer holidays and starting to get reacclimated to their jobs. All companies are equipped and geared up for the winter and they do not typically think of hiring new people to join their already-formed teams.
However, if some positions are not filled due to a lack of applicants or because there were previously no good candidates, you can expect to see job vacancies. If you’re lucky, you may happen to be one of the workers that a company needs to hire before the final quarter of the year begins.
In order to apply at the right time, you need to stay updated on companies, news, and recruiting processes. This means more than just having a CV or resume at the ready—you must also know which companies are looking to hire. Stay informed by reading about your industry and you will know when recruiting season is at its peak. There are several places to look for news and many things worth knowing—follow these guidelines to increase your chances of getting hired.
Know industry recruitment cycles
Recruitment cycles are specific to each industry, so you should find out the best time to apply for a job in your industry specifically.
For example, January is the perfect time to apply to finance jobs, as companies usually need reinforcement to keep the company's financial goals and objectives up to date in the new year. You can expect to see a lot of job offers in finance departments from the beginning of January to the end of April.
The summertime (from June to September) is a great time to apply for jobs at schools and universities. As the school year ends, schools want to secure professors or teachers for all subjects. If an employee quits, a school will look to replace them with the new candidate over the summer. Summer is also great for overseas jobs. Recruiters look for and prepare candidates in the summer so they are ready for autumn when most overseas job contracts start.
Stay up-to-date on industry demands and trends
As someone who is looking for a job, you need to keep up with the latest news and trends to know when you should apply. For example, if you read that there is a huge real estate construction demand, it is natural to expect that the industry will need to hire a lot of workers. You would not know that if you had not been following the news and trends. So, keep up with the latest trends to ensure that you are aware of job demand in your industry.
You can also ask people that work in specific industries about the recruitment process at their job. For example, let’s say you want to work in the auto industry and you have a friend who works at Mercedes-Benz. That friend may know the most appropriate time for job applications as they know how things work and flow at their company and similar companies. So, it might not be a bad idea to speak to a friend about the best time to apply for a job if they work in an industry you want to get into. Of course, no one can give you the exact time or details, but guidance can mean a lot.
Companies hire workers as they grow and require more people to operate. Reading the news and industry-related magazines is the best way to ensure that you are well-informed about future job openings. The hiring process starts as soon as a company decides that it needs more skilled workers, so their recruiting efforts may begin even without any official press release or job posting. If you’ve been keeping up with industry news know when to apply ahead of the pack.
Look for social media announcements
These days, businesses use modern methods to communicate with the public—many companies and enterprises announce job openings via social media channels. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are the perfect sources of job information, so be active on these social media platforms and you’ll be the first to hear about job postings. Make sure you routinely scroll all the latest news on the feed of the company that you want to work for in order not to miss any job ads.
Thanks to social media, we know what is going on in any given company. Social media is practically a requirement in order to be a transparent company. The majority of companies use social media to let people know about their work and progress, so as soon as you notice that a company announced the expansion of their team, you can expect new job vacancies to be opened.
Prepare yourself during summer
As you learned earlier, summertime is the perfect time for some specific jobs, like hospitality and school jobs. However, if you aren’t looking for a job in these industries, you can prepare yourself for future job application opportunities.
Applying to jobs even during hiring downtime makes you more prepared and ready for the hight of the hiring season. Although the majority of jobs are not typically available during this time, you may still find a decent selection of opportunities. However, it is very likely that you will not get a call back about your application until autumn, as many hiring managers are on holiday during the summer. It is not called summer vacation for anything, isn’t it?
Timing is important in many facets of life, from sports to comedy, but in your job search it is especially important. Good or bad timing can make or break your chance at your dream job, so make sure you’ve done your research and are ready to apply at the right time for your industry.
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Jennifer Broflowski is an expert on tech and finance topics who has been in the industry for more than 10 years. She is also the editor of the
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