What is the best time to look for a new job?
Last Updated on 15th July 2020 by Freddie Chirgwin-Bell
Now that a new year is upon us, we wanted to tackle a question that many people ask us: What is the best time of year to look for a new job?
We make placements throughout the year, but in our eighteen years working with jobseekers and employers, we have noticed a few things that might be of interest.
New Year, New Job
January, February and March are great times to look for a job. Many companies will be looking at their goals for the year and will identify additional staff that they need to achieve these.
In addition, many companies work on a January to December budget cycle. This means that new hiring budgets become available in January, especially in larger companies with more formal budget structures.
Two more factors make this time of year great for applying. Firstly, senior decision makers do not take as many holiday days at this time of year, meaning that decisions can be made quicker. Secondly, any positions that become available in December may still be open – people will often put things off due to the festive period.
Like a lot of things, hiring is often treated with the attitude of ‘this is something we can start in January’.
There are some exceptions here. For example, teaching positions may run on a different cycle and many retail positions will actually be busiest in December and early January. Despite the exceptions, we believe that the cliche ‘New Year, New Job’ definitely has some significance.
Spring Into A New Career
April and May remain good times to apply for jobs.
The urgency has now changed and people will want to make hiring decisions before the Summer months when there will be people out of the office.
In addition, many industries will need more staff in Summer, particularly the travel and hospitality industries. This may be more relevant for temporary or short term contract work, but it could also be the case for permanent workers.
We believe that April and early May are probably preferable than late May and into June. This is because of the…
The Summer Slowdown
School holidays, long weekends and holidays abroad can cause a problem for jobseekers.
We would never discourage anyone from starting a search for a new job, but it may take a little longer in Summer due to the holidays. Most companies will require input from a few team members and getting them all in the office at the same time can be tricky.
On the other hand, don’t forget that when an opportunity comes up, some potential applicants may also be slowing down for Summer. Whilst the number of roles may decrease, you may have a better chance of landing that perfect job. We certainly recommend keeping one eye open during the Summer, but if you can wait, Autumn may just bring more opportunities.
Autumn Brings Changes
September and October are once again prime times for recruiting.
As people come back to the office they can once again re-focus on hiring staff and the Summer period could have made it even more clear that they need to fill roles or add new people.
In addition, if companies want people in place for the following year, they know that they are running out of time. Assuming it takes six to eight weeks to find the perfect candidate, this is the time to write the job specification and start the search. It may seem early to be planning for the following year, but hiring managers know that it can take a long time to get the right people.
From mid November there is an inevitable slowdown as people start to prepare themselves for the holidays. People start planning their breaks and, as mentioned above, the feeling is often that hiring can wait for the new year.
For larger companies, there is also unlikely to be any hiring budget left at this stage.
However, much like Summer, you can take advantage of the short term needs of businesses at this stage. You may not land the perfect permanent role in December, but there are many industries that need more staff during the holiday period.
There is never a bad time to start
Despite everything we have written above, the truth is that there is never a bad time to start a job search. Jobs become available throughout the year, but hopefully this guide helps you to understand when you have the best chance.
The quieter months could be a great time to write that perfect CV and to start speaking with companies and recruitment agencies. Having a head start will give you an advantage during the busy hiring periods and will make your job search quicker, easier and hopefully more successful.