How Hiring Managers & Candidates Can Capitalize on Hiring Seasons

Timing is everything, right? Whether you’re a company struggling to make the most of your time and money behind job listings or a candidate feeling lost in a job desert, paying attention to hiring seasons and recruitment cycles can make all the difference. If hiring managers plan properly, their job listings have the opportunity to hit at the perfect moment when the market if flush with job seekers. Likewise, candidates can time their applications to when companies are most eager to hire new talent. But how do you know when peak hiring season is or what to do when it hits?

We’ve been in the recruiting and talent placement business for more than 50 years and have gotten to know its rhythms and patterns as well as our morning routine. We want to lend hiring managers and job seekers our familiarity with recruitment cycles so they can both nail their timing and maximize their efforts for the best, long-term placements.

When is Hiring Season?

Peak hiring season can depend greatly on the industry and types of positions for which companies are recruiting. There are jobs available and candidates to fill them all year long, so it would be misleading to tell you that there is one particular time of year that is best to post jobs or send in applications. Rather, we’ll go through each of the different hiring seasons and describe the unique characteristics that you can take advantage of.

Line chart shows how recruiting ebbs and flows depending on the seasons.

Spring Recruitment Season

Most college students complete their degrees during the spring and graduates are launched into the job market in search of the first step in their careers. For companies, that means that the spring hiring season is a great time to post entry level positions or internships. Most spring recruiting begins in March or early April with the goal of making placements by May or June. Hiring managers can get in front of new candidates by attending career events or hosting open interview days throughout the spring.

While most career offices at universities will have prepped students for this hiring season months in advance, that doesn’t mean that post-graduates are the only job seekers that can take advantage of this period in the recruitment cycle. Candidates who are looking for a career change and may be switching industries have more opportunities to find entry level positions with fewer requirements for experience.

Summer Hiring Season

Open positions aren’t non-existant in the summer, but there are a lot of factors that lead to smaller job and candidate pools, and slower hiring timelines. Hiring managers and higher ups often have varying vacation schedules in the summer months that make scheduling interviews tricky. With candidates taking advantage of the warm weather and increased time with family, the situation becomes even more complicated.

Hiring managers should expect fewer applicants to any open positions and the potential for listings to stay open for weeks or even months. Consider limiting any spend on job advertising during the summer. On the other hand, summer is a good time to evaluate the holes that your team may have. Do things fall apart when one team heads out on their annual lake house trip? Perhaps it’s time to recruit for a role that can back up that existing employee. Use these slower months to plan and prep so you can optimize your hiring process when the time is right.

For candidates, understand that response times on applications may take longer and be prepared to offer flexible interview scheduling to make the most of any open time for hiring managers. You can also use summer as a time to work on updating your resume, visit a career counselor, research companies and do some networking that will set you up for better success when hiring season picks up again.

Prepare yourself for hiring season by using slow times to work on resumes, network, and set goals. Woman editing a resume document.

Fall Hiring Trends

School starts up again, the weather takes a turn, and most employees return from their summer vacations. Fall isn’t considered peak hiring season, but hiring turn arounds do tend be faster during this time. Hiring managers have the chance to complete their recruiting and hiring process for positions opened during the summer. And for organizations that are big on planning ahead, recruiters may begin searching for candidates to fill roles intended for the new year. If they can manage to identify ideal talent or at least narrow their candidate pool before the holidays, they can set themselves up to have new employees start right after the year turns over.

Candidates who are likewise strategizing for the new year and are willing to accept a longer placement time should keep their eyes peeled for opportunities. Make sure to connect with hiring managers on LinkedIn or request an informational interview to put yourself at the top of their minds when new budgets roll out. As the fall progresses, we suggest candidates be cautionary about sending applications right before the holidays, when travel ramps up again and most employers have turned their attention away from business.

Winter Peak Hiring Season

For most industries, a new year means a new budget. Hiring goals that may have been set aside in November and December are picked back up again. Across industries, this gives January and February the highest number of jobs posted in the year. But its not as simple as concluding that these months represent the best opportunities in the recruitment cycles.

Organizations should evaluate their goals for the year and begin recruiting for roles that will help their company grow. They should also be aware that the new year is a popular time for employees to jump ship so they may have more open roles on their hands than expected. Candidates will be in abundance but job boards will also be packed so its a good idea for hiring managers to consider other ways they can get a competitive edge during this busy recruitment season. Advertising your open positions through social platforms or Google Ads can provide increased visibility. And adding the extra power of a third party recruiter can make the difference in networking and speed of hiring when competition for candidates is high.

Job seekers should be armed and ready to spend an increased amount of time writing cover letters, sending applications, and taking interviews during the winter hiring season. It can be stressful and fast paced to be in the market for a new role during this time, but there will be some amazing opportunities available in the winter. It can be helpful to establish a daily or weekly routine that sets aside time for job searching, company research, applications and emailing. You may be up against a crowded candidate pool so remember to leverage the things that make you unique and don’t lose momentum if the winter peak hiring season ends before you find a job.

Viewing Recruitment Cycles from all Angles

We know by now that every hiring season is unique. What this means is that no matter what time of year you are opening up or trying to find a new job, there are specific strategies and trends you can be aware of to make your next job placement a success. We also want to emphasize that attention to hiring seasons is not just useful to job seekers. Organizations and hiring managers can also use information about recruitment cycles in their industry to better plan their hiring campaigns and spend their time and energy more wisely.

Speaking of industries, if you’re looking for more specific advice on hiring seasons for insurance and financial services, we’re your ladies! We know the recruitment cycles like the backs of our hands and are happy to be your set of eyes and ears in time sensitive hiring trends. Just reach out to us with any questions or needs and we’ll get you and your hiring team on the right schedule.

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