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When is the best time to look for a new job?

Oftentimes, unfortunately, we do not always get to choose when we are looking for a new job. If you lose your job due to unforeseen circumstances, you simply have to make the best of the situation.

But what if you are entering the job market strategically? When is the job market most favorable for those looking to make a move? What are the factors that influence the hiring market?

Many factors affect the job market. It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Those factors include things like a recession, a steep drop in the stock market or political upheaval/war. Any of these can cause the job market to slow substantially or grind to a near halt. For our purposes, we will concentrate on the areas that we can predict and therefore take full advantage

Let’s look at this question in reverse. When are the worst times to be looking for a new job?

  1. November/December:
    The end of the year is not necessarily a bad time to interview for networking purposes, but don’t count on getting an offer. The fact is that most companies are limiting their hiring due to year-end budget constraints and simply do not have the money to hire a new employee. Even the companies that interview people during this time-period are often just “window shopping”, with no intent on hiring immediately. They are simply looking at the talent in the marketplace for when they can hire someone, or picking the brains of people in their industry.
  2. Summertime:
    The summertime represents another tough time to get a job. This one has more to do with factors outside of the office. Most permanent hires require more than one interview and contract positions are becoming increasingly detailed processes as well. Summertime is vacation time. Coordinating HR, Management, Technical SMEs and anyone else involved in the decision-making process can be very difficult. Often it will drag the hiring cycle out for a month or more and when the process runs that long any number of things can pop up that cause the job to go on hold and simply lose priority internally.

So when is a good time to look for work?

  1. January/February
    New budgets, new projects, new opportunity! Most departments are newly flush with money and with goals to achieve in the new year. This is the ideal time to get into a new company looking to bring on fresh people with fresh ideas. Contractors and Permanent Employees are both in demand at the beginning of the year.
  2. Spring
    The market is generally strong from the beginning of the year until the beginning of summer. From the candidate’s perspective, it is a good time as well. Bonuses are usually given out in January and February which should give you a good idea of your worth to your company and whether it makes sense to go looking for greener pastures.

If you are looking for a new professional opportunity, you want to make sure that you stack the odds in your favor. Something as simple as timing can be the first block in that stack. Set yourself up for success by looking when the market is in your favor.

– Brian Tarsi

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