Let’s start with a pretty big spoiler… There isn’t really a ‘best’ time of year!
But… that being said, there are certainly pro’s and con’s of searching the market at different times of year. So we wanted to outline these to ensure you give yourself the biggest chance to secure the best talent for your business!
Before we go onto that, there are a few key things which you should do before even getting to the point of searching, such as:
- Clearly identify the role you’re looking to fill (& draw up a job description to support this)
I know this sounds like a ‘no brainer’ but you’d be surprised how many people have a job title in mind without a clear idea of what this role entails & what ‘success’ will look like in the position.
- Understand who will be the line manager of the hire & agree who will be part of the decision making process
Simple one but the best candidates will move quickly so make sure you’re in the best position to do the exact same!
- From the job spec, identify what are must-haves & what are ‘nice to haves’ from the candidates experience
– Why are they must-haves?
– Is it realistic to find someone with these skills?
Nice to haves:
– Are any of the team able to train someone to gain these skills?
– How much of this time will this training take? How much will that persons time cost?
Now… Onto the title of this article and why you’re here – What are the pro’s & con’s of different times of year when looking to hire the best available talent:
Q1 (January – March) – “New year, new career”
Let us start by saying, this is traditionally the most popular time of year to recruit – both from a candidate and business perspective.
– The market is flooded with candidates
– Whether you operate in the calendar year or financial year – the successful candidate will be able to contribute in both after a short ramp up period
– Everyone is looking for talent so even though the candidate market is flooded, the competition for this talent is at it’s highest!
– Lots of ‘window shoppers’, candidates can make a knee-jerk decision after time off over the Christmas period & then either don’t commit to a new role or they do but leave soon after…
Q2 (April – June) – Graduate’s on the search
After the buzz and craziness of the ‘new year, new career’ job hunters, Q2 can quiet down a little (but not a huge amount) and this is also the time when graduates often start seriously searching for their first ‘proper’ job…
– New financial year for many companies, meaning new budget when the market is slightly less saturated than in January-March
– Arguably the best time to approach graduates – most final exams are in the second half of May or the first couple of weeks of June
– Could have potentially just have missed out on one of the vast amount of candidates moving around in Q1
Q3 (July – September) – Holiday Season
There is a bit of a myth in recruitment that this is the worst time to look for talent however, done correctly, we believe this could in fact be the best time to search for new additions!
– If you plan out your recruitment process well – this is the best time to recruit as:
- Not everyone’s recruiting – you can take advantage of the candidate market not being run passed 101 different roles. Ensuring your brand isn’t diluted at all…
- You can take advantage of other businesses having to wait for their ‘MD’ or ‘SD’ to come back from holiday (as meeting them is part of their process)
- If you’re flexible with your interview process, it’s easy to substitute a face to face meeting for a phone or video call if you want a second opinion from someone who’s out of the office
– Candidates go on holiday as well – so it’s possible to meet a candidate, really like them and then find out they’re shooting off to Dubai before you’re able to book in a 2nd stage.
Q4 (October – December) – Party time
September and the start of Q4 usually see’s another influx of both businesses recruiting & candidates on the market as everyone returns from holiday – shortly followed by Christmas party season.
– Influx of candidates on the market at the start of the quarter!
– When the market starts slowing down, it’s a great time to get candidates (with notice periods) bought in & ready to start in the first week of January
– Sales candidates in particular are often out entertaining clients in the Christmas period which can create difficulties with interview availability.
To conclude, there is no ‘bad time’ to recruit but there are pros, cons and things to consider across the year! We hope this helps your decision making process and if you ever want any further advice or your recruitment strategy, don’t hesitate to contact the Robertson Sumner team anytime…