At the beginning of the year, I find myself having this conversation with candidates and potential job seekers daily, so I thought I would share my knowledge and experience. If you are in the market for a new job, this may help with setting your expectations. In general, this is how the recruiting calendar works in the agency and consulting industry.
Q1 - This is a time for internal planning activity in agencies. Financial forecasts are finalized. Agencies are getting annual client plans approved and signed. Internal staff plans are created in order to deliver client work, which includes internal people shuffling and identifying missing skills or levels needed to complete the work. Performance reviews are under way. As a job seeker, set your expectations accordingly. This is the time of year to network and start targeting your job search. Recruiters may be working against some open requisitions, but in general are sourcing and networking themselves. Don't expect immediate results at this time of year.
Q2 - This is when the market shifts and recruiters get busy. Client work is well under way. Staffing plans are final and performance reviews finished. Agencies have identified skill and level gaps that they need to fill by hiring. Raises, promotions, and bonuses are given or not. As a result, employee attrition tends to spike in Q2, leaving open roles and positions. Q2 is one of the best times of the year to start looking for a new job as new jobs open in the market. Make sure to have your resume updated.
Q3 - This continues to be a very busy time for recruiters and agencies. Client projects and plans are in heavy execution mode towards Q4. As a job seeker, Spring and Summer are an opportune time for making a career move. The market should be hot this time of the year!
Q4 - Towards the beginning of Q4 there will be continued hiring, but as the holidays approach, recruiting tends to slow down. This is not an ideal time to network as everyone is finishing their year end work and getting ready for holiday vacations, so asking for additional time can be challenging. If you find yourself in the job market, this is a good time to take a breath, regroup, and create your job search plan.
If you are considering a job change in the beginning of the year, think about getting your resume, LinkedIn profile, Social Media presence and referrals updated. Look at industry trends for the year, and create some target company lists you may want to consider. Then, get out there and actively start to network. Q2 will be here before you know it!