The best time to hook a new employee

Are there seasons in recruitment? Just as there are seasons in nature, there are seasons in recruiting. Most employers are not likely to have given much thought about recruitment seasonality, but it is a real factor and deserves to be given some thought.

For example, the best time to look for sales managers is often after bonus payment time. Accountants are often at their most restless after the end of the financial year. Winemakers start looking for new opportunities after Vintage. Never try and recruit a Winemaker during Vintage, they are up to their gumboots with grapes and have no thought for anything other than fermenting grapes.

Generally speaking the best time of the year to recruit candidates, is after the Christmas/New Year holidays. Many people are particularly restless at that time, having had a relatively long break and plenty of time to take stock of their career. It is the one time of the year when people are more open to a change in employment.

This timing contrasts with the peak time for recruiting new employees which generally corresponds with the start of a new financial year, when new hiring budgets come into force. In fact in city based recruiting there are two seasons for hiring new employees, the first occurs right after the start of a new financial year and the second after the Christmas/New Year break. Recruitment tends to quieten down in the months before Christmas as employers leave off the recruitment process (which is typically 10 – 12 weeks in duration) until late February, early March. Similarly June can be a very quiet month, i.e. few people recruit when they are coming up to the new financial year and new budgets.

Rural recruitment is further affected not just by the season, but by the state of the season. Good rain after a prolonged drought can bring forth a frenzy of recruitment activity.

However trying to pick the best time of the year to recruit can be a somewhat fruitless quest, because many appointments are replacements and generally speaking when you a need to fill a role, you need to fill it regardless of the time of year.  And if you are relying on advertising alone to recruit people, then you are very much in the hands of who is looking at any given time and this is where the seasonality factor comes in.

Recruitment agencies with good specialist industry databases and networks are less prone to this problem, because they can “tap the shoulders” of those who have previously expressed interest in new roles and thus can minimise the problems caused by seasonal variation in advertising response.

Seasonality is a real factor in recruitment and bears consideration to ensure the best outcome for employers and candidates alike.

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