Is there an ideal time to look for a job?

Is there an ideal time to look for a job?

11 March, 2014

Candidates often ask me if there is a perfect time to look for a job. I’m not sure if I would go so far as to say that there is ever a perfect time to look, but there are definitely better times during the year to get hired and being aware of these trends can help.
Like accountants, the recruitment industry has “busy seasons” and these are typically in the 2nd and 4th quarters. Why? Companies with December 31st year-ends are very busy between January and March as they meet their filing deadlines. The hiring managers rarely have time to have an hour-long lunch, let alone time to conduct interviews. Year-end often blends into Q1 deadlines but things tend to settle down by early to mid-May. Many companies will often then rush to fill spots in their accounting and finance teams before people head off on summer vacation.
The 4th quarter tends to be busy because many companies look to hire in order to be fully staffed before year-end filing deadlines. Often, many young CAs will look to leave public practice in November  or December before their busy seasons commence in January.
These generalizations tend to apply mostly to those in external reporting and audit. Those positions that are more focused in internal audit, tax, or project-based work have different busy times. But in general, for positions requiring 3 – 10 years of experience, the trends detailed above apply.
To note, more strategic and senior positions at the CFO, VP, or Director level do not tend to follow the same timing; one is just as likely to find a CFO opportunity over the holiday season as one would during a filing deadline.
Being aware of these tendencies can help you plan when you should start becoming more active in your career search. It behooves one to always have an ear to the ground and be open minded to opportunities as they come up.

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