Many employers schedule their recruiting efforts according to a specific recruitment cycle. The recruitment cycle may be determined by factors such as seasonal needs, graduation cycles of local schools, annual holidays or other pre-determined growth periods. For job seekers, knowing an employer’s recruitment cycles can determine the best time to apply for a job.
What Is a Recruitment Cycle?
A recruitment cycle is usually a large-scale effort by an employer to hire new employees—often new graduates in the industry, seasonal employees or students looking for work during a busy period. A recruitment cycle can happen annually or seasonally, or may be tied to a budget cycle or the presence of key decision makers.
For example, in the case of government hiring, a recruitment cycle may coincide with a fiscal budget, or with a timeline for a large-scale project or initiative. In a corporate setting, a recruitment cycle might occur before key managers go away on vacation or upon their return from holidays.
What Are the Most Common Recruitment Cycles?
The timeframes before and after holidays – namely fall and spring – are typically popular recruitment cycles, particularly for seasonal businesses like tourism, construction and retail, which often require a larger number of employees in December and in the warmer summer months.
Why It’s Important to Understand Recruitment Cycles
An employer’s recruitment cycle is often the best time to apply for a job. The recruitment cycle might make up the bulk of the employer’s annual recruiting efforts, and if you miss the cycle’s deadline, you might not be considered that year. A large-scale recruitment drive means there are more jobs available – improving your chances of getting hired.
However, because large-scale recruitment efforts are often targeted toward the hiring of new graduates or people with more general skills, for highly skilled professionals, it can make more sense to apply outside of a recruitment cycle, when an employer is more concerned about ensuring an appropriate match, as opposed to filling a specific number of positions.
How to Find Out About Employer Recruitment Cycles
If you’re on a campus, check the Career Placement office or get on its e-mail list to receive notices about upcoming employer recruitment cycles. If you’re looking for seasonal work, check the Careers section of your local paper, where many employers advertise hiring fairs. However, if you have a particular company in mind for which you’d like to work, check out its website or give the HR department a call to find out the deadlines for its major recruitment cycles.
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