Kristina FinsethJuly 17, 2017
Topics: Candidate Experience

Here's When Candidates Are Really Looking

If you’ve been in the recruiting world for any length of time, you have probably heard about the worst times to find talent. The summer is impossible, and forget about it around the holidays.

Is this always the case though?

The simple answer is no, but there’s a lot more gray area to it. You really have to ask yourself some questions. What industry is a candidate working in? What level of position is a candidate working in? Are they eligible for year-end bonuses? Is there a bigger demand during a certain time of the year versus another?

Based on these questions, we can start to answer the truly critical question: When are the candidates I’m looking for really looking at new opportunities?

Or, if you’re managing employees, you can sometimes answer another critical question: When are my people looking to jump ship the most?

Here are a few examples.

Bonus Eligible Candidates Let’s be honest. Candidates leave positions for a multitude of reasons – dissatisfaction with management, an increased earning potential, lack of passion for the work they are doing, and so forth. However, if an employee is set to receive an end-of-year bonus in December or January, they aren’t going to jump ship before they’ve gotten that pay out.

These candidates are actually looking for opportunities throughout the fourth quarter (October, November, and December) knowing they won’t be jumping ship until January when they receive their bonus. A large majority of these candidates are going to come from higher level positions in Finance, Technology, Healthcare and Life Sciences.

What I’m saying is that the best time to increase your recruiting efforts for these candidates is in your fourth quarter, hands down.

Retail Candidates Think about it. When does retail get the busiest with a larger abundance of opportunities to make a move? The holidays, of course. Even though retail has a higher level of turnover than other industries, a lot of candidates will stick around until the water is warmer.

These candidates are actually looking for opportunities in the third quarter more than any other time frame. This is the best time for you to increase your messaging, advertising, and overall recruiting efforts to secure retail talent.

Summer Candidates There are quite a few positions, mostly in the educational industry, that rely on summer work to supplement their income. One of the best known summer seasonal employee is your 180-day per year teacher.

These candidates are actually looking for opportunities in the second quarter only. If you are recruiting for a business that relies on summer seasonal employees, this is the best time to start crafting your recruiting efforts to gain the right talent.


These are just a few examples of what to think about when determining the best time to ramp up your recruiting efforts. Candidates may not look to leave their positions until a later date, but their search process will begin the quarter before more often than not.

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