Recruitment Cycles: Know the Pattern and Improve Your Chances of Getting Hired

Recruitment cycles come in many different forms. They're the tidal forces of the employment market. Depending on your profession and your situation, you need to know how to read the way the tides are moving.

Recruitment Cycle Factors

There are a lot of environmental and industry sector factors in the job market that can affect recruitment. Your own job's seasonal, industry-based, professional and other factors will spell out your recruitment cycle:

Time of year: Most employers plan hiring, particularly major hiring, on a quarterly basis. With the obvious exceptions of seasonal employment, the business plan and the payroll have to be in sync, and the salary budget prepared. There are also taxation issues during the end of the financial year. The New Year period is considered one of the best hiring seasons in the US.

Industry downturns: Tough economic times can also mean that layoffs are managed on a quarterly basis. This is a "reverse cycle" which can seriously affect employment prospects. Employers tend to be extremely cautious of hiring during downturns, often holding back excessively, because it can involve capital commitments which can cause problems if their markets worsen.

Seasonal job cycles: Some people actually do work four seasonal jobs a year. The advantage is getting good wages in all four peak seasons, but like any job market, these industries can also have major ups and downs affecting employment.

Construction: The construction industry works to its own cycles, often cutting back severely in industry downturns, but hiring much more than other industries in booms. Professionals in the construction industry stay one step ahead, planning the next job well in advance, for that reason.

Retail: Peak hiring cycles for retailers are market driven. The Christmas and holiday periods are the best, but it should be noted that retail is a particularly sensitive area of employment in tough times.

Government jobs: These employment cycles are entirely budget based. Public sector employees can tell just by looking at budget figures if their jobs are at risk. You can tell if the state or Federal governments will be hiring by checking out their payroll estimates. If estimates are down, or static, jobs will be lost, either by attrition or layoffs.

Generational cycles: The modern workplace is retiring whole classes of job, and replacing them with new forms. These are "macro recruitment cycles," extremely relevant to job seekers because of the wide range of opportunities they create. They're particularly important in manufacturing, IT, media, administration and other high participation areas of the job market. They're also the best indicators of future career tracks, very useful for planning training and development. Employers pay a lot of attention to these cycles, because the new jobs are far more productive and cost efficient.

Regional and local cycles: These are easy to spot, and can be used as reliable indicators of your job prospects. If the local economy is down, you'll need to look elsewhere for work. In the US, "boom or bust" regional economics are primary drivers of employment. If you see a downturn coming, or see signs of an industry upswing, do some forward planning. You may be able to find a better job, riding the tides of the job market.