It's all about TIMING - Recruitment Timeline Overview

The economy has been improving in the last few years, which means that the job market has been getting better.  Even though companies may be looking to hire continuously, the truth is, there are better times to make a move than others. Recruitment is very strategic and rhythmic; job seekers should also take this into consideration and be sure to follow the flow. I'll talk about what the timeline looks like from the recruiting perspective. 

Q1 (January - March)

Q1 is always a big quarter, especially in recruiting industry level candidates. This past Q1, I personally had about 7 friends interview, get job offers, and make the move (about half of them ended up moving up to the Bay Area).  

Industry candidates: Q1 is a great time to kick off your job search because companies often forecast at the beginning of the year, and designate headcount for the remainder of the year. Recruitment efforts are at full blast, so take advantage of this! 

New grads & interns: if you haven't started on your search for a summer internship, you better get on it fast! This is also a busy season for intern recruitment, since most companies will finalize their interns by the end of this quarter (latest), though the strongest interns will have something lined up already at the end of the previous year. New grads should get on it as well (see Q4 section). 

International candidates: If you are an international candidate and want to move to the US, you should be in your interviewing process in the early part of the year (because all paperwork needs to be submitted by April 1st). Some companies have long, extensive interviewing processes, so get started early (see Q4 section). If the company is nimble and can move fast, they should be able to get things done in Q1. 

Note: I've found that if you are relocating, rent does tend to spike up around this time (especially in Bay Area). Just something to keep in mind. Actually, 3 out of the 4 companies that I've worked at all started in Q1! 

Q2 (April - June)

For industry candidates,  Q2 is still a busy season for hiring. I find that the beginning of Q2 is just as busy recruitment wise, but most candidates who are looking to move usually would have accepted something by the end of the quarter. It does tend to slow down a bit during the summer, as employees start taking vacations and perhaps leaving earlier in the day. 

New graduates: New grad recruiting starts to slow down drastically around summertime. Most new grad hires should have been placed by May (latest), and the team is gearing for new hire orientations to start in the summer. In recruiting, there also seems to be a stigma that new grads who don't have jobs lined up after graduation are not as strong, so that's also something to consider! 

Intern candidates:  Internship placements should have been finalized and made by April already, and the HR/Recruiting team should be focused on the program management of these interns. 

Q3 (July - September)

Q3 is an important quarter for university recruiting and new grads. Recruiters normally need to start career fair planning this quarter (for example, which colleges to go to, arrange logistics, order swag, get prepared for the sudden uptick in candidates). For companies like Google, Q3 is the time where interns go through conversion interviews from their previous internships to see whether they will get a return offer. 

New grad candidates: If you are a senior and graduating next year, make sure to attend the career fairs in the fall! Take the time to polish up your resume and interviewing skills sometime in the summer, but definitely make sure you are ready before the career fairs. Be sure to add in your most recent internship experience into your resume (hopefully you gained some experience during the summer). This also applies to interns. 

Q4 (October - December)

The beginning of the quarter tends to be pretty busy (especially for University recruiters), but as the year comes to a close, recruitment tends to slow down during the holidays (Thanksgiving and onward). 

New grad candidates: Focus on your full time job search NOW. A lot of students may think that they have a lot of time and think "why should I interview now when I'm graduating in 9 months? Keep in mind that large companies have general recruitment windows, and the strongest new graduates would have done a majority of their interviews in September/October/November, receiving offers before the end of the year.  Some will continue interviewing in January/February, but I've seen the best candidates usually make their decision before the year end.  This is important to note because if you are a new grad and late to the game, the company may no longer have headcount. 

If you are interviewing with multiple companies, recruiters may try to press you for a decision sooner than you are ready to commit. Check to see if your school has a recruitment policy to push back for more time (for example, MIT's policy states that employers cannot impose exploding offers).

Intern candidates: Interns should also start their search in Q4 as well. Interns usually have the end of Q4 and beginning of Q1 to do their interviews for an internship. 

International candidates: Q4 is a busy time for international recruitment as well, as companies with longer interviewing processes should start their interviewing process early. 

Of course, this could vary from company to company, but this is just the general flow! These are just timeframes for the ups and downs of the recruitment season. If the economy is doing well and strong, industry recruitment should be going strong at all times of the year. Hopefully this is helpful and will give you a better understanding of how timing plays a crucial role in the recruitment process.

Resume Writing 101

[embed][/embed] The dreaded resume. To some, it's a pretty daunting task to update and send it in. To me, I love drafting, editing and finding ways to get it to perfection.  As a recruiter, I've seen a fair share of good and bad resumes.  I wanted to share with you a few tips on resume writing that I hope you will find helpful.

Keep in mind that the resume is the FIRST INITIAL IMPRESSION of yourself, so you really should spend the extra time to triple check everything.   Research shows that recruiters spend about 6 seconds reviewing a resume. Your resume needs to highlight the best parts of your career and leave the reader asking for more. 

General tips and tricks:

  • Keep your resume clean, nicely formatted and to the point. Make sure all the highlight, italics, bold fonts stay consistent.  General rule of thumb is to keep it to one page.  Unless you are super legit and have lots of publications/awards/patents, then its OK to go over. But, remember the recruiter/hiring manager may lose attention and focus trying to reach the end.
  • Don't just make a laundry list of what you do. It's boring and doesn't really tell the reader what makes you special. So why are you special? List your greatest achievements (from strongest to weakest) and quantify your success as much as you can. Use engaging action words as much as you can. 
  • Save your resume as a PDF when you send it in. Sometimes .doc formatting will get screwed up, not only making it hard to read, but also wasting your precious time spent formatting. Lock it in! (If you don't know already, steer away from .txt or other plain word processors, as those are impossible to read through).
  • While you're at it, update your LinkedIn as well. Trust me, you'll get so many more hits when your LinkedIn is current and updated. (Don't have a LinkedIn? Get one now!)
  • If you have industry experience, it's best to lead with that (and leave your education at the bottom).  On the other hand, if you are a new grad, lead with education first.
  • You should always put an "Extracurricular / Miscellaneous" section in your resume. Whether you a International Yo-Yo master, a famous YouTube star, or whatever, include your hobbies. It shows you have a personality outside of work and can be a great conversation starter in interviews.  Also, be sure to include whether you volunteer!
  • PLEASE FRIENDS, leave your full physical address off (keep the city). It might not seem like a big deal, but recruiters can be creepy sometimes (hehe) and might look up your address -- just because. There's really no reason for them to have your actual address (if they need it down the line, they will ask you). Also, your resume might one day float around on the internet, and it's really easy for internet stalkers to trace where you live. No bueno.

Tips that seem like common sense but people miss anyway:

  • Avoid redundancy and repetition. You don't need to tell the reader that "University of California, Los Angeles" is in Los Angeles.  Though, it might be helpful to put in the location if you are in a satellite campus (ex: Wharton SF or CMU Silicon Valley).


  • Stay professional. I know it's tempting to try being cute or witty in order to get attention. See that My Little Resume above? Yeah, you don't want to be that guy. Staying professional is always a safe bet; avoid coming across overly confident, snarky, or witty.
  • Make sure you use a current email address that you check often. This goes more for new grads, who might lose access to their school email address. It might "look cool" to have some email address, but the reader already knows you went to Harvard by reading other parts of your resume. Unless you have an alumni email address that you have access to forever (literally), it's best to put some other (professional) address that you check frequently. Why? Because who knows, maybe a recruiter down the line will be trying to reach you at your expired address (this happened a lot to me when I was at Google).
  • Avoid listing classes and courses, especially if you've been in the workforce for a while. It's a space killer and looks like fluff. For new grads, I would also advise against this (instead, send them a copy of your unofficial transcript).
  • Avoid certifications and awards that are not relevant to what you do. It also looks like fluff, and can hurt you.  At this day and age, no one cares if you are certified in using Microsoft Office. In the SValley, technical certifications (like Oracle/Cisco/Microsoft) don't seem to carry much weight either, especially for the hot tech companies.

To my fellow 15 page views out there (yessss!), thanks for reading! Hang tight for next week, as I will be providing a standard resume template for next time! :)