Recruiting Timelines

When should you start applying for jobs? Knowing when your target industry is most likely to be hiring will give you an edge in your job or internship search.

Some industries use forecast hiring: they tend hire well in advance of an anticipated start date. A new employee who will join the company after graduation in May might have a job offer finalized in the fall semester. Job seekers in these areas should plan to apply 8–12 months in advance of their desired start date. Business and finance, consulting, and large tech firms are especially likely to rely on forecast hiring, doing most of their recruiting for both full-time post-graduate jobs and the following summer’s internships in late summer or early fall. (A recent trend in these industries for interns sees recruiting as much as eighteen months in advance of summer opportunities.)

Others industries use “just-in-time” hiring, posting jobs they hope to fill immediately. For organizations following this pattern, the ideal applicant will be available to start as soon as the application and interview process is over. The whole process, from job posting to start date, will be 2–3 months. In these industries, May graduates should plan to start applying in spring. Although you might see jobs posted in the fall, those companies are likely looking for someone to start before you’d be available.

Although organizations may vary, you can use this resource as a general guide to get a sense of when to hit the job or internship market for your area of interest.

To download or print the timelines, view the PDF versions below.