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Is Summer a Good Time of Year to Hire?

In Hiring Strategy — by Dave Anderson

summer-hiring-trends

Just like the weather, hiring trends change with the seasons. The new year tends to start with a bang as many companies have a fresh budget to spend. The fall months are also regarded as a peak hiring season before slowing down during the winter holiday season. And spring is generally viewed as a consistent but not overly-busy time of year to hire.

But what about summer? Like life in general, the warm and sunny months are a relaxed time of year when it comes to finding new employees. In fact, summer is often said to be the worst time of year for companies to hire. Let’s explore why.

Summer is for vacation and relaxation

The major reason hiring slows down in the summer is because both job seekers and hiring decision makers go on vacation and get outside after work. Recruiters tend to believe talented professionals aren’t looking for new opportunities during their free time. They’re likely spending their evenings or weekends outdoors rather than checking out job boards or careers websites to see what’s available.

The vacation season also makes it difficult for companies to assemble a successful interview team. It’s a good idea to have candidates meet with the hiring manager, potential team members, a senior manager and maybe even someone from an outside team during interviews. But scheduling an interview on a day everyone is available is already hard enough – and becomes even more difficult when employees are away from the office for extended periods of time.

Many businesses slow down in general during the summer so it makes sense that hiring falls into a lull too. Unless there is an urgent need to fill a position, many recruiters and hiring managers opt to be patient until September.

Depends on the industry

Of course, not all industries slow down during the summer. There are many hospitality and tourism businesses that serve all the vacationing white-collar professionals and their families. These companies temporarily expand their summer staffs in anticipation of the peak business months.

Most hospitality and tourism businesses strive to be entirely staffed up by the start of summer or even late spring. According to a survey from CareerBuilder, 31 percent of summer seasonal employers complete their hiring before May, 34 percent finish during May, 20 percent finish during June and the remaining spread hiring out through the season.

Front-loading hiring before the busy season takes off sets the business up to train and prepare its new hires while it’s slow. It also allows them to focus on their primary operations during busy months instead of devoting resources to interviews and onboarding.

Go against the grain

Even though summer is commonly viewed as the worst time of year to hire, a strong case can be made that companies shouldn’t pump the breaks from June through August. Contrarian thinking is often rewarded in business and a great candidate can be landed while everyone else sits on the sidelines.

Urgency is typically important when hiring but a slow yet active approach can pay off during the summer. Many professionals are distracted by the nice weather but it doesn’t mean no one is looking at job boards or careers websites. Consider posting an opening and collecting applications for a week or two longer than you normally would so you don’t miss out on a potentially great candidate.

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It’s also fine to extend the interview stage longer than your company usually takes. Just be sure to let candidates know what your timeline is and keep them updated throughout the process. If someone on your hiring team is away, simply send an email letting the candidate know and promise to follow up when they return.

Since summer is a slow hiring season, chances are slim you’ll lose a talented candidate to another company so don’t be afraid to take your time.