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When is the best time to hire more staff?

Running a business can be challenging at the best of times, and a large part of this is managing your workforce. Knowing the best time to recruit new staff is difficult and can often come as part of a balancing act. Recruiting can be both expensive and time-consuming and this can often result in some hesitation, so before you start looking to replace employees or add new ones look at your staffing needs in relation to the goals of your business.

Throughout the year there are peaks in the number of candidates applying for jobs as well as lows where there are not as many job seekers. These peaks can be defined by the industry, for example, you are more likely to find more sales representatives leading up to Christmas. This does not mean you should only stick to recruiting in peak periods, you might have more success recruiting during the lows where there is less competition, but it can be something you take advantage of.

There are three main times during the year where the number of job seekers increasing significantly.
The number one time is in January. January brings new meaning to the Monday blues. The Christmas period and of course New year can force people to reevaluate their entire lives. We have all heard the phrase “new year new me”, mostly applied to starting a new fitness regime or joining a gym but it also applies to job seekers and their careers. Therefore, in the UK, January experiences a rise in registrations for job boards, applications, and calls to recruiters. Another substantial rise is in the activity of passive candidates. Passive candidates hold the monopoly of the job seekers market, they account for 75%, and during January they become more active and potentially more easily swayed to leave their current position.

The second peak time for job seekers, particularly savvy job seekers, is around March and April.  March/April usually means the end of the financial year for a lot of businesses. This can mean a fresh budget and even more reason to recruit after reviewing the financial year past. If more businesses have gained a larger budget to recruit, then we will see a rise in job adverts. This will attract candidates and as a direct impact of advertisements, we see a rise in people applying for jobs. Even if your financial year does not end in March or April it is still a good time to recruit as there will be a larger candidate pool.

Another peak time for recruitment is during September.
Similar to January,  many are returning to work from a period of rest or relaxation. Post-holiday blues can cause a deterioration in mood and lead to candidates wondering if they can make another 12 months until their next holiday. People often use this time to take a step back and think if their current role is really for them. 

All the above applies, but it might be the best time to recruit right now.
Due to the devastating effects of the global pandemic businesses are running on reduced costs due to reduced staff, there are people on furlough and there are people that have lost their jobs altogether. While many businesses may have had to put a hold on recruitment, those who are looking to expand could find that now is a surprisingly good time to recruit. Several factors will contribute to this. Many people out of work mean a larger candidate pool. The passive market may not be so passive due to so much uncertainty surrounding job security, or fear of redundancy. It might be easier to draw candidates away from their current roles. Another factor is the shorter recruitment process. With less notice to give, virtual hiring, and remote onboarding the whole recruitment cycle has been streamlined and will save time and money.