Answer: While most hiring managers think their timetable to complete a search is unique, it is subject to the realities of when decision-makers have time to complete the process and extend an offer. There really is a cycle. Here is a blog post about activities for the months of January and February which is the start of the primary annual hiring cycle.
CALENDAR – January & February.
EVENTS – Martin Luther King Holiday on the third Monday in January and for the Tech Sector, the Consumer Electronics Show from January 9th-12th; President’s Day on the third Monday in February.
January 1st, the New Year, time for a fresh start—or are you already late?
The answer is you are not too late but you need to be ready to respond to opportunities—and that preparation is what you should have completed by mid-January. It could easily have taken you 2-months to carefully define what you are seeking in terms of challenge and total compensation.
The first two quarters of the New Year (January through early June) are the most productive to fill first-round senior-level positions. (There is a domino effect for second round replacement hires as well, that starts during the second quarter.) In January resignations take effect, senior officers retire and leave during the holiday season, and the hiring team postpones any active recruiting until the New Year. The expectation is that the hiring process will begin the first full week in January. That is not what happens.
More likely, it will take the hiring team several weeks to decide upon a job description and come to an agreement about the qualifications and the ideal candidate they hope to find. They often will retain a search firm that will want to speak with several leaders. Often the job description will be adjusted, and an outline of the project will be written and approved. It is likely that the outreach and external search work will start in late February.
What should a job seeker be doing? Pay attention to announcements in the trades, on industry blogs and track sources that quickly report leadership shuffles at major companies. Reach out to senior Human Resource officers there via LinkedIn, note the change and your interest—if you are aggressively looking. Otherwise do your homework and reach out to reputable search firms who handle senior assignments. While a search might begin in February, conducting research to learn about a potential opening should begin as soon as you learn about the potential opening.