When is a Good Time to Look for a New Project Manager?

A recent anecdote, recounted by a colleague, highlighted how little energy can be put into resource management in project organisations.  In the worst extremes this results in reactive recruitment with little account taken of the timing of the activities.  Where someone leaves or a sudden increase in workload requires an immediate response, hiring managers often have little choice as to when they recruit.

Summer project management recruitmentIn the main we do see some quiet periods, with the summer holidays tending to be one of the main ones.  This is understandable as both hirers and jobseekers (especially those with school age children) are focused on taking time off.

We also see activity spikes just before holidays (is this people clearing their desks?) and then again when the schools are open again.

A common perception is that major holidays – like the summer and Christmas – is a poor time to look for new employees.  Only last week I spoke to a candidate who was accepting that if a new assignment did not come soon she would have to wait until late September when ‘things were back to normal’.  The combination of festivities and annual closing of offices leaves hiring managers and candidates feeling recruitment also takes a break.  Our experience could not be more different!

Historically the second half of the financial year (September – March) is typically our busiest time.  Particularly the lead up to Christmas tends to be very busy.  The cause of this phenomenon may have roots in the impending break and inevitable clearing of desks.  Unused or new budgets may also be a factor although this is hard to tell. Maybe it’s a UK thing, Autumn, Winter and into Spring are our most productive times as a nation?

The perception of the candidate, highlighted above, means that many candidates do not bother to job seek at this time leading to limited competition – a real win-win for proactive candidates.  For organisations this often means it is the cream of the crop that are active, those with a real passion and drive. They are determined to secure the right role, regardless of perceived quieter periods. For hiring managers they are often dealing with committed candidates who are both serious about looking for a new role and have plenty to offer new employees.

Autumn project management recruitmentThe message for hirers at this time of year is – we’re just about to enter the busiest period of recruitment so there are plenty of other organisations that are circling, looking for new talent also.Your competition.

Getting Ready for September

Here are some insights into getting ready for the busiest recruitment period of the year:

  • Be ready with your resource management plans and requirements – know what you need six months out in the future rather than finding yourself short.
  • Make sure your requirements are well researched in terms of the availability of skills in the marketplace and the average salary levels.
  • Be clear about your offering to candidates – always give a good account and aim to treat candidates as you would like to be treated yourself.
  • Be prepared to move quickly (how many organisations miss out on good talent because another organisation has their recruitment processes all set and ready to recruit much more quickly.)
  • Keep going – if it seems quieter in December, don’t stop, good candidates are still out there.

So next week we wave goodbye to August – let’s see which organisations are first out of their traps with their Autumn resourcing plans.


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