Tips From a Headhunter: Should I Bother Job Searching During the Summer?

Rhys Metler, Toronto Sales Recruiter

by Rhys Metler, Toronto Sales Recruiter

Hiring always seems to slow down during the summer months; it’s a trend that’s been here as long as I’ve been a Headhunter and I’m sure for a long time before that, but that doesn’t mean you should wait for September or shy away from pushing forward with finding your next career right now. Here are 4 reasons it can be more challenging to find a new job during the summer season, and 4 strategies you can use to overcome this phenomenon.

Why the Slowdown?

Before you develop your job search strategy, it’s important to understand the reasons why hiring slows down in the summer.

1. Vacations are more common during the summer months.

Vacations are one of the main reasons why hiring decisions may take longer than they normally would. Many parents take advantage of the fact that school is out and plan family holidays, or simply want to take advantage of the warmer weather. Senior managers will often stagger their vacations over the summer, and decisions that would normally take 1-2 weeks can take more than a month.

2. Fiscal Year End can sometimes fall in September or October.

For budgeting purposes, some companies may delay hiring altogether until their new fiscal year begins. Also, some candidates will stay with their current employer until fiscal year end if they qualify for an annual bonus and are required to be employed to receive it.

3. Seasonal Business

Depending on the industry, July and August may not be the ideal time to hire and train new employees. There are organizations that recruit heavily during the spring months and turn their attention to service delivery and execution during summer. For example, the Hospitality and Tourism industries tend to rely on the summer months to boost revenue.

4. Summer Mentality

As Toronto-based recruiters, we know the winter months can be harsh, so why not enjoy the warm and sunny weather while you can? Cottages, holidays, barbecues, and a more enjoyable climate tend to put people in a more relaxed state of mind. For some candidates, job searching becomes less urgent… especially if they are gainfully employed! (What we call in the Recruiter business a ‘passive candidate’.) Some employers may defer their hiring activity to the fall when the talent pool returns to a normal level of motivated candidates.

Which of these apply to your industry? Use that knowledge to craft your…


Summer Job Search Strategies

Summer Job Search Headhunter Tips

1. Manage Your Expectations

If you find yourself targeting a business or industry that slows down in the summer for one of the reasons listed above, instead of becoming frustrated or worried about a longer decision making process, focus on the things you can control. Ask prospective employers to clearly outline the interview process and if they foresee any potential delays due to vacations, etc. Once you understand the timing, you can craft a follow-up system to ensure you stay “top-of-mind” with a hiring manager without becoming a nuisance.  As recruiters with decades of experience we can assure you that constantly calling, emailing and harassing a hiring manager will only hurt your chances. It is best to ask a direct question such as “when can I follow up to discuss next steps?”

2. Stand Out From The Crowd

Many candidates “take their foot off the gas” during July and August and considerably slow down their job hunting efforts. This is an excellent opportunity to network and connect with key hiring managers, while others are waiting for September. Less competition from the available talent pool creates more favourable odds for highly sought after jobs. Check out the Current Job Opportunities section on our site right now and be sure to register for when the jobs heat up again.

3. Sharpen the Saw

Use the hiring slow down as an opportunity to read books and articles that can help you improve your resume writing, interviewing, and networking skills. Research recruiters and recruitment agencies that specialize in your field/industry. Or put your feet up on the patio and read Bruce Powell’s terrific blog post on The Resume Is Dead: Why What’s Important To A Headhunter Is Your Compelling Why. It can be difficult to find time for these little things but they can have a huge impact on finding your next career.

4. Don’t Give Up!

You may see fewer postings on job boards and employer’s websites. Don’t stop sending your resume. There are still many organizations that have urgent hiring needs in the summer. If you take a break for job searching, you may miss out on an awesome career opportunity. Keep with it!

It’s important this time of year to keep in mind the reasons behind the summer hiring slowdown; focus on the opportunity that comes from less competition and don’t take it personally if things move slowly. Remember that many companies are still hiring and it’s in your best interest to create a strategy to keep your job search going full speed ahead. Good luck!


IQ PARTNERS is a Recruitment Agency with offices in Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver, We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. Our recruiters specialize in Marketing, Communications, Consumer Goods & Services, Retail, Sales, Technology, Finance & Accounting, Financial Services, Life Sciences, HR & Operations, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.