Why Wait Until Next Year? Hiring for Q4 is Hotter Than You Think

Chris Allaire
Chris Allaire

Just about every article offering advice about when to look for a job tells you to avoid November and December. As the holidays approach, there are fewer and fewer openings. Human resources teams stop scheduling interviews. You might as well wait to start your job search until the new year.

Except that none of the above is true. In a normal year, October, November, and December are great times to look for a job in the tech industry. And in 2021, there’s never been a hotter job market than right now.

How hot is it? Experts say that we are currently in one of the “hottest tech job markets since the dot-com era.”

As I wrote earlier this summer, the number of listings for tech jobs, especially top-level talent — keeps rising. The tech sector added 26,800 jobs in August, more than any other month in 2021. The number of jobs now exceeds its pre-pandemic peak in March of 2020.

At Averity, we are being asked to fill tons of openings for Back-End Engineers — so many that we can barely keep up with the demand. We’re seeing a huge rise in listings for Data Scientists, Machine Learning Engineers, and Data Engineers as well. And if you have experience in specialties like DevOps, DevSecOps, or SRE, you have your choice of open positions.

What I’m saying is that if you’re in the market for a new job, or even if you’ve been thinking about testing out the waters, the time to do it is right now.

Reasons to start your search right now

Contrary to popular belief, it’s never been true that the last quarter of the year is a bad time to start a job search. An analysis of more than 10 years of data shows that October and November have a higher than average number of job listings.

Positions that are open in Q4 are often those that fulfill business-critical functions in an organization. For most companies, this includes key jobs in the tech department. When companies find a qualified candidate for these jobs, they are often quick to seal the deal.

Toward the end of the year, companies know exactly how much money they have to spend on new positions. They are often eager to make their last few hires before the close of the calendar year because they risk losing that position in the next year’s budget. 

Reasons not to wait until January

It’s true that there’s often a dramatic increase in job listings in the beginning of the year, but the numbers are a little deceiving. Part of the reason is because comparatively fewer new hires are made in December. In addition, many people choose to leave their current job in January so that they don’t miss out on an end-of-the-year bonus. Those newly open jobs are posted in February and March.

The biggest reason for not waiting until January to start your job search is because everyone else does, too. There are more job listings, but also more competition. Your chances for landing your dream job actually start to diminish after the beginning of the new year.

In Q4, talented engineers have a lot more leverage. When competitors flood the job market after the first of the year, they lose much of the leverage they would have had in terms of negotiating salary, benefits, and much more simply because the supply of candidates went up. 

When you’re looking for a job in Q4, here are a couple of things that you should keep in the back of your mind:

Be ready to pull the trigger. As I mentioned above, companies with open jobs in the last quarter are usually eager to make a hire. Don’t take too long to make up your mind. If it’s clear that you’re just shopping around, employers are likely to move on quickly to the next candidate.

Keep an eye on your calendar. Before your interview you should know your potential start date, any days you need to be out of the office, and any vacations you already have scheduled. Bring them up during your interview.

Don’t let a bonus stand in the way. If you’re one of those people waiting to receive your annual bonus from your current employer before you give notice, don’t be shy about mentioning that during your interview. If a company wants you bad enough, they are likely to adjust your compensation to reflect any lost bonuses.

Don’t put off the job search because you heard that nobody gets an interview in Q4. This year we’re seeing month-over-month increases in the number of job openings in the tech sector, and we don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.

Chris Allaire
Chris Allaire

Chris is an entrepreneur, pilot, avid golfer, pretty awesome cook, crab cake connoisseur, guitar player, and a proud husband and father. When Chris isn’t playing with his 2 daughters or traveling with his incredible wife, he is recruiting for Open Source Engineers in New York City. His love for recruiting stands just shy of his love for the Boston Red Sox. Chris has almost 20 years of recruiting and staffing experience on a National level with over 10 years in New York City, both contract and full time.

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