You may already know that according to data from the recruiting industry, January is the top month for placing candidates in new jobs. But did you know that the vast majority of those candidates began the application and interview process as early as September or October of the previous year?

It’s no secret that January is a huge month for hiring across many industries, but many candidates procrastinate their search until after the holiday season thinking that January is a good time to start. Not only is this a bad strategy, but it will put you at a significant disadvantage to candidates who started applying sooner and could already be on a second or third interview by the time you even get to your first!

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Employers and recruiters both report lower rates of candidates applying to job postings in November and December as well, which can also give you a huge advantage in that you are competing with less candidates by entering the process earlier. By getting that early start on other candidates competing for the same job, you are in essence getting a boost to your candidate quality score in the eyes of recruiters and HR professionals.

Don’t make the mistake that most job seekers make by underestimating the time it takes to go through the interview process, get an offer, and set a start date. Press hard now, and you’ll be glad you did. If you can secure an offer before the holiday season, most likely you’ll have a start date somewhere around the second week of January based on hiring data for January new hires. If you do choose to wait until November, December or January to begin the search, just keep in mind that you could delay a successful start date until February, March or even April depending on the company.

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