Hiring & Recruiting Cycles

To effectively plan your search, it is important to know how different industries recruit new employees. Recruiting and hiring cycles are terms that refer to the specific timeframe in which employers begin their search for new employees. These cycles vary by company and industry.

Recruiting Timeline

Undergraduate or Graduate Students Seeking Full-time Employment

The timing of when you will start your full-time job search will be determined by the types of positions you are seeking. Consider using various methods throughout the year before graduation. For more specific guidance please schedule an appointment with a employment specialist at UCS by calling 847-491-3700.

On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) is a key hiring source for many major employers. The OCR program is designed to provide representatives from various organizations a venue to interview current Northwestern University students for positions that begin after graduation. As a convenience to current students, OCR offers an opportunity to interview with employers without leaving campus. For full-time employment OCR will likely be in the Fall Quarter.

CareerCat hosts new listings for available positions daily and is an excellent source for quality employment openings. Some employers do not participate in OCR; however, they may advertise their positions on CareerCat under "Jobs and Internships."

Undergraduate or Graduate Students Seeking Summer Jobs/Internships

For summer positions, some employers will post available opportunities as early as mid-fall quarter of the previous year. Early application submissions are driven by the type of position, location of the position, number of positions available, and number of applicants. Early January is also an active time for employers looking to hire for the summer. While many positions are posted during the fall, some employers are not aware of their hiring needs until later in the year. As a result, their positions are not listed until the spring quarter. Contact a UCS Internship Specialist for assistance with understanding the recruitment cycle for your industry and finding available positions.

Alumni Recruiting and Hiring Cycles

Employers use the term "immediate hires" when recruiting alumni candidates. Available positions are posted on CareerCat. Once jobs are posted, employers typically hope to fill the positions as soon as possible or within 1-3 months. Although all industries and employers have openings throughout the year, there are often hiring peaks and valleys. Hiring trends and the number of jobs available at any given time will depend on economic factors, supply and demand for your field of expertise or interest, geographic considerations, global issues, and industry trends. For alumni who are interested in starting a position in the near future, it is best to allow approximately 3-6 months (or more) for a quality job search. Understand your industry's hiring trends to allow yourself enough time to make good decisions. For more information, contact the UCS Senior Assistant Director for Alumni Career Services.