Are there specific months where there is turnover in the consulting industry and thus, more openings at firms? For example, in IB, the months post-bonus during the Spring are popular off-cycle recruitment times.
When are the best months to interview?
It depends on the office, role, economy, etc. So there is no one definitive answer.
I agree to Vlad and Guennael. It heavily depends on a firm as well: Bain normally checks CVs three times a year - each season, except summer; McKinsey and BCG hire all the year around.
All the best,
Firms expect the turnover, so what you really want to know is when the turnover is higher than they expect :)
As usual, "it depends". In particular, it depends if you are undergrad or grad (or experienced hire), applying to internship or full time. Not knowing what you'd answer on any of these and if I had to pick a date for you though, I'd probably say August or September, at the beginning of peak recruiting season
I agree with the other experts that the answer depends a lot by the office and company internal situation. Having said that, there are some traditional periods for recruiting. I will refer to Europe/US for the following; the calendar should be moved accordingly in other geographies to take into account the equivalent of Summer/Winter breaks.
- For new graduates, usual starting dates in Europe/US are September and January. Statistically, many interviews take place in September-November (January intake) and January-March (September intake). The best period to apply as a new graduate is the first month of the period when interviews take place or right before then, since the process just reopened and you will have less competition. Thus, that would be August/September for the January intake, and December/January for the September intake. Having said that, you should check for the specific deadlines of the programme you are interested in, as they may vary by country. The best period may also depend on on-campus recruiting, which is usually in September-October and/or in January-February.
- If you are not applying as a new graduate, there may be a different timeline. For summer internships you can apply as early as September/October for the year after (here as well, the earlier, the better for competition). For experienced hire positions you can apply through the whole year, as the demand for that will depend on specific projects (ideally, still avoiding July and August for the summer break). In some countries, bonuses may have an influence on the period when to apply as an experienced hire, as more people than usual may leave after receiving them (usually in March); thus the firm may have a lack of experienced consultants right after that and increase intakes.
As an additional point, if you are applying through a referral in that office (strongly recommended), it would be very useful to ask to the internal contact what’s the current situation in terms of recruiting – sometimes even if in the “correct” window recruiting stalls due to lack of projects.
As general tips:
- Try to stick to the standard application window (first months in the window are preferred)
- If you are applying close to a recruiting window, be sure to start the preparation in advance - you may not have much time after you are called for an interview
- If you have contacts inside the firm for that office, ask them what it is the current status for recruiting, in order to avoid to apply in periods of low need
Hope this helps,