Every organization has their own recruiting process and timeline. 

How will you know when the companies you’re interested in are hiring? Does hiring for the industry you’d like to join follow a specific timeline, or can opportunities come up at any time? While finding out this information may seem daunting, doing a bit of targeted research will go a long way.

Types of Hiring Practices

There are two main types of recruiting, “as-needed” and structured.

As-Needed Hiring

Many organizations hire on an “as-needed” basis, which means that they post jobs as they become available (rather than on a set schedule). This style of hiring is common at smaller companies and across many industries.

The timeline from posting to offer can vary. It generally takes about 4–12 weeks for a company to post a position, review applications, and conduct interviews.

Structured Hiring at large organizations

Large organizations in any industry are an exception to the general “as-needed” rule.

These employers typically recruit for full-time, entry level hires (and in some cases, summer interns) in the summer or during the Fall semester of a candidate’s final year. They are usually hiring large groups or “classes” of recent graduates, rather than hiring for a single position. This style of recruiting generally implies a specific start date, when the entire group of new hires will start. These companies often recruit on campus at Columbia and other universities.

Often times, these organizations will also use a “pipeline hiring strategy.” This means that they will look to the pool of interns who worked with them over the summer to fill these full-time, entry-level classes. You will still (in most cases) be able to apply for a full-time role if you didn’t intern with a company, but the process will be more competitive.

Other large organizations may offer special rotational or leadership development programs. These programs last for a year or two, and allow you to train with more than one department, according to a pre-determined timeline.

Learn How Your Industry Recruits

You can use several strategies for understanding recruitment practices in your industry of interest:

Employer Research

Identify specific companies that you’re interested in early on, and research their application deadlines to avoid missing out.

One way you can do this is by reviewing the company careers page or student portal. Some programs or opportunities may have cyclical deadlines that you can keep on your radar. It may also be helpful to sign up for career alerts through their website or set a calendar reminder to check back regularly for new postings or changes in recruiting timelines.

Connecting with employers through networking events such as career fairs, industry showcases, or information sessions, whether online or in-person, can also be a great way to learn what the employer has in store for the current year.

We also recommend checking out employer-specific insights on our Insider Info page, which collects information from our meetings and calls with employers.

Industry Research

Review our Industry Pages, including insights from our recruiting events and online resources, for industry-specific information on recruiting timelines.

Our Industry Showcases, industry-specific networking events that take place throughout the school year, are also a great way to learn about recruiting practices within a given industry. These showcases are scheduled to align with the general recruiting timelines in that industry.

Where to Find Opportunities

Company Websites

Some companies will only post job openings on their websites. These employers are looking for candidates who took the time to seek out opportunities at their organization.

On-Campus Recruiting

Some companies come to Columbia through On-Campus Recruiting (OCR), to find candidates for internships and full-time jobs. Make sure you favorite your employers of interest in LionSHARE and turn on your LionSHARE notifications so you can learn when they are coming to campus, post jobs, or invite you for an interview.

Networking and Referrals

Other employers don’t post opportunities at all. They instead ask their employees or professional contacts to recommend candidates that might be a good fit. Networking is the key to uncovering these “hidden” opportunities. Even if you’re applying to a posted position, building professional relationships with your employers of interest is often crucial. Across most industries, in fact, the majority of jobs are filled by referrals.

Using Job Boards

The strategic use of online job boards can also lead to success. LionSHARE and industry-specific job boards will help you look for companies that you’re interested in and allow you to apply to jobs.

Creating a Standout Application

With any application, think critically about why you are interested in a job, and tailor your resume and cover letter every time you apply using the research you’ve done about the industry and organization. We’ve compiled a variety of research strategies to get you started.

Sending out a large number of applications with a generic resume may seem like a tempting shortcut, but it will not pay off. Recruiters can tell if you’ve done this, and they do not consider applicants that can’t show how their skills match up with the organization’s requirements.

Research and Preparation

For most people, regardless of their experience level, a typical job search can take 3–9 months. It’s important to start preparing your search early to avoid burning yourself out.

Meet with a counselor, develop a plan, and find out how the companies you’d like to work for recruit. Learn about the resources and support that we can provide in the job search process, like on-campus recruitingcareer fairs and networking events, and workshops. We look forward to working with you!