October signals fall in full swing, a run on holidays, and the beginning of the last three action-packed months of the year. It’s also the beginning of the fourth quarter of the fiscal year for most organizations – a time when many strategy consultants push pause on any thoughts of leaving consulting and sit tight until the beginning of the new year.
A few factors might result in this wait-and-see mentality. Maybe you had a really good year and are expecting a hefty end-of-year bonus that you don’t want to leave on the table. Perhaps you’re waiting to see that last performance review to see whether you’ll earn one last promotion before entering corporate America. Whatever it is, the motivation to stay can be a strong one.
While most consultants may be pushing pause, most corporations are doing the complete opposite: Their hiring authorities are actively interviewing candidates in hopes of locking down top talent now and seeing them start in a few months. The upshot? If your goal is to start a new role in the first few months of 2019, the time to interview is now!
We understand that most consultants would prefer to sit tight, waiting for circumstances or events to change something, but the reality is that they typically don’t change much at all. If you aren’t planning to stay at your firm for another six to 12 months to get time in the seat, then simply gaining a new title with that promotion you’re holding out for likely won’t impact the level of opportunity you can land in your exit strategy. As for that hefty bonus you’re awaiting? Interviewing for a role now doesn’t necessarily mean that you’d be expected to start immediately and need to leave that money on the table. Many employers understand this – especially those with other former consultants on their teams – so they’re willing to be flexible with a delayed start date that enables candidates to close out the year and receive that bonus they earned.
Keep in mind: Finding the right opportunity takes time. We find that it takes two to three months, on average, to find the right opportunity between networking and understanding existing opportunities to completing what can often be an extensive interview process before everyone takes time off for the holidays. Starting your search now can help ensure that you finish the year strong, collect your deserved bonus and take a new and exciting step in your career after enjoying the holidays with family and friends!