Today I’d like to discuss a very interesting item that anyone who has ever searched for a job has thought about before Job searching and your end of year bonus. “Is now a good time to search” With the holidays near & many passive candidates on the market, but not actively looking, is this actually a good time?
My answer is simple, but not easy. If you are waiting for a high bonus at the end of the year that will be collected at the end of the year & you have no urgent reason to leave your job, then simply wait it out. You do however need to think about a few things…
Am I really going to collect this bonus, or is my employer just dangling a carrot in front of me?
Is the bonus worth staying for?
When am I actually going to collect the bonus. Many companies give out bonuses & announce them in December, but dont actually pay them out until March or April. Keep this in mind?
Why Am I Leaving this position?
I would like to particularly focus on #4. If you are leaving your position for no other reason than salary, ask your manager for a raise. It’s that simple. If the manager says they can not give you what you want, then the door is now open for you to become an active job seeker.
If you are looking to make a move for other reasons however, that can get tricky. If you are looking for a growth situation, or you are having a problem with your manager or co workers, it’s time for you to weigh how much longer your are willing to stay at your current position & if waiting a few more months for a bonus is worth it to you for your quality of life.
The other reason I hear from people often is “My company is not stable” , or ”my company is in financial trouble”, or “My company is outsourcing several jobs & it looks like mine is next.” If this is the case, then we must use logic here. If your company is in financial trouble, unstable, or outsoucing (which means they are trying to save money) how much of a bonus can you really expect, if any. Yes I know there are situations where people get great bonus checks regardless of how the company is doing due to their performance, but this is really the exception & not the rule. If you think that your firm can not afford to keep you for the next year or 2, then you need to start weighing your options regarding your job search.
The other side of this is, if you are waiting for your annual salary / performance review, but still want to look around, what do you do? The simple answer is to communicate. Speak to your manager, ask them how things are going, & if they feel you are on track to hit your goals. This should at least give you a hint of what to expect. Also, you have to take into consideration what percentage of a raise do you want, & is it realistic? If you make a move & accept a new position, there will be financial benefits to do so. It is rare that a current employer can match that salary & full package that a new employer gives you. It is possible, but again it is rare.
This takes me to my next & final thought about this. The age old question “Is now the right time” Being in the recruiting business for over 16 years gives me access to a lot of data & information. My answer to this question is always the same. If you are ready to make a move, jump in with both feet. Every year the pattern is the same. As soon as everyone receives their bonuses, the job boards come alive with resumes & active job seekers. The competition heats up, & many people give up their search until the following year, where the exact same thing happens.
The 4th quarter is a GREAT time to be a job seeker. There are many hiring managers who absolutely need to fill positions by the end of the year, or they will lose budget for them next year. The candidate pool is very thin right now because everyone is in their annual holding pattern. The job seekers that are active right now in the 4th quarter give themselves an amazing advantage. They are the candidates that the manager will interview before the surge. Odds are, if the manager is serious they will get hired way before the holidays & maybe be eligible for the bonus and salary review in the upcoming year. (with a larger base salary as well).
The point I am making is simple. If you want to look for a new position, start right away. You’ll be surprised as to how many options you have RIGHT NOW. Then you can make the call of whether its worth to wait it out for a bonus or review that may or not come at all.
All the Best,