Recruitment timeline and what to know before you start applying

Campus recruiting timeline overview   

Each company will decide on their own timeline based on their practice, talent needs and approach of recruiting. You may see different timeline within the same industry, so please plan ahead and designate sufficient time for your research. Think about it as a project, on average from your application to secure an offer, will take about 6 months. Fall (Aug to Oct) is a popular window of campus recruiting, particular for private sector companies. If you are actively searching for a summer internship next year or graduating in 6 to 12 months, you should take advantage of this career fairs happening at this time. 

Strategy Consulting firms: These companies (Bain, McKinsey, BCG, A.T. Kearny) have a very early hiring schedule. The opportunities for next year (both full time and internship) will be posted early summer or even earlier. By middle of summer, companies will wrap up their screening interviews. By Aug, the offers are extended. As it is also very selective, if this is your career aspiration, start your research in the fall, apply as early as possible.  

‘Advanced’ hiring: Larger corporations and employers usually adapt this strategy because of the competition of talents as well as they are able to anticipate their needs earlier in the process. They usually release their next year of internship and full-time hiring opportunities towards end of Aug or early Sep. They will start to host info session, attend campus career fairs in Sep. and Oct. Then on a rolling basis, their interview process follows through Oct to next Feb. The first batch of offer may come out right before Thanksgiving, and through out early Spring. Most of their internship starts in late May or early June, usually it will be 10 to 12 weeks. Pay attention to the program detail so you will not miss the application deadline. It is always a good idea to apply earlier.  

‘As Needed’ or ‘Just in Time’ hiring: Employers across all sectors – for-profit, non-profit, and government – fall into this category. These employers hire when someone leaves or when the company or organization is growing. When positions become available, employers want to fill the opening quickly. If a position becomes available in February, most employers will not be able to hold it open until June when a graduating student is available to begin working. At UF Career Connections Center, we are hosting different types of career fairs and events to serve the needs, please review our events calendar for more details. It is always a good idea to receive updates from the company’s career page, so you will be alerted with appropriate opportunities come out.   

As a lot more companies are using Applicant Tracking System to build up their own talent pool, we do recommend you establishing your talent profile with them and apply the appropriate opportunities as it comes. If there is no specific application deadline highlighted, it usually will be closed as it is filled.  

Typical campus hiring process/steps overview   

Overview of campus hiring process and steps

We have summarized the common 5 stages of hiring process and illustrated as above graphic. Usually, it is Review, Intro Call, Hiring manager interview , Team fit interview and Offer. Based on the job nature and company practices, there are additional interview steps may be added. For example, a lot of tech companies will add Tech Interview, consulting firms usually will add case study, some FMCG companies would add occupational online assessment after the Intro call.  Understand the expected process/steps will help you prepare ahead. The whole interview process may take 2 weeks up to 4 weeks. Since COVID, we do see a lot more companies start to use pre-recorded Qs for the initial interview. UF C3 has included Quinncia as a resource for students to get familiar and practice for the interview. Please check on UF C3 website for more details.   

What should I do before I start to apply?  

  1. Understand the campus recruit timeline and hiring process. 
  2. Get your resume and other application documents ready. 
  3. Establish and polish your LinkedIn profile. 
  4. Prepare a job search tracking spreadsheet.  
  5. Schedule an appointment with Career pathway coaches at UF C3 to review your strategy and get more information related to your career interests.  
  6. Narrow down your industry, companies, and even job titles.  

            What are the good job boards I should use?  

            1. Gator CareerLink (dedicated to UF students)  
            2. LinkedIn (more than just a job board)  
            3. Company career website  
            4. Professional association career website if applicable (please check on UF Career Pathway website for more details)    
            5. Indeed (for broader internship opportunities, recommend applying from company career website) 

                    Should I attend the career showcase/career fairs if I can just apply online? 

                    The answer is YES. We even encourage you to apply prior to Showcase if it is applicable. Career Showcase itself is a great opportunity to network and connect with industry. It is also a great opportunity to hone in on your self-presence in a professional environment and how to engage in a meaningful conversation that will benefit both parties. Make sure to bring your resume, stories to share, questions to ask and bring back the better knowing of expectations, opportunities, and industrial contacts.  

                    I am a master’s degree student, is there any difference of my job search process?  

                    Whether you are in a 1-year or 2-year master’s program, your professional success is best guaranteed through proper preparation and anticipation of the process that lies ahead.  While this can be seen as a challenge, you should know that the Career Connections Center is here to help you every step of the way. Before you arrive UF campus, feel free to check out our online resources and coming events at Because the Fall is a big hiring window, we would encourage you to engage earlier and know your academic requirement before you start to apply for internships. Sep. and Oct. can be hectic time as you are get acquainted with UF campus, adjust to your academic schedule. That is why UF C3 intentionally host several workshops to help you to identify your strength/skills, communication with employment opportunities, resume labs etc. You can also take advantage of our express drop-in and individual appointment services to get yourself prepared. Even if you miss the Fall career showcase, it will come back in the Spring (usually early Feb), your ability to engage with employers, discover new interests, and pursue opportunities will be possible year-round! 

                    Can I apply for multiple roles with the same organization?  

                    Yes, you absolutely can. Pay attention to specific rules if any the organization set up. For example, if you failed in one position interview, you may not be allowed to apply again in 6 months. Also bring good questions in any interaction with the organization and reflect on your learnings along the journey so you can find the right fit.   


                    Who should I put down as references on a job application?  

                    References should be provided to employer as a separate document, DON’T include them in your resume.  

                    Generally speaking, your future employer wants to talk with the following people for a professional reference, in order of importance.  

                    1. Your current manager or supervisors (part time job, on campus job, research assistant, teaching assistant, peer advisor, mentor, internship, volunteer services) 
                    2. Your previous managers or supervisors (part time job, on campus job, research assistant, teaching assistant, peer advisor, mentor, internship, volunteer services)  
                    3. Your faculty who can speak to your experiences and knowing of your strengths and professional development  
                    4. Your personal reference or friend who will vouch for you (Do not use your parents, unless they have been supervising your professional work.)  

                          Should I prepare a cover letter for the application?  

                          Cover letters enrich your application as you are sharing who you are and who you want to be, which is different from your resume: what you have done in the past. If you are really interested in a particular position, have a tailored cover letter even if it is a supplementary document per guidelines. If the job application has a clear instruction to not include a cover letter, then follow the instruction so as not to annoy your potential employer. Here is the C3’s guide for how to compose a cover letter.  

                          What is the difference between full time and contract employment?  

                          Contracted workers are not “employees” since they provide services on a short-term or individual project basis. You are either self-employed or employed by a third-party company. Contract workers do not have to be offered the full package of benefits that full-time employees will have access to, for example, taxes, pension/retirement, and healthcare. The full burden of these items is the responsibility of the contractor.  

                          What is ATS?  

                          An applicant tracking system is a software application that enables the electronic handling of recruitment and hiring needs. The principal function of an ATS is to provide a central location and database for a company’s recruitment efforts. Recent changes include the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools to facilitate guided semantic screening of applicants. In many cases they can filter applications automatically based on given criteria such as keywords, skills, years of experience and others. That is why optimizing your resume for ATS is important. If you miss the key words and critical criteria listed in the job description, your chances of landing an interview call may be decreased.  

                          What is an AI interview?  

                          As the average resume generated for any one job posting is above 250, more companies are using AI programs to do an initial screen. The process requires the candidate to video record answers to pre-recorded questions. Yes, you are looking at yourself on the screen and answering 3 to 5 interview questions. Then, a guided algorithm will shortlist the ideal candidate before the recruiter and hiring manager review the recordings to select a candidate for the next interview round. If you have such an arrangement expected, please reach out to UF C3 for tips and advice. In short, treat it as an in-person interview. It is easy to say though, practice will help. Check on the Mock Interview Module available in Gator CareerLink 

                          What is E-Verify?  

                          E-Verify is a web-based system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. It is not a criminal background check. Your employer will usually include the instructions and information needed in the onboarding communication and preparation.  

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