How long does a hiring freeze typically last at an organization? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Erin Berkery-Rovner, Career Advisor, Former Recruiter, Freelance Writer, on Quora:

Hiring freezes happen for many different reasons. Here are some off the top of my head, with an idea of what the wait time could potentially be depending on the scenario.

  • The department doesn't want the headcount budget (the money they'll pay you for starting a new position) to hit their records until the next quarter: average time: 3-6 months
  • The company has expanded too quickly and now has less liquid assets than they'd like and are being overly cautious with their salary budget: average time: 3-6 months (provided that the new expansion has increased revenue)
  • Financially the company is struggling and they have frozen all hiring until revenue improves: average time: 1 year or more, or if the company doesn't make more money, indefinitely
  • The company laid off workers recently and it decreases morale to bring in new employees after their colleagues and friends just lost their job. average time: 6 months -1 year
  • The company is undecided if this role should exist, and is potentially conflicting with management about the job, the parameters and the work: average time: 1 year or longer
  • The company is undecided if the department should exist the way it currently functions and is investigating how to reorganize: average time: 1 year or longer if they do decide to keep that department and your role

Regardless of the reason that they have the hiring freeze, you should not wait around. Even if the company is telling you to wait, you should not wait around, it will not improve your career to hold out for this job that may actually never open up. I've seen people who've interviewed for roles that went on hold and then five years later that role is still open but also still on hold. What a department needs to get the work done and when a job is approved by management for the salary are two different things. So you may feel that after talking to the manager of the team is that they really need this role (and by extension you!) But the financial managers may be thinking something different and so you don't necessarily have the full picture.

I would encourage you to consider the role off the table, continue applying to jobs and if it does open up in a few months to a year, great! You haven't hurt your career. If you choose to continue to pursue this role (meaning you're not working forward, not applying other places and are hoping that they'll call you next week and even potentially emailing them from time to time) I can only say that I've had a lot of clients who've done that and it does not pay off.

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