I am working as a software developer at a consulting firm, where I have been at the client location for about two years. I would like to move on from my current position to start a new project. However, due to contractual obligations, I must remain in the position for another 6 months.

Given that I am looking to begin a new position in approximately 6-7 months, how long before this point of time should I start interviewing? I know that telling recruiters that I need to give 1-2 months warning is not unheard of, but half a year seems a bit far-fetched.

Please note that I am trying to ask the question of how long before some future date is it reasonable to begin interviewing. I am not concerned about a notice period to my current employer.

  • 1
    I think you're on the right lines to talk about notice period. Find out what the average notice period is for someone in your industry at your level, and you have your answer!
    – JeffUK
    Feb 19, 2019 at 17:26
  • 1
    Do you have a contract? Can they fire you at any time? If the answers to those questions are 'no' and 'yes' respectively, then the answer to the question "when is it ok for me to start interviewing?" is "right now"
    – Kevin
    Feb 19, 2019 at 17:30
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of When to look for a new job without looking like a job hopper
    – gnat
    Feb 19, 2019 at 18:05
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    @gnat No, I think that this is not a duplicate of that link. In the link, OP is asking how long after joining a company is it reasonable to begin interviewing. I'm asking how long before some future date is it reasonable to begin interviewing.
    – Rich
    Feb 19, 2019 at 18:33
  • 3
    As long as you say you're "available starting July 2019", you can start applying whenever you want!
    – David K
    Mar 5, 2019 at 14:18

8 Answers 8


What's a reasonable period of time before quitting to look for a new job?

Unless you're independently wealthy this is a bad idea. You're better off job searching before quitting.

You can start looking any time.

  • 6
    Op asks for reasonable time before quitting, this answer seems to address quitting before looking.
    – frankhond
    Feb 21, 2019 at 6:37
  • Thats what OP wants to do - their end date is in 6-7 months and they want to know when they should start looking (now? In 1 month? In 4 months?)
    – C_Z_
    Mar 5, 2019 at 14:27
  • @C_Z_ they can start any time, including right now
    – Kilisi
    Mar 5, 2019 at 21:53
  • How is this the top voted answer? It's a response to the opposite of the question asked. Jun 25, 2020 at 14:00

Its never too early to check the waters and kick the tires for new opportunities.

But, before switching to FTE at the same customer you are placed at, please review you non compete clause, if you have one, in your contract with consulting company.

Most of then have a cool-down period before doing any work for customer you were introduced through the current employer.

  • 1
    If I do go that route, I do fully plan on getting written notice that the consulting firm is ok with it.
    – Rich
    Feb 19, 2019 at 18:36
  • In that case should be no issues to check the market for your skill set
    – Strader
    Feb 19, 2019 at 20:10

I agreed to remain employed by them for a period of two years.

Did you legally agree to this? Was it quid pro quo? Because if not, I would look immediately and leave as soon as you have a better offer.

If the company didn't need you anymore, they'd make you redundant in a heartbeat. There is no loyalty in either direction.

If you want out, get out. It's months of your life stuck doing something you're not interested in.

It's business.

  • 1
    Did you legally agree to this? Yes, it was part of a training agreement. They provide training and placement, I agree to continue my employment with them for 2 years. It seemed like a good deal at the time because I was a new grad having difficulty getting my first job.
    – Rich
    Mar 5, 2019 at 18:50
  • @Rich The question is if you quit, would you have to pay back money, could you be sued, etc? Did you sign a contract?
    – user70848
    Mar 5, 2019 at 20:08
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    Yes, there was a legal contract. Which is why I am not seeking to pursue a new position before the contract expires. I have edited the question to make this more clear. Mostly, I am just concerned about wasting everyone's time by applying to positions that I can not fill for another 6 months
    – Rich
    Mar 5, 2019 at 20:13
  • That's fair enough, seems like a reasonable deal. I would then wait it out unless you're desperate in which case you could negotiate an early release for a payment or similar.
    – NibblyPig
    Mar 6, 2019 at 9:34

Never quit (or lose) your current job before finding another one. That is the most important thing. If you intend to quit, you should start job searching as soon as you know you are intending to quit. If you feel you may be terminated, you should start searching as soon as you feel you may be terminated.

As a note, my last job search (I was basically searching for anything in any major city in North America) took 6 months as a software developer, so 6 months is not a particularly bad time frame. However, you may want to let recruiters know who you are talking to that you won't be available for 6 months. It's possible some recruiters have "ongoing" clients who are recruiting constantly; they can put you in contact now and you can start in 6 months when you're ready. Or at least you can start making contacts now who you can use in 6 months from now when you're serious.

The point is, if you're planning on quitting, it's never too early to start looking. It can, however, be too late, and you don't want that.


Assuming that the job market remains comparable to what it is today, 1-2 months is plenty of time.

In major US cities you can find a job within a week and they'll want you to start tomorrow. If you start looking six weeks prior to ending your contract you'll have plenty of time to review multiple opportunities.


This is dependent on your location, time of year, and how picky you plan to be.

Ask people in your network how long it took them to find their last job. Where I live it typically takes 1-2 months from first contact to first day at the new job. But june-august are slower due to vacations. Also, you may want to give yoursef extra time to explore more options.

For a job at a consultant firm I would recommend to initiate contact earlier. These companies are more flexible and often like to keep in touch with potential future employees.


I think this depends on

  1. How confident you are in procuring a job
  2. What companies you want to work for (if there's a lot of applicants then it might take longer for the company to get back to you)
  3. The speed of the job market in your region

That being said, if this is your 2nd job out of college and you have 2 years of experience, I would advise you to start looking 4-6 weeks before your departure date. You should also talk to local people in your area, if you have recruiters contacting you (fairly common where I live) it wouldn't hurt to ask them this question since they should know the job market fairly well.

Also I would refrain from telling companies up front that you are waiting to start the position until x date (unless they ask you of course). This gives you the chance that if you excel in the interview, they may be willing to stick it out for you a bit longer. This is highly situational however and you will have to use your judgement. I would definitely tell a recruiter when your potential start date is.


I think its as soon as you decided to leve the work. Because the if chance of your life opens tomorrow and you wait, you'll lose it. After the meeting with the potential employer you can always decline.

Another thing I have noticed is that if you start to send CV most HR departments will not respond and call you after months. One reason the have found another candidate, hire him or her then after a couple of month he or she quits or is fired. The HR will look at your CV that looked second rank.

I was a Java senior programmer before, and now I continue to wrestle with Eclipse every day, but I started to send CVs and interviews as soon I decided to change work. I got the firs interview after four months, I had forgotten totally about it.

Another thing if you search a job "Italian style" (I am in Italy, so I know) is that if you start to ask relatives and friends if they know someone that is searching employees, is a slow method

  • I don't think the middle paragraph contributes much to an actual answer; your first and last paragraphs are better phrased. Consider editing or removing that paragraph, and that I think will improve your answer.
    – DarkCygnus
    Mar 5, 2019 at 20:05

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