Summary: A company is NOT currently interviewing. However, I know from my inside source that they will likely be interviewing around the time that I would want to start (months from now). So, I want to ask them to interview me early (now), and to start the job 3 months later.
Is it reasonable to ask that question now?
Or should I wait until the job is posted 3 months from now and apply for it?
Note: I am in the US.
In thinking about planning to leave my current company, I would hope to take a three-month break for personal development/time-off before starting at my new job. Of course, I would prefer not to be without a job during that time, so what I would like to do is interview at a company and tell them that I won't be able to start for another three months.
When I tell my friends about this plan, they tell me it's not a reasonable request—that that sort of privilege is reserved for high level executives, that it'll hurt my chances of getting an offer, that it will reflect poorly on my friend who referred me, and that I would be better off applying towards the end of my three-month break.
My question: Are my friends right, or is this a reasonable request?
Some additional context: This would be my second job out of college, as a mid-level software developer. As I mentioned, I would have a referral at the new company, and through that referral I happen to know that this company would be starting its next round of recruiting around the time I would plan on starting (thus, I'd essentially be doing the interview early, rather than starting late).
I've found similar questions on here, but they relate to situations like graduation or visas, which are a bit different than simply taking time off for personal reasons.