Hedge Fund recruiting is very lumpy – there is NO structured hedge fund interviewing recruiting cycle.
Hedge fund are typically run very lean with some billion dollar shops only employing 10-15 people, so naturally they will only hire on a “need” basis. You will find interview happen all throughout the year from January till December, as a hedge fund needs to hire on more portfolio analysts to manage more positions or replacing other analysts that have left the fund. Either way, you should be prepared to interview all year around.
There has been an exception to this as of late, recently large Hedge Funds have started expedited interview processes in order to compete with early Private Equity recruitment. These processes can be very fast: 1-2 weeks. Hedge Funds that have started this early interview cycle include: S.A.C., Citadel, Maverick, Och-Ziff and a few others. These funds will still recruit on a “need” basis but they see an opportunity to snatch up the best and the brightest early in the year.