It’s best to start looking for a new position as soon as you know you want a new position. For residents, you should begin at the start of your senior year. The job search process takes awhile – the time it takes to get a new state license, to obtain a contract from the employer, to negotiate a contract, etc. NJ and CA are some states that take 6+ months to get a license. Starting early as with everything is advantageous however some employers aren’t actively looking until October/November when the Annual AAPMR meeting occurs.
On the other hand, it’s never too late to start looking when you’re a resident because even if you start looking then, there will be positions available that for one reason or another haven’t been filled. It’s not that all positions that have been available for awhile aren’t good. Sometimes, the parties can’t come to a compromise or the practice settles on one doctor who then decides to take another position.