The Race for Talent – start your engines!

To some, it seems to have slipped in during the middle of the night. Others haven’t detected it at all. But for those of us in the trenches, we hear the clarion call of the changing of the guard loud and clear. The drive for talent is back and if you haven’t tuned in or are ignoring it’s call, you do so at your own peril.

Yes, I know that unemployment numbers are still high, but the signs of a shifting market are evident. Temp agencies are experiencing higher volume, some disciplines that were previously flattened or had cratered over the last 3 years are experiencing  a comeback. Companies are seeing candidates get multiple offers and counter offers have returned with a vengeance. Has anyone noticed the plethora of articles relating to interviewing and recruiting?  The undercurrent of growth is unmistakable.

It has often felt like limbo the past year, as the competition for talent expands and companies continue to deny the probability. Recessions come and go, even great big, juicy ones like the last. The return of jobs may be slow and focused on specific talent, but it’s a growing hum, soon to be a steady buzz.

I’ve had a few clients somewhat shocked at how competitive it seems to have suddenly become. “We’re running an ad”, they say and three months later the job still remains unfilled. Let’s face it, the market absorbed the highly skilled labor pool months ago. That IT, Controller or even HR role you thought was a slam dunk is  harder to surface candidates for and the available pool is diminished in size and quality.

What’s left is the passive market. The qualified talent engaged in their current jobs are too busy to pay your LinkedIn inquiry any mind and probably aren’t combing Indeed for job leads either. Interestingly enough, with all of the new media for talent engagement, my job pipeline is full to the brim. There have been tons of articles written about this, but it’s simple really.

Exceptional talent requires an individualized approach. Candidates want to compete for great roles and be considered as people, not algorithms. My candidate base looks for trust, rapport, discretion and to be considered exceptional – and they are. And some companies get it. They understand the shifting market. That great talent has to be seduced and lured away from their current roles. And they understand that they will have to step up and be competitive once again, pay a little more, get creative, be prepared for counter offers and for their competition to be thinking the same way. Those companies are ahead of the curve and are proactively engaging practices to grab that talent now.

The rest, well they’re getting left in the rearview mirror.