The tipping point for talent

So you still think it’s an employer’s market? Unemployment numbers notwithstanding, how long is it taking you Mr. Employer to fill that Controller role?

I heard it again today, an employer who thinks the job market is ‘crap’, there are loads of ‘qualified’ people on the market and they will be ‘dying’ to take their job.

Now it’s not my place to argue with paying clients (hence my blog), but seriously, are you kidding me? If that really is the case, then why are you ready to pay me a fee and full fee at that? Why is it after over three months, you still can’t find that ‘perfect’ hire yourself who would kill to come on board for your great opportunity? Have you noticed the job boards lately? The amount of new recruiters flooding the market (a blog for another day-)? The countless articles and blogs posted everywhere on interviewing and hiring?

Interestingly, this is the turning point in any recessionary market. The tipping point for talent as I privately refer to it. Even though unemployment numbers remain precariously close to double digits (in some parts of my state, there they remain), the reality is that a lot of the really good talent, caught up in the depths of the recessionary layoffs early on, got hired a long time ago.  Companies that are gearing up for increased revenue, a corporate event, expansion, etc., who require a certain skill set to fulfill the demand, are surprisingly challenged at the short supply of available talent. Of course there is also the burgeoning turnover being created by restless career warriors, long overdue to resume their upward trajectory. These are just a few scenarios driving the demand for talent that has heated up over the last eighteen months. In many instances companies are still hiring as if they can demand the moon at garage sale pricing. They haven’t quite put their arms or budgets around the reality that the tide has changed.

Whatever the case, we are back in a talent war. Small as my little firm is, the volume of my business is indicative of a growing (albeit cautionary) jobs market. Where two years ago I was dialing for dollars all day, every day, now I spend most of my days recruiting for talent and influencing the hire. I’ve blogged in the past about counter offers rearing their ugly heads and pitched battles between companies to out hire the competition. I’m hearing these stories at all levels from clients and colleagues alike, and on a frequent basis.

My point is Mr. Employer, time to take your head out of the sand and adjust to the reality of the marketplace. The economy and jobs do not stay stagnant. Down cycles eventually turn back up – so make no mistake. It may be slow, it may be volatile, but the job market has turned. Good candidates have choices and they know it.

When you post a job for 6 months straight, your competition and the talent pool wonder why it’s been open so long and what’s wrong with your company (I wonder the same, quite frankly). When you ignore current comp and insist on low-balling your offer, don’t expect signed offer letters. Do expect counter offers. When you low ball fees and good recruiters just say no, don’t be surprised.

And one more thing, before I conclude my little rant. Competition is good. It creates value. It forces all of us to work a little harder and appreciate what we’ve worked for a little more. And if that includes who you hire in the talent game, well that’s a very good outcome indeed.