When both candidates and companies are misinterpreting the market

With all the recent ups and downs in the market over the last three years there have been many shifts in perspective for both hiring manager and the potential employees looking for a career switch. One of the most interesting and most destructive comes when there has been a significant and extended downturn in the market that is followed by a rapid uptick in hiring.


When the economy is down it tends to create a company driven market where candidates have fewer opportunities available to them and thus have to be more aggressive in finding new opportunities and more flexible in order to obtain that new position. Employers eventually feel this trend in the market and often interview more people, become more picky and negotiate more aggressively to get more for their dollar when it comes to making a hiring decision. Because of this market trend many of the most talented individuals choose not to conduct career searches in a down market.


As the market turns around there is typically a delay before hiring increases that is a result of both financial motivations and insecurity about the markets continued improvement. During this stage of transition candidates and employers are likely to have the same feelings and be on more of an even ground as far as who the market is driven by.


If the improvement of the market is both fast and consistent there are some interesting effects that can disadvantage company's in hiring the right talent and in fact damage their overall hiring brand. When the hiring market responds to the improvement and stabilization of the overall economy many companies regain the confidence they need to start hiring again. A good portion of those companies constricted their hiring while the market was down leaving even more room for new hires. This gap creates a frenzy of openings, postings and interviews that are mostly visible to candidates and less so to individual employers.

In the mind of the candidate this means that there is an abundance of opportunity out there and everyone from the most talented to the mediocre starts to explore new opportunities. As they start to explore the market they often find they are in high demand and getting multiple interviews with ease, giving them the impression that they can take their time and be selective about the job they take. This often leads them to over negotiate or send a message that they are disinterested in an opportunity that might otherwise be a perfect fit for them.

Most employers only see the influx of interest in their opportunities and candidates interviewing in their pipeline. They often forget that they are not the only company competing for the local pool of talent. With plenty of candidates to sort through and the ability to secure interviews with talented professionals why should they rush into making a hire or pay top dollar when they could get someone for less. Companies with this mind set not only often miss out on the talent they are seeking but also waste internal resources, provide a negative interviewing experience to candidates and damage their brand in the market. The reality is that the best candidates are going to get a job very quickly and are going to get multiple offers before they make a decision.


Once the hiring market stabilizes the perspectives of candidates and employers slowly regains its accuracy, but during the critical time after the downturn and before the stabilization there is a period where candidates think things are better than they really are and employers thin things are worse than they really are. This is a critical time where employers and candidates often lose out on what they are seeking most.

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