Ready, Set, Jump! – An Employer’s Perspective

A Candidate’s Market

According to the article “Ready, Set, Jump!: How to Profit From the Ultra-Tight Job Market Right Now,” published in the most recent edition of Fortune magazine, “About 6 million jobs are open at U.S. companies, near an all-time high.” Meanwhile, unemployment is near a record low, with Management occupations at 2% and Business and Financial Management at 1.7%. (For perspective: The Fed currently considers 4.6% unemployment as representing “full employment”.) In other words, it’s a candidate’s market.

As the CEO of the world’s leading Executive Search Firm serving the Chemical, Consumer Products and Technology Industries, I can attest first-hand to the sweeping economic changes and increasingly competitive war for talent. A quick drive through any major metropolitan area will sufficiently demonstrate how vigorously the economy is heating up – even in Pensacola, Florida, with a population of less than 450,000, a short drive to the mall will include a multitude of scenes filled with cranes and construction sites.

What does that mean for employers and C-suite executives? How can you attract and retain the top talent that comprises your biggest competitive advantage?

One of my biggest takeaways from this article was the need to focus on the human aspects of leadership; corporations are learning that soft skills (like the abilities to overcome adversity and to make emotional connections with subordinates) are more important than hard skills (like a college degree or specific niche experience). “In 2018, you’ll hire people you never would have hired in 2008,” in part because “past performance is not the best indicator of future success.” This makes techniques such as behavior-based interviews far more important than the traditional screening of resumes for keywords.

More importantly, hiring teams need to recognize that they must impress candidates just as much – if not more so – than candidates must impress hiring teams. If your hiring processes are not up to par, top talent isn’t going to choose to join your organization. If you begin with a low-ball offer, candidates won’t stick around for negotiations. In the current economic market, your organization needs top talent more than top talent needs your position: make sure you are treating your candidates like the superstars they are!

What are you doing to attract and retain top talent in an economic environment that favors candidates? Let us know in the comments, then share this article with your network of hiring-savvy (or not-so-savvy) executives.