Don’t Lose the Talent War – Fix Your Hiring Process

miss the mark22018 saw one of the most hectic labor markets in decades. The economy is at full employment, and labor demand is sky high. The war for talent is in full swing. Some companies are losing this war however; and here are the two main areas where they go wrong:

Broken Hiring Process  – the #1 reason we see clients lose candidates to other employers is a slow or convoluted interview process. Job seekers in this market have multiple options. The company who makes the best hire is very often the company who moves the candidate through the interview process the most quickly and efficiently. This doesn’t mean you have to rush hires, but go into each hiring process with a plan. I suggest that clients:

  1. Identify who will conduct interviews in advance. Don’t have candidates interview with people for no reason. Pick the key decision makers, or the primary people that this position will interact with, and limit the interview panel to those people. Also, have an idea of who should meet with them, in what order, in how many rounds. If you cause delays or add unnecessary steps, you’ll lose candidates.
  2. Give up on the idea of interviewing or comparing multiple candidates multiple candidates against each other. When interviewing candidates for a high demand position, be prepared to offer the job to the first qualified candidate you meet. In a perfect world, you could meet multiple candidates, compare them side by side, and pick the best one. That is NOT a reality in this job market. Know what you are looking for in advance. Decide on “must have” and “nice to have” qualities. When you meet someone you like, hire them! Waiting to see other candidates is not going to guarantee a better hire. It will however guarantee that you’ll lose good candidates.

Make Good Offers – I’ve had several clients lose candidates in 2018 by starting with low-ball offers. Recent changes in Massachusetts and New York have disallowed employers and recruiters from asking applicants their current compensation. This has made offer negotiations a bit of a guessing game at times. Some succumb to the urge to start by offering a low compensation package, with the idea that they can negotiate up if necessary. This is a mistake. For one thing, candidates are generally insulted or put off by low offers. Second, more astute companies who understand candidate supply and demand are making strong offers to start, in order to show candidates that they really want them. I advise that clients lead with a strong offer. It’s always smart to have some wiggle room if needed, but starting too low can leave a company in a hole that is too big to dig out from. A few ways to make sure your offer is competitive:

  1. If working with a headhunter, talk to them about the offer. The recruiter will hopefully know the candidate, and has already talked about their compensation expectations. Recruiters will also know what the market value is for candidates. Get the recruiter’s advice on what the candidate is worth and what they are looking for.
  2. Compare the prospect against the person they are replacing, or peer level rolls internally. If you are hiring someone to replace Employee Y, use their current salary to benchmark an offer. Is the candidate as good or better than the incumbent? Make the offer reflect how they stack up against known comparisons.

Hiring is a huge challenge for companies right now. Streamlining the process and making competitive offers can go a long way to ensure you staff up with the best possible talent in 2019!

By |December 17th, 2018|Job Offers, job search, recruiting strategy|0 Comments

How To Evaluate a Job Offer

The good news – the job market is great and the demand for talented people is on the rise. The bad news – more job options don’t necessarily mean that people make good decisions.

I see a lot of candidates juggling multiple offers right now. Having competing job offers does sound like a great problem to have, but more options don’t always lead to great decisions. In this market, I feel it’s very important to have a game plan on how you will evaluate opportunities. I recommend job seekers consider three things:

  1. Determine what you want and why are looking BEFORE you start — when I interview a potential job seeker, I have a detailed conversation about what they like, and don’t like about their current role. I want to uncover the “what’s missing” aspects of their current job, as well what they really enjoy. Second, I have an equally detailed conversation about what they want in their next job. I figure this out before I ever tell them about a potential job opportunity. If you are looking for a job on your own, write down on paper the pros and cons of your current job, as well as what you’d like to do in your next job. This is a great list to refer back to when you start meeting with potential employers.
  2. Evaluate potential growth — when considering a job offer, it’s important to look at the growth potential you will have over the next 3+ years. Obviously, it’s impossible to predict the future, but during the interview process you should try to uncover the potential career path and learning/development opportunities you will get. Ask yourself how much you believe in the potential of the company. Compare competing job offers to your current job and make your best guesses as to where you might be in a few years with each opportunity.
  3. Don’t get hung up on money –money is important, but it should rarely, if ever, be a primary motivating factor when looking for a job. If the job offer is going to provide you with a growth and development path that is solid, and it addresses the reasons you were looking for a new job in the first place, you should take the job. A few thousand dollars is not going to change your lifestyle drastically in the near term, but a better opportunity and career path can add up to big future potential earnings. For more about the financial realities of job offers, click here.
By |January 18th, 2016|Job Offers|0 Comments

Realities of an Offer

realities of an offerThe realities of an offer are important to consider when negotiating compensation. In an blog post from February this year, I discussed what a “good” job offer is in this competitive market. In short, a 5-10% bump in total compensation would be considered a strong offer. A link to that article is here.

In this post, I wanted to look at some realities of an offer and why a 5-10% increase is the market norm. The offer stage can be a highly emotional part of the search process. It’s important to remember that on both sides of the negotiation, this is a business decision. Money is important, and negotiating is part of the process, but remember these realities of an offer when approaching the negotiating table:

  1. Friends sort of lie – do not listen to friends or colleagues about their salary. Friends provide some of some of the most unreliable data available. First, people have egos and they tend to fudge the numbers. Second, even if your friend is completely honest about a huge job offer they got, one example does not represent the market as a whole.
  2. You aren’t underpaid – most job seekers I talk to feel they are underpaid. In reality, very few people are underpaid. If you are a top performer with good skills, you are much more likely to be on the upper end of the pay scale for your experience and skills. The economic law of supply and demand sets a pretty standard pay scale for a given skill, years of experience, credentials, etc.
  3. Titles don’t matter – don’t get hung up on titles. I was quoted in a Fortune magazine article the other day about this (link to Fortune article here). In short, titles aren’t universally defined. One firm’s Director is another’s Manager. The responsibilities of the job, how you will develop professionally, and what you are being paid is all that really matters.
  4. Evaluate money last – I always talk about job search motivations at length with a candidate – well before we look at an actual opportunity. Money is important, but it should almost never be a primary motivating factor when changing jobs. A reasonable offer that accomplishes many of the career goals and objectives you were seeking is a great job offer. Even if you receive a lateral offer, why would you not take a job that offered more responsibility, more growth, learning opportunities, etc.?


By |January 18th, 2016|Job Offers, job search|0 Comments

A Good Job Offer

Money_Scales_Balance_crop380wI get a lot of questions from potential job seekers about what type of job offer to expect when they make a move. “What is a good job offer?”, “What is the current market rate for my skills and experience?”, “What will company X pay me?”

The short answer is, your offer will reflect what you  are worth. And right now, for professional positions that require college degrees or greater, relevant experience, etc., that is just about a 5-10% increase in base compensation.

Do some people get more? Sure! Is it rare? YES! The reason for this “standard” level of increase is twofold:

First, supply and demand sets the price. Think back to Economics 101 in college. If demand is high and supply is low, price goes up. If supply suddenly increases relative to demand, price decreases. A given skill set and experience level comes with a pretty narrowly definable price point. Employers don’t wildly overpay for a skill set because they don’t need to. Conversely, they don’t underpay, otherwise people would leave for better pay elsewhere. Thus, the market has essentially set the rate for your skills and experience.

Second, that the average annual increase when you stay at the same employer is close to 2-3% annually, outside employers don’t need to create more of a financial incentive to attract talent. A 5-10% increase is actually quite generous when compared to what you can expect if you stay with your current employer!

Many people are surprised to hear this information. There is a common belief that a good job offer wildly increases your pay. It’s important to keep money in perspective. It really should not be a primary motivating factor when changing jobs! Making a career move should be motivated by better long term prospects, exposure to new skills and experiences, expanding your responsibility, etc. Money will always come to those who work hard and smart! Don’t let short term dollars cloud long term thinking!

By |January 18th, 2016|Job Offers|0 Comments

Competing Job Offers

In a hot market, you may find yourself balancing competing job opportunities. More and more, we are seeing skilled candidates find themselves in exactly this situation. While it may seem like a great problem to have, it can definitely make the decision making process more difficult. Here are a few things you can do to balance competing job opportunities.

  1. Evaluate Competing Job Opportunities in a Vacuum – if you have two or more job opportunities coming your way, try to evaluate each on its own merits. Consider the factors that were important to you in the beginning of your job search (i.e. more responsibility, a better commute, a growing company, etc.). If one opportunity doesn’t stack up, dismiss it and don’t let it bog down your decision making process.
  2. Look at Money Last – if you get competing job offers, look at money last. If two opportunities are very close in qualitative measures, looking at the financial compensation may tip the scales. However, don’t make a decision that is largely motivated by a slightly higher compensation package, where the opportunity itself is not as strong. If a second choice offer is substantially more money than first choice offer, you can always go back to the first choice potential employer and let them know that you’ve received a competing offer that is more money, but that you’d rather be working for them. They may not necessarily match it, but they might close the gap a bit and you’ll get to work at your first choice company.
  3. Be Mindful of Timing – timing can be a big factor in a job search. One potential employer may not move as quickly as another. If you have two or more potential employers speaking with you, be open and honest about where you stand in the process with other suitors. Tell them how many interviews you’ve had, if you are expecting an offer, if you receive an offer, etc. When a potential employer finally makes you a job offer, they are generally going to want an answer quickly. You won’t have too much time to sit on the offer while you wait for another company to pull the trigger. It’s OK to hold a company’s feet to the fire a little in order to keep the process moving along.
By |January 18th, 2016|Job Offers|0 Comments