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Cooler Heads Will Prevail As the Talent Market Continues to Heat Up

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By Nicole Cox, Chief Recruitment Officer
With Tom Brennan, Master Writer


Competition for qualified talent has been heating up for several years, and more and more candidates are receiving multiple offers. In today’s white-hot market it can feel a little like a free-for-all, but the talent, recruiters and employers who can keep their heads when all about them are losing theirs (thank you, Mr. Kipling) are going to have the best long-term results. Over the next few posts I will share some suggestions for how each of these groups can protect the integrity of the recruitment process. First let’s talk about candidates.

It feels good to be recruited; receiving multiple offers affirms your credentials and accomplishments and you’re in the driver’s seat. Still, you need to obey the traffic laws — for your own good. For example, you’ll have to decline some of those offers, but how you decline them can impact your future. In fact, it can make or break your reputation. The world is smaller than you may think, especially among recruiters, who are master networkers. This is especially true within specific industry sectors or specific geographies.

Make an effort to handle every stage of the recruitment process with the same strong values you apply to every other part of your life. For example:

  • It may seem like a good strategy to “try on” jobs, changing every 18 to 24 months, but that will earn you a reputation as a job-hopper.
  • Once you know job A is right and job B is wrong, don’t postpone giving job B an answer just to “keep your options open.” Again, it may sound like a good plan, but you’re wasting a lot of people’s time and effort.
  • Honesty is important. If you have multiple offers, it’s okay to let everyone know that you need a few days to think it over. If you say you’ll have an answer by Tuesday, be sure to get back to them by Tuesday. Still, watch the timing of your honesty — if you reveal that you have another offer just when you promised to give a decision, it could look like you’re playing games.
  • Don’t use multiple offers as a negotiating point. Any potential employer wants to know that you are interested in their job and their company. Focus on the value you believe you can add, and be enthusiastic about the opportunity. Market dynamics play into recruitment, but it’s also about much more than just going with the highest bidder.

Changing jobs requires careful thought. Before you accept a new position and give notice, you should be clear on:

  • Why the new job is right for you. Does it support your long-term career goals? Will it satisfy your need for doing work that is meaningful for you?
  • How this change will impact your family and your lifestyle. For example, if you’re leaving a 40-hour-a-week job for one that will require long hours, what adjustments will everyone have to make?
  • What you bring to the new position. How does your background set you up for success? What new knowledge or skills will you need to acquire?
  • The compensation big picture. It’s not all about the paycheck. Invest some time understanding all aspects of comp. Look over the insurance benefits, vacation/paid time off, stock options, and other offerings. Be smart about making the change: get the offer in writing before you give notice at your current job. If something you discussed is left out of the written offer, politely ask for it to be included.

If you’re working with a recruiter you trust, you can use that person as a sounding board regarding timing, information sharing and negotiating. But make sure the recruiter fully understands your motivations, needs and goals for the future.

Speaking of recruiters, in my next post, I’ll share best practices for recruiters when working with candidates who have multiple offers.

Connect with Nicole on LinkedIn.

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