It’s a Candidate’s Market: What You Need To Know!

Leverage swings back and forth between candidates and employers. Similar to shifts you see in the housing market where the owner sometimes has the leverage, other times the buyer. In an employer market, companies can often pick between multiple good options. In a candidate market, it gets harder and harder to find good talent. Here are 4 signs we’re in a full-blown candidate market followed by what this means for candidates and employers:

  1. Counter Offers: We’re seeing more now than we’ve seen in a long time. It’s not a good idea to accept one (See last week’s column). But they’re more common in a candidate market.  It’s a short-term fix to bigger problems. Don’t fall for it.
  2. Internal Promotions: Many companies are conducting external searchers only to learn that someone internally might be the best option.  This is leading to more internal promotions.
  3. Prioritizing Requirements: It is rare that a company finds someone with 100% of the job requirements. Even in an employer driven market it’s helpful to focus on a list of top 3 or 5 criteria versus the entire job description. In a candidate market, this list can get even shorter. This can result in more emphasis being placed on culture fit and intangibles. In an employer driven market it’s easier to find someone who has all the technical requirements along with good culture match. A candidate driven market can be a good reminder to employers that often times technical skills can be taught. Culture fit either exists or it doesn’t.
  4. Multiple Offers: We’re seeing more multiple offer situations for good candidates.  When a company is pursuing an employed candidate, in this market, it’s important for an employer to keep in mind the candidate has these options: 1) accept your offer 2) decline it, stay put and wait for another opportunity b/c another one will probably come around soon. 3) Accept another offer, possibly your competitor (FYI…”competitor” can be a company you compete with for similar talent, doesn’t have to be direct competitor in your product/industry space)

Ok, that’s great. We’re in a candidate market. What does that mean for you? Here are Do’s and Don’ts for both candidates and employers:


Do be more open to passively considering new opportunities.  Update your LinkedIn profile, keep in touch with a good recruiter, form a relationship with a few professional contacts outside of your company.  The grass isn’t always greener. But evaluating external options can lead to a great opportunity. Or, it could confirm that you’re in a really good situation. Nothing wrong with that.  Everything to gain, nothing to lose.

Don’t pursue new opportunities solely as an ultimatum to your current employer.  If you think you’re worth more, ask for a raise. Indy is not a big town. Accepting counter offers can burn bridges.  Hiring managers change companies, HR leaders change companies. You might want to work for one of those companies one day. Sound like a long shot? It’s really not. If it’s only about the money, explore that internally first.

Do consider asking for an internal promotion. It can be a specific position you know is open within the company or simply a promotion by title, money and broader responsibility. Not enough people engage with their superiors about these topics. Your boss has a career too. They shouldn’t be surprised you’re thinking about these things. If anything, they would be surprised if you aren’t.

Don’t accept a counter offer. See last week’s column


Do make strong and competitive offers.

Don’t wait to find multiple candidates you could feel good about hiring.  If you find one good one, hire them before they’re off the market.  

Do pay close attention to your recruiting and hiring process. Be efficient, sell your company/opportunity to the candidates, make sure each employee involved in the process is sharing a consistent and positive message and provide timely feedback.

Don’t start a search until you are ready to invest the time to interview and make a hire.

Do keep in touch with new hires prior to start dates!  Weeks go by between acceptance and start date. You can be sure current employers and other companies are in their ear. You better be too. Email them weekly, take them to lunch with the team, share exciting news about the company. Make this a regular part of your hiring process. It doesn’t stop after acceptance.

Now you know what a candidate market means for you. Have questions or personal experience that relates?  I would love your feedback and input.




1 Reply to “It’s a Candidate’s Market: What You Need To Know!“

Leave a Reply