May 24, 2022

#026: This Is A Candidate’s Market – How To Find Your Next Role

Hosted by George Randle

People have been laid off, retired, or quit their job to find a better one. However, Over 70% of workers regret quitting their jobs during the Great Resignation. A survey by Muse found that 80% of employees deemed it acceptable to leave a new job after six months if it did not meet their expectations, potentially leading to another version of the Great Resignation. Now that businesses are reopening, the playing field is a candidate’s market. Companies are eager to hire again. So you have to make the critical decision of which company you want to join. Join George Randle as he tells you how you can define success.

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This Is A Candidate’s Market – How To Find Your Next Role

As we talk about, It’s a Candidate’s Market, we are going to talk about the Great Reshuffle, the Great Regret, inflation, and the latest statistics to come out of Forbes Magazine.

We here at Talent War Group are trying to keep up as much as we can on the latest and greatest statistics as we serve our clients. We talk about talent, talent acquisition, human capital, and leadership development but there is a great article that came out that is talking about the tremendous vicious cycle that we are starting to see.

We talked in a previous episode about the Great Resignation. We started to see the signs of that during COVID, but now, if there is another normal being created and getting back into the workplace, it was something like six million people had quit their jobs over the last several years. It was something absolutely astronomical.

A Candidate’s Market

There is the weirdest thing going on, and it is a vicious cycle. We are going to get to why it is a candidate’s market but I want to give you some cautionary tales to both companies and candidates. Now with the shortage of talent and the Great Resignation, employers are raising salaries to attract more talent, creating jobs and wage inflation. To us candidates, if we are out there in the market, that is great. Many times we are finally getting what we are worth, and we are making the jump for salary.

I warned candidates that I had prepped in coaching and career searches. “If you are coin-operated and chasing the dollar, you will get it.” Like I said in our book, The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent, and in many of the speeches and presentations that I have given, “It is going to the grocery store hungry. Those Double Stuf Oreos look good.”

I’m going to tell you, with the Great Resignation, companies are throwing money at candidates left and right. It is a candidate’s market. This is starting to create an interesting cycle that both employers and candidates need to be aware of. With the inflation, the supply chain challenges we have, the prices of gas and heating oil, and energy, in general, going up, the inflation is scaring people and thinking, “I need to earn a little bit more money because I have got to catch up.” The inflation scares them, and they jump for more money.

The Washington Post wrote down, “If you are a job hopper, you are likely to get a 6.5% jump at a minimum.” That is the average. Many people are getting 10%, 15%, 20%, and 25% increases on their total cash compensation or what we call on-target earnings for those people who are based on the bonus but if you stay at your job, the average is about 5%.

There is certainly this monetary incentive to jump to a new company, and it is understandable. Employees want more than fair pay. They want as good pay as they can get. They want to get their value add. I would tell everybody to do that but with employers tackling the Great Resignation by raising their salaries and attracting more people, we are starting to see job-hopping more, and it becomes a vicious cycle.

In my several years in the human capital space, I have never seen a market like this. If you are top talent, and even if you are average talent, there is no shortage of openings anywhere for you to earn a substantial increase by changing, and you might even get some new skills. You are in the driver’s seat provided that you prove to the employer that you demonstrate, that you articulate, that you have the character attributes, the experience, the skills, the personality, all of the things necessary to perform and excel role. You have the most leverage for earning a wage you probably did not think was possible.

Just like companies need to look at the whole person, the candidate needs to look at the whole company. Click To Tweet

For those that your potential isn’t being recognized or you are distinctly unhappy, this is the time for you to take a good look at the job market. The challenge is, now, the job market is filled with Double Stuf Oreos, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, cheesecake, and Dove® Chocolates. You pick your sweet or dessert, whatever that may be. It is all out there. It is all going to taste good.

The question becomes, is it good for you in the long run? Is it good for your career or to job hop? Is this the right next best thing? Are you being coin-operated and chasing after this because of inflation? I, like everybody else, I’m concerned. It costs me over $100 to fill my tank, and I get that. We all have different expenses, challenges, obligations financially that we have to meet. I understand the importance of better wages, higher salaries, and bonuses.

First of all, after several years in this, I know thousands of talent acquisition professionals and their leaders in the talent acquisition organizations, a lot of HR leaders, and 99% of the people that I have worked with, and probably 99.5% are ethical, people-driven employees, and leaders. They are good people to work with.

They are in the business of finding great talent but in this talent shortage, the people in the talent acquisition profession are going to make each and every single job look as good as they possibly can. They are under enormous pressure. They are hiring managers, those manager’s managers, all the way up to the C-Suite, are under enormous pressure to deliver their service, their product, whatever it is that they are doing.

You are starting to see recruiters step up their game and sell the great opportunities of a company, which is a great thing. You want your talent acquisition consultants to take pride and sell the company. There are a few out there that are unethical and going to sell it like a used car. I get that. They are all out there. Every profession has its good and bad.

The HR and the talent acquisition functions generally, in my experience in several years, have been ethical and people-centric in what they do. They want the right thing for the right people for the right reasons. There is no getting around the shortage of talent. The pressure is on to make those jobs look good, “We are going to throw more money at you.”

Define Success

My advice to candidates is two things. Number one, always remember, you get out there in this market without defining success and what the next best opportunity looks like for you. What is going to fill in the blocks on your resume? What is going to give you a new set of competencies, a new set of skills, a new industry, something to round you out and make you even more valuable for the next few jobs that you may go to, the next company or departments within the company? Have you defined clearly what that looks like?

When I say clearly, I mean like stomping my foot as a professor saying, “This is going to be on the test. Write it down or type it in.” I wrote it down when I was in college. Type it into your laptop, make a note, and make a text. It is going to be on the test, write it down, define success, do not allow this to be some foggy mismatch of 5,000 thoughts in your head and some weird belief that, “When I see a good role, I will know it.”

Spending money on the talent you do have will have a higher ROI than spending on someone outside the firm. Click To Tweet

There are many jobs that look alike, titles that are similar, and companies that are doing many of the same things or degrees or too off. The job descriptions are going to look even better now in the candidate’s market, and the recruiters are going to be selling the absolute best things.

If you define success, it is easier for you in the interview process and the search process, in general, to be asking the right questions to be digging into the areas about the potential of this role. As an example, one of the great questions is, “The last person in this role, that was a rockstar, where are they now, and what are they doing? How did they get promoted? What made them successful?” You can now look at roles more clearly if you have defined success.

I promise you if you are chasing money in this market, you are going to get the money but what we are finding across the workforce in the US, and it is now extending globally, is people got the money but now they have the Great Regret because the culture is different. It was not the same. “I’ve got a little bit more money. I had a pretty good boss but I could not turn down an extra $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, whatever was in base, so I made the jump.”

That money that is helping you fill the gas tank and financially is making you more miserable on the whole all this to say, “Define success.” It comes from military terms. You do not want to be going out on missions where you have defined clearly, have a clear picture, and have articulated that picture of what success looks like.

Defined success, the money will be there but take a look at companies, have the broadest lens, the widest view on the market that you possibly can, and think, “When I grow up or in the next ten years, what do I want to be? Where do I want to go? What kind of financial stability do I want to have? What level do I want to be at? What kind of impact? What do I want to be doing? Are indeed delivery sales, customer support, managing, leading in some fashion?” What is it that you want to do? Ask yourself, “Is this next high-paying job going to get me there faster? Is it going to help round out my skills?”

Candidates, it is your market. There is a lot of money out there for you. Go for it. With the caveat that if you have a great leader and company that recognizes your potential and is rewarding you at the highest level that they can because companies are struggling, and we countlessly see, “They hired somebody in there 10,000 more than me. The wage compression keeps me low. I get a 2% or 3% raise. Somebody comes in from the outside. They are 15% higher.” I get that. It is frustrating. Don’t wait for your bet on the compensation piece.

We teach companies to look at the whole person. The candidate needs to be looking at the whole company. That extra money will not make you happier, and most importantly, it will not make you more successful in the long run. To companies, you are going to have to be careful. This is why we say, “Human resources is now at the tip of the spear because these compensation issues are front and center. There are many things to balance because the cost of labor is almost always, if not, generally speaking, the highest expense or cost for a company.”

You have to balance that demand and that need to go outside of your firm. I caution everybody that I coach or any client that I’m working with. If you have to go outside and it is not for a brand new position with a brand new set of skills, credentials, experience, degrees, coding proficiency, programming, languages, whatever, you haven’t been developing what is in your team. You should be doubling down on leadership development and leadership, building better managers and leaders, retaining and rewarding what you have.

Be wary of companies offering you a ton of money to come to them. Click To Tweet

Spending the money on the talent you have is going to have a higher ROI than spending it on something outside the firm. Look first to reward those people inside. Additionally, be very mindful because if you are not thinking strategically, inflation is going to go away at some point. I’m not going to prognosticate and tell you when it is, when it is going to lessen, if it is temporary or whatever the latest news headline will tell you their simple guess but it is not going to last forever.

Wage Inflation: Paying Over The Market

What you want to be careful of as an employer, especially as the human resources function, coupling with the finance function, figuring out the wage inflation. You need to be looking at how much over the market you are paying now. I want to give you a relevant example. I hope it is. A long time ago, a few decades ago, during the dot-com boom, I was recruiting somebody, and this person went to a well-known computer manufacturing firm. I own one of their computers. I happen to love it. That company is headquartered here in Austin, Texas.

They paid this person. This was back in, and I would have been a 102, somewhere in that neighborhood, $125,000 with no direct reports because of wage inflation and the dot-com boom. If you were going to pay top dollars to give equity and stock, and people that they are ultimately going to have a retirement in several years, they promised the moon to win the talent. It is not unlike what is going on now.

Several years later, that bubble burst, and I had the candidate come back to me. He was looking for another position because the company had decided to lay off. I asked him, “What his compensation expectations were?” He said, “I was making $125,000, and here was my remit. I did not lead any people but I was responsible for some big stuff.” He sold it. I gave him credit but he was looking for a 20% increase.

Unfortunately, I had to break the news to him that in the first instance, he was probably $35,000 over what his market value was. He was shocked. He ended up settling after some coaching and advising for something significantly less. He was still in the six figures but less. He took a cut but he was so much happier. He more than made that up within the next several years, and then some. He was excelling and promoted because he defined success and went to the right place.

His initial offer was far over the mark due to the dot-com inflation of wages. When he came out, he thought that was what his worth was. It is a cautionary tale to candidates and companies, don’t get yourself over-extended, and don’t get yourself into a panic buying situation. Look carefully. Look inside your company first. Look to develop, promote, stretch, and challenge, those people who want to stay and who want a bigger challenge. Look first inside.

If you have to go outside to the market that we have talked about that on several episodes, how you do that, and we will talk some more about it, be mindful of the pressure from hiring managers, directors, VPs, “I need this person. If I do not have this person, I can’t deliver.” Paying them outside of the compa-ratio and the salary bands because, at some point, the cost is going to come back. It is going to haunt your company and that top talent that you paid over the market for. You are going to be put into a difficult position, and so is that person.

The candidate is going to be put in the position that when this wage inflation comes back, this stuff is like a boomerang. It is going to come back. Make sure that you are not inflating too much so you do not have to cut that person at a later time. Also, you are not driving further attrition in your company by creating this enormous wage compression or difference between two top performers. One who has hired 3 years ago, and one who was hired 3 days ago, there shouldn’t be a big gap. Get people aligned.

Treat your human capital with the same discipline, rigor, and focus you do your financial capital, and you will win. Click To Tweet

There are a lot of people who were getting used to being self-employed that are now reentering the market, and they have their choice of jobs and companies. In keeping this a short segment, the best advice, my experiences that I can share, if you are a candidate, defines success, do not be coin-operated. Trust that you are going to get an increase but make sure you are going to a firm that fits you, recognizes your potential, where you stand the greatest chance of being successful and building out your resume for whatever may come next within that company, within that industry or external to your company at a later date. Be wary of something that is offering you a ton of money to come to them.

Companies, take a hard look inside your company. Look at those people who have been overlooked before, who want more, double down on leadership, double down on rewarding, recognizing, promoting, and challenging those people within that have the character attributes of success. They are already assimilated and have networks within the company. With coaching, caring, thoughtful mentors, coaches, trainers, and great leaders leading the way, it may take a while for them to fill the exact hole that was absent by resignation but they will get there. They will thank you with their loyalty and their retention.

Be mindful about paying over the market too much and establish some clear guidelines of where, when, what circumstances, and what your thresholds are for paying over the market. This is a tough time for talent on both sides of the equation. There aren’t any easy answers but remember, you do not have to make a decision now. I can’t count the number of hiring managers who have come to me and said, “I needed this filled yesterday.”

Always be recruiting, leading, mentoring, developing, coaching, driving forward, and thinking, “What talent do I have? What do I need to develop? What do I need to add? What you may need to off-board in certain circumstances?” Start getting thoughtful about your talent. The quote might make me repeat the time, “Treat your human capital with the same discipline, rigor, and focus. You do your financial capital, and you are going to win.”

Candidates, money isn’t everything. It is a lot, and I want to be paid what I’m worth. I know all of you do but be wary of something that is too good to be true and why they are having to pay that money. If you have defined success, you will know what questions to ask to best define that opportunity for you to make a solid rational decision if that is the next best career move for you.

War For Talent

I know this was a stream of consciousness and a little bit of rambling but I wanted to put that out there for everybody. We all know it is a candidate’s market, and there is a war for talent. If you are in a company, you love your boss, your work, and you are passionate about what you do, then we will do another episode on campaigning for how you can negotiate inside the company, your own compensation.

Take stock of all of the things that the company is offering you and decide if it is time to make a move because this market is going to change. Loyalty will be rewarded. I sure hope it is. If you are a leader that is not rewarding loyalty and performance on that trust performance matrix, you are going to suffer attrition for a long time to come. Without a doubt, it is a candidate’s market now but employers think for the long game, how to do this best, how to take care of the people that have been performing for you, and when, why, how you should go to market?

With that to all of you, I hope you have a great, successful, high-performing, productive week, and I hope you take time to find something to decompress. A lot of tough things going on in the world but there are a lot of things that we should all be thankful for. I hope you find 1 or 2. For now, I hope this was helpful and beneficial in some way. I wish you all the best, and we will see you in the next episode.

In the candidate’s market, the Great Resignation, and the Great Regret, I had mentioned that six million people had left their jobs and I said it was over a year but in actuality, it was 4.4 million people quit their jobs in the month of February 2022. That is an astounding number. I wanted to make sure that you had the correction to realize the data that we are working with is unbelievable to demonstrate that this is a candidate’s market.

 

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