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Hiring Managers, It’s not a ‘Buyer’s Market!’

by | Mar 3, 2011 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

Right now, the vast majority of hiring managers believe that it’s a “buyer’s market” for companies when it comes to hiring new employees, and they’re basing this belief upon a number of largely superficial factors.

  1. The nation is still emerging from what’s been commonly referred to as “The Great Recession.”
  2. The unemployment rate is above 9% and has been at that level for quite some time.
  3. Companies are being flooded with resumes and applications for their open positions.
  4. Companies have held off on hiring and are just now beginning to loosen the purse strings enough to add new employees, even though the need to do so has existed for several months.

Put all of that together, and you can see why hiring managers might believe that it’s a “buyer’s market.”  After all, it makes sense.  It looks good on paper.  It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.

And it’s also absolutely false.

There is, of course, more to the situation than meets the eye (on paper or otherwise), and there are thousands of recruiters across the country who know this.  The fact of the matter is that A-level candidates are just as difficult to find now as they were five years ago.  Actually, if you think about it, they might be more difficult to find now.  Why is that?

  • There is roughly the same number of A-level candidates in the market as there were five years ago.
  • The majority of these A-level players are probably somewhat gun-shy about making a change right now due to prevailing economic conditions.
  • There are at least twice as many active job seekers in the market as there were five years ago.
  • While A-level players might be less enthusiastic about finding a new job, the current pool of job seekers is very enthusiastic about finding a new job.
  • There are many, many less open positions than there were five years ago.

So what you have is this… a group of A-level players, the majority of which aren’t actively searching for a new opportunity, being overshadowed by a much larger group of active and enthusiastic job seekers who are trying to make themselves as visible as they can possibly be.

In other words, if companies were looking for needles in a haystack in their quest to find A-level candidates five years ago, now they’re looking for their needles in a much larger haystack.  And that’s just one of the obstacles they’re facing, to say nothing of their continuing efforts to seek out candidates with such a specialized and unique skill set that maybe, just maybe, they don’t even exist.  (We’ll call those “purple needles.”)

How does this equal a “buyer’s market” for companies?  It doesn’t appear to, but that still hasn’t stopped hiring managers and decision makers from believing that it does.  What it really adds up to is a challenging environment for recruiters, because even when they do have job orders, their clients’ “buyer’s market” mentality has the potential to hijack the recruiting and hiring process, resulting in wasted time and lost revenue.

When will hiring managers realize that it’s NOT a “buyer’s market”?

I have no idea, but for their own good—and for the mental health of recruiters everywhere—it will have to be sooner rather than later.

What’s been your experience?  How many of your clients have the “buyer’s market” mentality when it comes to hiring?  What strategies have you used to combat this mentality (and that you would be willing to share)?

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