The Return of the Picky Candidate

As usually happens when things are looking up and companies are hiring once again, people are picking their head up and smelling opportunity in the air.

At Genotrope, we have recently seen a different type of candidate exploring available opportunities . These candidates are proven producers and will  have multiple options to choose from when they change jobs.  These candidates can afford to be picky.

In the past year, pent up curiosity has taken a back seat to keeping your head down and powering through the crash of 2008, but as we slowly emerge from the downturn, so do people looking for their next new opportunity.

Remember how the tide turned in 2004 and there were more positions to fill than available candidates?

Take a look at this chart of VC investment from 2001 to 2009 from a post by Fred Wilson.  Venture Investing Chart from AVC See how the ramp is much steeper coming off the bottom this time?  Does this mean the market will turn even faster and go from a more normal market to one of a scarcity of quality candidates much quicker? I don’t know, but I do know that companies should understand that things are going to change and  make the adjustments required to adapt to the new market conditions.

If you remember what happened in 2004 ish, the pent up desire to make a job change resulted in a massive shift left as 20%  or the best and more frustrated employees moved to greener pastures. In the coming upturn, companies can expect to lose some of their best talent in 2010 if they don’t create an environment that attracts top talent to stay and nurtures their development.

The recruiting process will also require improvement, like replacing the current ATS, Applicant Torture Systems, requiring multiple forms and questionnaires to be filled out online, and losing the best applicants in the process.

It should get better for hiring when the “player” candidates begin to interview, but how long will it take for them to get very picky and create a competitive environment that has swung very much in their favor? For a period of time, you will see a better quality candidate among the large quantity of resumes. After that the quantity will diminish and the competitive market will return.

The best a company can do is be prepared to take advantage as the “picky candidates” become available, by making your company attractive and the application and interview process streamlined, decisive and effective.

What is your company doing to take advantage of the changing job market and the return to normalcy?

Have you invested in building a targeted talent pool? Do you know which sources provide the highest quality candidates with a high probability of hire?

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