Navigating Candidate Driven Markets

Just as financial markets experience bullish and bearish swings, there are shifts between employer and candidate driven markets. The trend in IT over the past few years shows that candidates have the upper hand in the market and it’s unlikely to shift anytime soon.

IT Employment Trends

  • By mid-2018 there were 350,000 open Cyber Security positions in the US and a global shortfall of 3.5 million is predicted by 2021.
  • IDC’s 2019 predictions indicate 30% of high demand roles in emerging technologies will go unfulfilled through 2022.
  • An Ernst & Young poll found 57% of existing AI professionals believe lack of qualified AI talent is the “single biggest barrier to AI implementation”.

Rising Costs for Acquiring and Retaining IT Talent

The numbers above tell a story, and in this environment, the basic laws of supply and demand reign supreme. The costs of acquiring and retaining IT talent are increasing significantly.

This is an exciting and lucrative time for all involved in the IT space. However, it can be frustrating for companies looking to expand and retain talent. Here are a few points for both employers and candidates to consider while navigating the market.

4 Proven Strategies to Attract Top IT Talent

The data above clearly indicates that acquiring and retaining in-demand tech talent will be a significant challenge. The most glaring issue the numbers highlight is the difficulty budgeting compensation plans. General salary reports don’t really help set a standard in a market where your competitors will “overpay” for talent to sway candidates away from their current organizations.

The good news is that while money is certainly a primary consideration for candidates, it’s not the only motivating factor. Below you’ll find four variables, that when implemented succinctly, will help attract high caliber tech talent.

Create an Employment Value Proposition

Address the reasons a passive, tier-one candidate from your competition should consider exploring an opportunity with your company. Be sure to work with your recruiting team (internal, external, or both) to ensure the messaging is succinct and consistent throughout the organization.

For additional guidance, have a look at The Pinpoint Custom Search Form™

Map the Interview Process

The importance of a timely interview process cannot be understated. If you’re talking to an elite performer, there’s a good chance that candidate is interviewing with your competition as well. A consistent and planned interview process will go a long way in not losing out on strong candidates due to timing. Time Kills All Deals. Read more about the importance of a properly mapped hiring process.


Don’t assume a candidate automatically wants the job just because they’ve decided to interview. Interviewing is a two-way street. Successfully closing a candidate has as much to do with the courting process as does the offer.

Make sure you and your recruiting team are dedicating time to understanding a candidate’s current frustrations and future career goals. If your company can provide an alternative to frustrations along with an appealing career path, make sure to tell the candidate!


If A-player candidates are the target, know what the market will bear, and offer the high end of your budget the first time. There is no greater momentum killer than having a candidate feel as if their potential to contribute is being undervalued.    

Ideally, you are working with a headhunter that is positioned to provide insight into the candidate’s compensation requirements. This ability to level-set should enable the right offer to be made the first time.

Here’s more insight on successfully partnering with your recruiter.


The data clearly indicates that you have leverage and that the best course to compensation and career advancement comes through switching jobs.

However, it would be wise to remember that impressions are lasting, word gets around and, at some point, it’s likely the tables will be turned. So, when entertaining opportunities, it would be reasonable to consider a few points.

Create a Personal Value Proposition

Just because you perceive yourself to be in high demand doesn’t mean you don’t need to sell yourself. Regardless of the competitive landscape there will always be a rival candidate.

A personal value proposition should be crafted with the intention of aligning the success you’ve achieved to the needs of a potential employer. Understand the difficulties facing a hiring manager and present yourself as a solution.

Know Your Leverage

A glaring need for someone with your skill set doesn’t mean you will automatically be offered a job. The skills on your resume likely got you in the door for an interview, but the leverage, to this point, is highly skewed in the employer’s favor. They are the ones with the power to make an offer.

In the initial stages of interviewing, you are in no position to start demanding details related to flexibility on job title, vacation, compensation, etc.

Consider the quote from Sun Tzu: “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought”.

The “battle” in this scenario comes into play when negotiating an offer. If you’ve dedicated the majority of the interview time – arbitrarily a 70/30 split – communicating your personal value proposition, and it’s been well received by the employer, you’ve shifted the leverage to your favor. Essentially, you’ve won the battle before it was fought.

With the employer bought in and eager to get you onboard, you are now in a position to ask for anything you want (within reason) and negotiate favorable terms associated with compensation, title, vacation, etc.

Maintain a Strong Code of Ethics

It’s okay to explore various opportunities and evaluate the pros and cons of each. It’s expected that based on your assessment, you will make the best decision for you and your family.

It’s important to clarify the definition of evaluation. When evaluating, it’s presumed you have not made a concrete decision and everyone should respect that. Once you’ve chosen to move from your state of evaluation to finalizing your decision, it’s strongly advised that you are certain as can be before communicating your commitment to an employer.  

Once you’ve given your word, or signed an offer, stick to it. While in the short term accepting a counter or competing offer may seem appealing, in the long term it can be devastating. The technology industry is small, and people tend to have long memories. If you’re not sure you want the job or are satisfied with the offer, don’t take it in the first place.

Hiring Managers and Candidates

Partnering with a skilled Executive Recruiter specializing in your niche will help both parties navigate the interview process. The ability of a third party recruiting professional to level-set expectations ensures a win-win experience for both sides.

Connect with us today to get the conversation started.

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