Why it’s a candidate’s market

by Kris Minkel, Recruiting Manager

You have the idea. A vision and know what you want to do but you need to find the talent to get there?  We know that unemployment rates are very low – the Seattle unemployment rate is hovering under 3% and the IT unemployment rate is under 2%.  Why is that?

A key reason: Lack of qualified resources

The lack of qualified resources means the same people are contacted for the same positions over and over again.  I have a friend who works in IT and was in the market for work.  When I asked him for his perspective on what he saw and heard from recruiters he said that he was contacted for positions not relevant to his experience, for roles out of state and all over, and that he was bombarded by emails from recruiters asking him to provide personal information over email such as the last four of his SSN, date of birth, and other sensitive, personal information.  Clearly, this type of engagement leads to a terrible candidate experience and gives recruiters a bad name.

As recruiters we need to be better.  Besides that, we need to remember that the market is very tight with plenty of openings and candidates who “don’t meet the bar” or “aren’t a team fit”.

But back to why this is a candidate’s market. What do candidates go through when looking for work?

Imagine being a seasoned Software Developer looking for a new opportunity. The most common ways people look for work is via:

  1. People they know or are connected to
  2. Applying to companies directly
  3. Connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn
  4. Posting a resume to job boards

But then what?

For most people it turns into an episode of the TV show Shark Tank.  For those who are unfamiliar, Shark Tank is a show where people walk in with a business idea and present it to five seasoned entrepreneurs.  The goal is to sell a percentage of your equity in your business to a “Shark” to gain cash and the services of the “Shark” to be a mentor to help your business elevate.

Now let’s look at the scenario from a candidate’s perspective. With the hot market in the Seattle area and the number of openings, candidates are often working with multiple recruiters, on lots of openings, with multiple companies competing for their talents. They are at different stages in the interview process for full-time positions (usually longer recruiting cycles) and contract positions (usually shorter recruiting cycles). Candidates aren’t always transparent about where they are at with the various processes and often companies may make a hiring decision earlier in the process if they discover a candidate who meets their needs.

So what can we do to as recruiters and hiring managers to fix the gap and help ease the process?


  • Do not spam candidates with email opportunities unrelated to their search.
  • Establish relationships with candidates and be a resource for them. Help them with interview advice and put them in a position to be successful.
  • Treat people like people. Understand that your offer might not work out but in IT people usually look for work every two years; so don’t burn a bridge because they may turn into your next hiring manager.

Hiring Managers:

  • Understand that the market is hot. The days of a three week interview process are over.
  • At home assessments are great! Having a potential candidate take an at home assessment is a great tool but use it to streamline the process.
  • Your culture is very important. Know that the candidate should be sold on why they should work for you. Just because an offer is extended it doesn’t mean it will be accepted.

These are just a few of the items that have helped in my five plus years of IT recruiting. Working together and establishing relationships on both sides of the fence are very important. It is a relationship driven business and the more we come together the more we can achieve.

1 Comment

  1. Chris
    February 15, 2018

    I really wish every recruiter practiced what you practice!
    So many recruiters remind me of a used car salesman.
    You are absolutely correct when you state “It is a relationship business”.
    As a consultant in the IT industry, I have a large network of people (Solution/ Data Architects, DBAs, Dev/Test leads, and Developers) we share information in regards to experiences we had with recruiting firms and recruiters. We stick together and there are many recruiters and recruiting firms we refuse to work with because of the poor performance on their behalf.


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