Halfway Through 2011: Is Your Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?

This time of the year I like to spend some time reflecting on what the first six months of the year produced as well as listening to what other folks in my industry anticipate for the next six months. Here’s what I have come up with and I hope you find it valuable.

Hiring is back… but not in the same form

The first half of 2011 has continued to be a very busy hiring market. Almost every one I speak with has hired or is planning to hire. There has been a TON of movement in the market but, just because everyone is hiring does not mean “everyone is hiring.” The hiring that I have seen and heard about has been selective, taking longer than usual and not without hiccups. Counter offers are back, salary expectations are unreasonable again, and internal candidates are everywhere. At the same time, budgets are still very much on the forefront of most hiring managers’ agenda and still dictate many of the hiring decisions.

Competition for candidates

It also appears that competition for candidates is back in full swing. While the bandwidth of good recruiters has not necessarily increased that much, employers understand it is time to hire again and when they find a good candidate, they also find 2-3 other recruiters trying to get in on the deal as well.

Second helpings

Lastly, believe it or not, I still hear some folks talking about a second “dip” or sliding back into recession. (By definition, I believe we are in recovery.) I also hear fear of further real estate decline and the possibility of another fall-out.

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So, here I am trying to process all this information and pass it on to you. My conclusion: it is your choice for whatever you want to think in regards to the market, and either way you will find evidence to support it. The glass is both half full and half empty. Both way, there is water in the glass and you can drink to that! (And if you come to Nashville, we can drink together!)

Personally, I do believe things are improving — slowly, but surely. It is a much safer time to consider career moves and start hiring again, but you must be diligent in your search efforts and diligent in your interviewing and recruiting processes. Now is the time to do your research, take your time, and ask the tough questions. Although I do not anticipate much “growth” in the volume of hiring for another six months or so, I do believe it is coming. I hope you are getting ready for it; I know I am!

Stephanie Maas has been in the search business for the last 11 1/2 years. She specializes in commercial banking in the Mid-Atlantic and has billed almost $3MM in her tenure. Also, during that time, she got married, adopted two boys from Russia, and has been able to have her husband stay home full time to run their family. Stephanie is a partner with SBR, runs a full desk, and is home every night for dinner with her husband and two sons.


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