The Competing Offer Strikes Back

Many of us began to believe this was gone forever.  The job market has been so tepid, for so long, the concept of having more than one company actively chasing the same talent has almost been forgotten.

Candidates have become accustomed to competing against a large pool of candidates, and employers have become accustomed to using snow shovels to manage mountains of resumes.  One company we’re familiar with had about 300 professional openings last yearins d 32,000 applicants.  Even then, more than 60% of their hires didn’t come from the applicant pool.  Technology now drives resume flow, but it simply doesn m address fit very effectively.  Talent Acquisition teams and external search partners still carry most of the load.

So what’o happened?  Of course, there are the macro unemployment figures.  The national rate for June was down to 5.3%, and in states like Massachusetts, with hot tech- and biotech-markets, itetn states l  However, what we are seeing in our practice tells a much deeper and more nuanced story.

Back to work

As weto work deeper and more nuanced story.  ech- and bioteche applicant poollicanin the mine”. .  Our clients still want great HR leaders who have the capacity to help transform their organizations.  When confidence is back and youclients still want great Hgreat HR people are an early priority.  Now though, more candidates are juggling multiple offers, and companies have to move quickly to close the deal.

Our sister company, Armstrong-Franklin, is seeing the same thing in their supply chain practice, and the signs are even more telling.  Wage rates in India and China are rising unsustainably, and the sheer logistical risk of having product stuck in container ships has been made all too real, particularly at the end of 2014 when the Halloween decorations arrived just in time for Christmas.  Companies are transforming their supply chains, and bringing jobs back to the US.  Managing these transformations requires an exceptional skill-set, and frankly, there isn’t enough to go around.

Hiring the best is still front-and-center

Our advice to clients is very straightforward  focus and speed is very different than haste.

  • Squeeze every ounce of distraction and chaos out of the selection process.
  • Prepare your interviewing teams well and debrief quickly.
  • Know the competitive framework you.

Our advice to candidates is timeless, but even more important as the market heats up.  Simply put, don’t burn bridges.  If there are multiple offers in the mix, be diplomatic and avoid protracted bidding wars.  After all, you’re going to be working a long time with some of these people.

  • Play it straight, keep your recruiter informed, and don’t play games.
  • Give the respectful notice to your soon to be former employer.  Rest assured, your new employer will be watching how you handle this.  Remember, youloyer will be watching how you handle this.  heat up and cool off with absolutely equal frequency.


That’s our view.  We’d love to hear yours.  Visit us at


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