• Negin Safdari

Dear Artemis: Why is the talent market crazy right now? How can I successfully hire who I need?

Welcome back to Dear Artemis: Where you ask us tough questions and we use our collective 45+ years of knowledge in the recruiting space to answer them.


Dear Artemis,


Holy guacamole, the hiring market is ~wild~ right now. What’s going on?! My internal team is incredible but we need more support. Is this market here to stay? Should we grow our internal recruitment team, engage agencies, or both?


VP People, Fintech Scale up


Dear VP People,


We feel you - you’re not alone in this craziness. This year is revealing some new candidate behaviours, with some people opting to stay put and others looking for roles that offer greater support for their personal well-being. Here’s what we’re seeing in the market:


  1. Burnout → People are burnt out and there are studies to prove it. Locally, the YMCA WorkWell* survey found that 72% of respondents experienced burnout within a 3 month period. Thirty-four percent of respondents changed their job during COVID-19 ~ 37% listed “Personal Well-Being” as the reason why. Perhaps the most telling - of the 25% who were strongly considering leaving their current role in the next 6 months, 56% listed “Personal Well-Being” as the reason. *this study was done in late 2021, before Omicron

  2. New year, same job? → Normally over the holidays or early in the new year, we see a surge of active interest from people considering a new job. Everyone reflects on their current job, their goals for the new year and decides, hmmm, maybe it’s time for a change. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year. This is likely related to the burnout above - candidates are tired, they’re sick (or afraid of getting sick), and they’re supporting their families. **Applying for** a new job is not top of mind right now (more on this later!)

  3. Retention tactics are working → The flip side of the hiring market is - of course, keeping the talent you already have. The candidates you hope will apply for your jobs have retention teams desperately trying to keep them. We’ve been seeing company-wide pay raises to align with new market rates, new benefit programs, promotions left right and centre, 4-day work weeks and more. Those companies that were your source of talent are making it hard to leave.

  4. Bonus season → This one isn't new, but December & January is bonus season; candidates are waiting to cash in and will often hang around for a while post-payout.

  5. New role, different pace → In some cases, we’re seeing candidates opt out or away from fast-paced, high-growth startup environments and instead, consider larger and perhaps slower organizations, where there is more structure and support. They’re tired and in their eyes, a larger org means a break.


So - what gives? You need to grow your team, so how do find and hire great people given all of the this? Yes, candidate behaviour has changed - ignoring recruiting calls and the overwhelming number of job posts, hoping for something with more balance, and waiting for bonus payouts.


To start, learn from the companies that are making is easier to stay put with promotions, perks, raises and more support for wellness. You need to grow fast and quickly attack your market, but you can do it while also taking care of your people.


Next, keep up the proactive and creative recruiting efforts. The great people you need are out there, they're just harder to find and not applying for jobs. Leverage your in-house team to make sure your process is fast, effective and delivers a great, authentic experience. Broaden your definition of 'ideal' to encompass stretch candidates who may need to learn a thing now but who will deliver far more over time. And whether your headhunters are in-house or with third-party search firms, ensure that they are both driven and compassionate, getting in touch with the people you want to hire and then listening with empathy to what these people truly need from their next employer.


In short, it isn't just you - everyone is having a tough time recruiting right now. The shortage is real and the world is a weirder than usual. But with some strategy, insights and a lot of creative effort - you've got this!



Let us know what you think: Did we miss a major trend? Do you suggest another approach? We’d love to hear from you.


Until next time, Negin & The Artemis Team