I’m ecstatic that summer is over.
It’s not due to the anticipation of the crisp fall New York weather, beautiful changing colors of the autumn leaves, NFL and college football, or my kids getting out of the house and going back to school.
My joy stems from the fact that business and recruiting returns to normal.
Hiring patterns are driven, in part, by the season. While August has been great for us with a large number of new jobs coming in, placements and meeting terrific candidates; the pace, as usual in late summer, was torturously slow. August is prime vacation time. When it comes to recruiting and interviewing in August the process becomes disjointed, slow, and clunky. The Human Resource person that received the initial resume is now on vacation. When she returns the hiring manager is out. When she returns the candidate is on the beach.
Now with the summer over both companies and candidates have the back to school mindset. Reality sets in that you still hate your job and have a strong desire to leave. With work picking-up hiring managers recognize the pressing need to bring someone aboard to alleviate the renewed burden of extra work and lack of personnel.
Smart experienced hiring managers recognize that they need to move fairly quickly to take advantage of this open window time period. The staff is back and ready to interview and candidates are returning in force into the job search mode. Both sides have a vested interest to expedite matters. Once the winter holidays hit and candidates await their bonus payments, we return to the summer- like slowness.
Five years after the financial crisis began there have been many adverse changes impacting Wall Street and corporate America. Hiring and compensation has fallen victim as well. While there are more jobs and opportunities, unfortunately companies have less financial flexibility. In particular, companies are reticent to buyout bonuses.
Pre financial crisis, firms would review a candidate’s last 2-3 years compensation including bonus payouts. To entice a person to leave in the September to December market, the company would buyout the bonus a candidate expected to receive, or at least offer a reasonable increase in annual base salary to cover the bonus that he/she was walking away from.
Most companies don’t have that luxury today. It makes it more challenging for candidates with substantial payouts.
I have seen several options lately relative to the bonus payout conundrum:
- Higher than average increased offer on the base salary to entice a person to move without a bonus guarantee.
- Slightly larger than normal base increase coupled with projected non-guaranteed bonus.
- Guaranteed bonuses for special circumstances (this is a rarity).
- Seeking out more junior candidates that do not have large bonuses.
- Moving internal candidates into the open position.
- Pretending that this is not an issue and act surprised when a candidate seeks remuneration for the bonus that will be left behind.
- In late November thru December, extending an offer which the candidate accepts but it’s agreed that the applicant will remain at his/her current firm until they receive their bonus at year-end.
- Candidates/companies put interviews on hold until the New Year.
While the Fall offers a great time to reignite your job search, unfortunately it is not perfect.