March 13, 2023

Bear markets: when it’s 100% about the money


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

The lies we tell ourselves…

Bear markets: when “it isn’t about the money” turns into “it’s 100% about the money.”

This weekend was a bit of a clusterf*ck when it comes to social media. As it relates to all things Silicon Valley Bank.

Twitter was a cesspool of need-to-be-first hot takes. Former amateur virologists who became amateur military strategists suddenly became amateur bond market & banking regulation experts.

As I write this, it looks like deposits are safe. But the regional banking sector is still melting down, as far as the stock market goes. No one knows how this will pan out. I won’t claim to either.

I’ll instead bring it back to my bread and butter: hiring. 

“It isn’t about the money” feels like it’s the correct thing to say. When you’re job seeking, it’s about “the right opportunity.” When you’re hiring, it’s about someone who “shares our values and visions.”

To be clear: I’m not saying these things aren’t true. I’m just saying when they’re not…that’s what we tend to say anyway.

Instead: when the market is in chaos and fear takes over, it’s absolutely about the money.

Rational or not, people feel safer right where they are. It doesn’t matter how many companies you just saw do layoffs, it ‘feels’ less likely to happen where you are than someplace new.

If you’re trying to hire in SaaS or crypto or regional banks, it’s an uphill battle right now. Even if your org is doing just fine, you’re dealing with the stink of everyone else.

I bring this up because there’s a disconnect between what hiring execs think and the reality they face.

“The job market is soft. It should be easy to hire.”

True…if you’re talking about someone who is unemployed. Duh. Of course it’s easier to hire someone who doesn’t have a job.

But everyone else? Who is currently working and you want them to bail on a place they feel is ‘stable’? It’s definitely harder.

People should pursue jobs that make then happy. Companies should hire people where values align.

But humans intuitively know the risk/reward relationship. To take on something riskier (or perceived riskier), you need an incentive.

👉I’m not saying we should expect salary inflation. But I am saying you’re not going to be able to gobble up currently employed talent on the cheap.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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