May 23, 2023

Candidates are weird


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

And I think this shift is permanent

Candidate behavior nowadays is…odd.

Not good or bad. Just different. And for recruiters, unexpected.

4 observations:

1. Response rates to initial outreach are down. To the types of messaging that previously “worked” anyway.

2. Response rates to old (I mean really old) messages are up. I’m talking 6-12+ months old. Our whole team has noticed these.

3. Back-and-forth before connecting live is longer. More details. More time to think it over. Sometimes they disappear anyway.

4. Salary asks. Waaay higher than they used to be.

Which raises the question: why?

It’s easy to say “the market shifted” but it’s deeper than that. Similar to how some companies thought “we’ll get everyone back in the office full time soon” but now realize it’s impossible. Some changes are permanent. Especially when multiple causes stack on top of each other.

Let’s look at them all:


Everyone learned to live through a meltdown and make ends meet.

It wasn’t pretty but everyone who came out with their livelihood intact realized there’s a certain amount of work BS they don’t need to put up with anyone.

In that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” way. This isn’t a lesson anyone will un-learn.

👉Salary transparency laws.

People feel entitled to know what jobs pay, because they are.

It’s not just what ABC company is paying. It’s seeing what other similar companies for comparable positions are paying. Everyone has a better understanding of their market value.

And more importantly, they cannot be asked to verify their current salary. Love it or hate it as an employer, crazy high asks are smart negotiating.

👉Salary inflation.

Is it really a crazy high ask if other people are getting it?

👉Fear of switching, then getting laid off.

I don’t know how much this actually happens. But all it takes is 1 story on social for the fear to take over.

👉Death of the Big Tech mystique.

Once upon a time, dropping “unicorn” and “series C funding” was enough to get people excited to talk to you. Or being part of the FAANG club.

Those days are over. Even if the tech sector recovers, the memory of these layoffs won’t fade in the minds of job seekers anytime soon.

What does this ultimately mean? Lazy recruiting won’t work again anytime soon.

Post and pray (inbound) and blast all (outbound) don’t have much of a future. People want more specifics and more insights. And you’re going to have to give it to them. Up front.

You’re also going to have to become more adept at compensation conversations. Part of it is knowing when candidates are being unrealistic and having hard convos.

But another part is knowing when your company is being unrealistic and having even harder internal convos.

As for the amount of responses we’re seeing to year old LinkedIn DMs…I got nothing. Seriously what’s driving that? 😂

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

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