As I’ve mentioned before over the last few months, we haven’t seen the market this crazy since 1999. Hiring authorities are having a terrible time finding good candidates and they have to pay more than they imagined. Many hiring authorities are simply shocked at how much they have to pay to get the talent they need and often times wind up getting into “bidding wars” over candidates.

Presently candidates have been stating to us comments such as:

  • “There hasn’t been a market like this in a long time and I’m going to take advantage of it in every way that I can. For years I feel like I’ve been taking advantage of by the companies that I’ve worked for so now, I’m going to get everything I can.”
  • “Now look, I’ve got an offer for $XXXXX from one organizatin, what can you do for me?”

Over the past few months, we’ve actually seen and experienced a number of bidding wars with candidates candidly admitting to our clients, as well as the other companies, they are interviewing with XYZ Company. Some candidates have even admitted in the interview that they were going to go to work for the highest bidder.Admittedly, candidates have not been in this much of an advantage position in a number of years. But, in spite of what anybody thinks, there is a downside to this type of thinking.

What brought this to mind was that, this week a candidate negotiated a salary for $30,000 more than what his position was probably worth. Our client was desperate, under a time gun, and fatigued; given they had been looking for four months and admittedly this was the best candidate they could find.

The warning of pressuring the employer’s hands in pay is there is a really good chance, especially when a candidate makes a mistake, which someone in management is going to poke someone else in management and say, “I told you we overpaid that guy/gal.”

The candidate could end up with a “target” on their back. People have to remember that the economy will not always be this way. There are always going to be ebbs and flows. A candidate might be able to negotiate a salary for a lot more than the position is worth, especially in this market. But, it will not always be this way and when a recession comes along and people have to get laid off, who do you think are the first ones eliminated? It is the people who took advantage (…or, perceived advantage) of the situation and were paid more than the job was worth.

Let me admit, I have never met a candidate that thought he/she was being “overpaid.” Most people have the idea that they ought to “get all they can, when they can.” I understand, most people think that their position is only “worth” whatever they can get. But, that simply is not true.


The moral of the story is, if you’re a job candidate, be cautious in your negotiations to not paint the target on your back.