For those of us that remember recruiting and placing people in the late 90s, we can remember candidates metaphorically having one interview, writing their resume out on a napkin and getting hired all in the same interview. Some recruiters…who are no longer around for these reasons,…thought it would last forever. Get a candidate  an interview and get a placement.

Many of us with any brains or who had seen a number of recessions knew that it wouldn’t always be that way. Hell, in the year 2000, I personally billed $4.3 million. I did think I was pretty good, but in my heart I knew that I wasn’t that good and that I was taking advantage of a very unique technology expansion in the DFW area. I still bill better than $1 million every year, but I have to work even harder than I did back when I did the 4.3 million.

“It’s the economy, stupid,” as coined by James Carvell for President Clinton. But that’s what it was…the economy. There is a tendency for recruiters to think that when they do real well it’s because of how good they are. By the same token, it’s really easy for all kinds of professionals to think that they can get a new job or change jobs really easily because they didn’t before when the economy was really good. Every week, I have a candidate tell me that they would like to get back to earning the kind of money they earned a few years ago. They say things like, “are you kidding me, I made that kind of money 10 years ago!”

Times change and economies expand and contract. We’re in a better economy than we have been in many years and, for the most part, it’s easier to find a job or to change jobs and make more money. But even in my discipline, high-tech sales, the 90s and 2000’s  produced a ton of salespeople who are now more numerous than the market will demand. Looking back on this profession since I got into it in 1973, every expansion and contraction of the economy has created “runs” in certain industry verticals that will never come about again. I remember  interviewing a sales guy in the late 70s who made $100,000 a year selling diodes and resistors (if you don’t know what they are, look them up).

For most of us, we are very blessed with this economy. It too will come to an end somewhere along the line. I just hope it doesn’t all collapse at the same time like it did in 1986 when real estate, oil and gas and banking all went on there butt in Texas and we had a very rough time for a few years

Our economy, especially here in Texas, is a lot more diversified than it was then. We’re especially fortunate to have a very diversified economy and therefore able to withstand an economic downturn more easily.

Employers need to move on hiring candidates a lot faster now than they did even 18 months ago. Having a protracted, drawnout interviewing process is going to lose candidates to your competitor. I just had a client tell me today, Friday, that he could have a candidate that I presented him hired by next Tuesday. A year and a half ago the same client told me that it would take him one month to hire anyone because of the process they have to go through. Hardly a week goes by that, even with our explaining what the market is like, we don’t have three or four clients that miss hiring a candidate because they just take too much time for their “process.” Today, it even happened that one of our clients got mad at me because his process was taking too long and that I should know how to keep the candidate from taking the job he took from his competitor because our client was taking too long to hire him.

Napkin, anyone?