The Sounds of Silence

The numbers around whether or not companies are hiring are all over the map. Our own SmartBrief for CFOs poll on this question indicates that close to 80% of respondents say hiring in their companies is flat. 

That doesn’t mean companies aren’t hiring. It means that the playing field is much smaller, the competition is much stiffer, you must be a high-value target, and what you are bringing  to the table (value) must make the company more money than it costs to bring you on board. 

Even then, the silence can be deafening. In a coaching session earlier this week, my client has at least 4, maybe 5, very viable opportunities on the table. He’s made it to the top of the candidate list, the companies love him and want to bring him on … but he’s caught in the sounds of silence. He is at their mercy as each of the companies wrestle with the decision of whether, in the face of economic uncertainty and waffling or stagnant revenue growth, it makes sense to bring on another employee. 

Notice, I said bring on another “employee.” Not, “hire him.” There is no question in my mind that he is the top candidate for any one of these positions, and he’s been told that if they hire, he's their choice. The questions every company are weighing, and weighing heavily, as part of every hiring decision, are … 

— can we?

— should we?

— what happens if we do?

For this Investment Banker, it’s incredibly frustrating to be so close and yet feel like the end of the road is still so far away. But as I’ve told him, until you get the “NO NO NO and don’t ever darken our doorstep again,” it isn’t over. It’s just that the company is holding all the cards and he is at the mercy of their agonizingly slow decision-making process.