We asked our team and experts from the community what the talent market looks like, considering the global layoffs and economic crises. Find out the answers below and share your thoughts on this topic on our socials.
What changes do you see in the talent market due to the global crisis?
Kate (Expert Talent Sourcer): There is a shift from a candidate’s to an employer’s market. Before, there was just one candidate for 15 Scala vacancies (one of the most popular programming languages). Now, this proportion is changing.
But we should remember while we hire for mission-driven startups with high expectations for a future team member, it is still mostly the candidate’s market. The amount of A-Players remains at the level of 10% of the total workforce.
Zoriana (Account Executive at A-Players Recruiting): Now, even very talented candidates much more often initiate a conversation and ask if there are open roles for them. Before, it was mostly a cold outreach.
Lesya (Founder of A-Players Recruiting): Agree with Zoriana. Even more – not just talents seek new opportunities, but also former founders. They can either burn out from raising funds, not succeed in it or simply have other issues leading to closing their businesses.
Maryna (acting CEO, Expert Talent Partner at A-Players Recruiting): Firstly, more candidates respond to outreaches. And they’re more enthusiastic about it. There is a high probability that a person was laid off, but they don’t announce this.
People are just afraid of another wave of layoffs. So even those who have kept the position actively consider outreaches from recruiters. The first phrase when meeting with candidates in the US market: “I’m totally satisfied with my job, but there’s a recession”.
Secondly, candidates need to know a company’s strategy, stage, and information about the next round. People want to forecast the future because they have already been in the position of losing a job due to a startup’s financial issues.
Also, the notice period seems to be statistically shortening now. Our latest candidates ask for 1-2 weeks after receiving an offer (instead of 3-4 weeks before the economic crisis). People don’t want to rest, and they aim to work immediately.
Moreover, they willingly negotiate salary expectations. Candidates became more flexible in terms of compensation.
From your experience, what companies still hire talent rather than let them go or put hiring on hold?
Zoryana: Ones who raised funds. 90% of them still hire because they closed a round and now need to expand a team. Others have 1-2 vacancies or none at all.
Kate: I’m looking for candidates on Layoffs.fyi (the site provides information about companies that laid off their employees). I can say that we should divide the types of roles. Business ones like sales, marketing, communications, or recruiting were affected the most. But when I researched Engineering Managers of such companies, they not only continue to work in their positions but hire new members to their teams. Thus software development departments were hardly affected even in the companies on the “layoffs” list.
Maryna: One of our former clients (a startup founded in Ukraine) shared information that they laid off 20% of employees. But this only applies to business roles. Technical teams weren’t affected at all. Moreover, engineers are hired worldwide. All Ukrainian employees have kept their positions.
Lesya: Certainly, startups that raised funds still hire. And also, companies that highly value top talent keep looking for such candidates. Grammarly didn’t announce a new round, but they continue hiring. While people are being laid off, it’s a perfect moment to find the best candidates faster than before.
Zoryana mentioned fundraising, let’s stop at this point. Ihar, as a Managing Partner of a venture fund, can you share from your experience what companies still raise funds despite the global crisis?
Ihar (Managing Partner at Geek Ventures): Actually, I see a lot of companies raising funds now. Startups, in general, work hard on it. Some have postponed fundraising until later this year or the next year, but others don’t have such a luxury. Especially early-stage ones that are under $1M ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) or $20-30M valuation, they are very active. But more critically now, startups are still able to grow. The earlier a company is stagewise, the better it can grow.
And each of them hires talent. Every time you just raised a round, you don’t let people go or put hiring on hold, you expand your team. Even startups with under $100 000 annual revenue still grow and typically can hire.
Based on your experience with Geek Ventures, what changes do you see in startup activities that you invest in? How did their focus change?
Ihar: There is more focus on being careful with your expenses. Even startups that still grow their team are very careful about how many people they hire and how much they pay. They are also much more careful about the runway. Companies that previously were okay to have left 3-4 months of the runway now want to get more. And for that, startups are lowering their valuations to raise more money sooner.
How did the requirements for candidates and the hiring process change from companies’ perspectives?
Ihar: The requirements went up. There are more candidates on the market right now, and fewer positions are available. So companies want to have even better candidates than before. For this purpose, more startups understand that they need professional help with the hiring process.
It takes a lot of time and requires experts to find top talent (that much wanted), especially if we talk about C-level or VP-level roles. Management wants to hire experienced people who can help achieve business goals and speed up the next funding round right away. They can’t afford wrong hiring from both time and financial perspectives. That’s why management delegates the hiring process more compared to pre-crisis times.
Do you agree that recruiters should now react faster than ever to attract talent, and headhunting is extremely strong?
Kate: When I review lists of people being laid off, I see how many other recruiters do it at once (dozens in the same document). It’s hard to imagine the number of messages these people receive daily.
Maryna: Candidates shared that they have at least three interviews per week.
Lesya: Totally. It’s not only about the speed of the hiring process but also about who wrote first. Networking helps a lot. If you know about a future layoff before an official announcement, you have exclusive access to talent. You can be the first to reach out to them.
There are more candidates now, but they all need to be filtered. You have a wider pool, but spend more time working with it. That’s why it’s crucial to have either an internal or external recruiting team that will react fast. As a founder, especially if you are aiming to fundraise, you don’t have the proper amount of time to cover the hiring process. There is a possibility of hiring top talent. But for that purpose, you have to provide at least 5 times more interviews and distinguish who is the best fit.
Maryna: Sure, speed is a priority, but also communication. If Sourcer composes an excellent outreach, Talent Partner (TP) builds a warm, professional relationship, you have the first interest. Then TP sells a role even more. As a result – a candidate doesn’t want to consider other options from that moment, they want to go deeper into your position.
Such communication requires being constantly in touch. Yes, it takes a lot of time. But when a candidate moves to other stages, hiring managers and CEOs don’t have to sell a vacancy anymore. They can skip the introduction and get to the point.
What can attract a candidate?
Maryna: I would highlight 5 factors.
- A company’s mission. It’s a huge motivation. Top talent wants to work with people who have a vision, know where they’re moving, and aim for long-term development.
- Level of the company’s management. Intelligent people want to work with intelligent managers. They want to learn, complement and create synergy.
- Financial stability.
- Opportunity to share knowledge with a team.
- And the team itself. We always make introduction calls with future colleagues. It often affects a candidate’s decision whether to accept an offer.
There’re a lot of startups, especially early-stage ones, that used to close vacancies via networking. Can you say that now is the time to look wider and start hiring talent on the market?
Lesya: The most successful recruiting is when you can expand a funnel. You define all candidates who can be reached and choose the best of them. Truly, if you could reach only your network before, let’s say it was a small circle, now, it has grown. If you don’t use this opportunity, don’t reach out to the broader circle, then you are definitely missing out on a number of options. Sure, maybe the best fit is inside the network. But why settle if you can explore more options? From my experience, it always brings better results. And also helps gain hiring experience for future team expansion when networking is already insufficient.
If you seek new team members, it couldn’t be a better time to try new strategies. The level of talent out there is extremely high. The right hire could speed up a startup’s growth far and away.