Such stories have become more common. Martech firm Zeta Global has even seen some new hires leave before they start their first day, lured away by better offers. “Many companies in the market have had large liquidity events and have more money in their pockets,” says Neej Gore, chief data officer at Zeta Global. “They are able to pay more than before.”
“It’s very hot; there’s more demand right now than supply of candidates,” says Risa Goldberg, president at the recruiting firm Media Recruiting Group. She says the job market exploded in March, driven both by ad tech’s boom and rising vaccination levels.
And a booming ad tech market means companies are considering whether to hire outside talent or compel people to stay with increased salaries or incentives like restricted stock. Some attribute part of the boom to the demand for hires with startup experience. “People are looking for other successful individuals, people who have driven growth,” says Timothy Rogers, senior VP of CRM and omnichannel at Criteo. “They want people who have been there, done that.”
The fierce competition has forced recruiters to get creative and break recruiting norms. “Recruiters reach out and say the salary and the company name,” says Avi Mally, CEO of recruiting firm Three Pillars Recruiting. “It’s something I’ve taught against...but right now, it’s so noisy we assume every candidate is interviewing with five to 10 other companies, so some recruiters are just laying their cards out and saying what the job pays, and the response rate has gone up significantly.”
Meanwhile, candidates are also using the charged job market to leverage existing offers. “Internal promotion is now our biggest competitor,” says AC Lion’s Marmer. “There was a period where I would lose someone to an internal promotion, losing candidates in process.” He says some companies are promoting people before they are usually up for review, giving out abnormally large salary raises, leadership roles, and job titles that all short-circuit the interview process. “Those companies are hiring themselves, but also can’t let go of their talent,” says Marmer. “It’s easier to overpay, and if you remotely like someone, to keep them, than find new talent.”
The ultra competitive hiring surge is unlikely to let up any time soon, fuelled by a pandemic bounceback and the opportunity to fill the void left by third-party cookies. “Hiring needs to evolve,” says Delphine Hernoux, chief data and analytics officer for Wavemaker North America, a unit of WPP. “We need to balance the needs and desire of people ticking old boxes and people coming with curiosity, because it’s an evolving industry.”