Multiple job offers out there for executives

The job market is still very tough for most people, but many candidates for executive positions are receiving multiple job offers.

For the lucky ones, however, it’s 2007 all over again. “It’s incredibly competitive out there for talent, incredibly competitive,” says Kim Shanahan, a Korn Ferry partner in Reston, Va. Her searches for human resources executives have been “over the top — insane” because demand is so strong and candidates are becoming more selective. Adds Jeff Hodge, the San Francisco-based vice chairman of Diversified Search, a Philadelphia firm: “It is almost as if there’s been a floodgate opened, a material change since December.”

Korn Ferry (KFY) recruiters estimate that currently about 5% to 10% of executive candidates are ending up with multiple job offers within three or four months of starting their search. That might not seem like much, but competition is fierce for that group, and big signing bonuses are becoming common. In certain areas, including R&D, human resources, product development, and Java J2E software expertise, the talent wars are well underway, while elsewhere the job world is a frozen wasteland.

So who’s landing multiple offers? Those who show demonstrated results — and can prove they know how to grow businesses. Brian Sullivan, chief executive of CT Partners, uses the example of a CEO his firm placed at a Silicon Valley turnaround. In nine months he got the company on track, then sold it. “He now has three different offers from three private equity firms to go into one of their portfolio firms,” said Sullivan.

If you’re in this potential group the job market should be picking up.

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