How’s the Market?


I’m asked this question at least once a day. Sometimes the job market is hard to define in a soundbite. But, now is not one of those times. I have a lot to say in answer to this question, and I thought I’d share over the next week or two.

My first answer to “How’s the Market?” is: “It’s Upside Down!”

It has been 18 years since I left the practice of law for a career as a headhunter. For 17 of those years, potential candidates were lined up at my door, emailing and calling regularly, hoping to get on my radar so that I could place them in a new position. We never had enough jobs for everyone who wanted them, and it was difficult to juggle candidates’ emotions and my own work day to stay focused on finding the right candidates for the positions I was hired to recruit for.

The last year (most notably over the last 4-6 months) has been a completely different story. My team and I spend most of our days knocking on candidates’ doors (sometimes trying to bang them down!), hoping to tell them about all of the great opportunities we’re handling. Pay attention to us! We have jobs! Don’t you want to hear about this cool company?!?

This phenomenon is even more pronounced in the Pye Legal Group world where we focus on placing lawyers in-house with companies. For most of my career, mid- to senior-associates at large law firms were extremely interested in moving in-house. With recent salary wars and retention bonuses, the pipeline from large law firms to in-house has completely shut down.

The Upside Down World is not limited to legal. Recruiters in all industries and corporate talent acquisition folks are stressed. But, we’ll keep knocking on doors until the right person answers!

Stacy Humphries is President of Pye Legal Group, an executive search firm that specializes in recruiting and placing legal and compliance professionals with corporations and law firms. Before her recruiting career, she was a lawyer with Vinson & Elkins and the Vice President of Legal Affairs for the Houston Rockets and Toyota Center.

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