Talent Scout Associates makes The Washington Post's list of Staffing and Personnel Firms servicing Top Secret America

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"We're not sure how we got on the list," states Talent Scout Associates owner / manager, Tim Behrens, "but it is fascinating that they picked our recruiting firm."  Big Brother is out there, and the news media is happy to report on it.  The "Top Secret America" Investigation, featured in July 2010, sought to disclose Federal Government Agencies and supporting Contractors involved in Top Secret work.  "We're flattered that they would consider us among much larger firms," Tim Behrens stated, "but we're not sure where they got their information.  For the time being, we remain almost amused by this published report, though we cannot confirm or deny its accuracy."

Job Markets opening up as companies push for Q4 Profits.

Many recruiters have noticed a spike in job orders during the latter half of Q2 and Q3 this year.  Many clients are ramping up to position themselves for a strong fourth quarter or are anticipating the roll-out of Government Contracts for this next Fiscal year.  Companies are 'cautiously optimistic.'  However, the positions they are trying to fill are generally niche positions.  And while some have reported the issue of having 40-200 applicants for one position - and the challenge of having to sift through all of that information - others know that the Top Talent they need are probably currently employed, working with one of their direct competitors.  Recruiters work where talent is low in supply and high in demand.  If you can run an ad and quickly fill your position, DO IT!  If your HR department is stretched thin and you're tired of wading through the flood of resumes of people who just don't fit, or if you have a niche position - looking for people who are hard to find for positions that are hard to fill - Engage the services of an Executive Recruiter.  It is often worth more than the financial investment.

But there's another side to the job markets...

People with good jobs are reluctant to make a change.

We've seen this lately more than ever.  Everyone has the jitters.  Compensation programs consist of far more than salary.  Bonus earnings, vacation, medical / dental / vision;  Would-be candidates are calculating out the exact dollar value of every incentive:  premiums, co-pay, 401K match.  Maybe free parking, childcare, or a health club membership.  The marketplace has become more competitive than ever.  Companies are hefting huge counter-offers to their top employees who would dare give notice and attempt to make a change.  They know what they are worth.

Meanwhile, salaries have not escalated.  Like the housing market, everything has taken a financial adjustment.  Companies and managers are often forced to do less with more.  It's been a bumpy ride.  Everyone in the company must contribute to make an impact and work to keep the company afloat.  Some companies have been thriving, others failing, most hanging in there - treading water, at times, but determined to make it through these waves.

One of the greatest challenges in attracting top talent to your team is attempting to offer the same person the same job at the same pay.  Why would someone want to come work for you, doing the same thing at the same pay?  In the past, we could typically leverage an 8-15% increase in base salary over what someone was making now to come work on your team, sometimes more.  Now we are lucky, in some cases, to squeak a 3-5% margin.  Companies are not doling out dollars.  And you can bet the counter-offer is going to be more.

This creates a dilemma, and a decision making process that Hiring Managers, Senior Executives, and CEO's must engage.  Not everything is equal.  The people you have now may be at a certain salary level.  To attract new talent - top talent - may require more.  You cannot afford to give everyone a raise.  And yet, if you want the people who are going to propel you forward - people with exact experience from your direct competitors - how are you going to attract them?  Think of trying to attract Shaquille O'Neil to your team.  There are several ways.

On the other hand, look at what you are offering will buy.  You are most likely going to have to make some concessions:  either ante up and be willing to invest what it takes to attract top talent to your team, offer a more rich incentive, vacation, or compensation package.  Or be willing to accept that what you are offering for the position will only buy a certain calibre of talent.  It may not be your A-players, but it might be a strong second-string, up-and-comers who, with some development, could become future stars.  The person may not have all the bells and whistles walking in the door, but the marketplace is very competitive.  Keep this in mind as you set out to attract top talent for your team.

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