SBA BDO, Banking, California

The Booming SBA BDO Market In California

SBA BDO, Banking, California

At Johnson Search Group, one of the areas we specialize in recruiting for is SBA Business Development Officers. As we talk with our clients and candidates, we understand the vital importance of small businesses within the California market. In 2015, California small businesses employed 7.0 million people or 48.8 percent of the private workforce. Since then, the labor market has only continued to grow!

Today, small businesses make up 99.8 percent of all companies in the state. And California’s GDP grew at a rate of 3.5 percent through the third quarter of 2018, outpacing the U.S. national growth rate of 3.4 percent. It’s no coincidence that San Jose, CA was named the 2nd top city for small businesses in 2019! While this growth is incredible for small business, it’s putting a strain on the SBA BDO talent market. And it’s causing fierce competition to hire qualified Business Development professionals. But what exactly is driving this growth?

Rapidly Advancing Technology

With the advancement of technology like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing, many small businesses are innovating how they work. Along with new technology comes lower barriers to entry. This makes it easier than ever for people to achieve their dream of starting a small business. High-tech companies make up nearly 12 percent of private-sector companies in San Jose, the highest concentration in the U.S., and almost three times higher than the national average. Just in the greater San Jose area, there are more than 6,600 technology-focused companies.

Diverse Workforce

In 2018, the top state for loan applications from women-owned businesses was California, with 13 percent. Nationwide, 1,821 new women-owned businesses were launched every day, with optimism the highest on record. Furthermore, women of color founded 64 percent of those businesses.

As of 2015, California boasted 1.6 million minority businesses. “California, Texas, New York, and Florida, the nation’s most populous states and home to nearly half of all minority residents, had the largest number of minority-owned businesses.”

Competition For Talent

While the entire U.S. is in a candidate-driven market right now, the competition is even more fierce in California. In a labor market this competitive, it requires more time and effort to fill critical positions with qualified talent. “Some entrepreneurs view the competitive labor market as an opportunity to improve their internal processes and position themselves advantageously for the future.” And while small businesses are forced to compete with large public companies, partnering with a recruiter can make a world of difference.

The recruiters at Johnson Search Group understand the markets you work in every day. In the SBA BDO space, we sympathize with your efforts to find great Business Development Officers. However, we also go a step further to immerse ourselves in the clients we partner with. So as your team hustles to keep up with the growing demand, we’ll be by your side providing the qualified talent you need to continue driving business.

How To Negotiate In A Candidate-Driven Market

How To Negotiate In A Candidate-Driven Market

How To Negotiate In A Candidate-Driven Market

You may have heard that the current job market is “candidate-driven,” but what exactly does that mean? First and foremost, it means that there are lots of great jobs available to a limited number of qualified candidates. For people looking to advance their careers, this results in better-negotiating power when it comes to wages, incentives, location, and work-life balance. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when negotiating a new position.

Be Timely

Just because we’re in a candidate-driven market now, doesn’t mean it will last forever. If you have been thinking about making a move, now is the time to jump! Your ideal companies can probably offer a better career trajectory, increased stability, or better work-life balance. Even if you’re fairly content in your current position, you should at least entertain the option of moving during a candidate-driven market, because you’ll have greater bargaining power.

Be Consistent

Make sure that you come in with a strong demand from the start and be sure to remain consistent the entire way through the hiring process. You can only negotiate so much more after they have given you an offer. The likelihood of the company pulling the offer is greater with every additional request you continue to tack on. Figure out your worth and must-have benefits early on in the process, so that when they ask “what’s your expected salary?” you have a great answer right off the bat.

Think Long-Term

Don’t limit your negotiation power to only salary. Ask for growth opportunities over the long term, instead of a salary increase. Oftentimes, paid time off is a better compromise for companies. They would much rather reallocate a few resources for an additional week while you take a relaxing vacation, returning to work feeling refreshed and productive.

Partner With A Recruiter

The absolute best thing you can do to negotiate in a candidate-driven market is to partner with a recruiter. They have a great overview of the industry, understand the market value of your position, and have the relationship with hiring managers in order to negotiate on your behalf. So the next time a recruiter contacts you on LinkedIn, sends you a newsletter, or gives you a call, be open to having a conversation. It just may lead to the best negotiation of your life!

candidate-driven market

Today’s Candidate-Driven Market

candidate-driven market

Nowadays, the landscape of finding and bringing top talent to your company and team, as well as keeping that talent, has changed.

Today’s market has moved into a very tight candidate-driven market that has not been seen in decades. And it has every indication of continuing that trend for years to come. Just in June alone, over 600,000 workers re-entered the workforce. For the first time in decades, there are more job openings than there are available candidates to fill them.

Therefore, there has been a significant increase in candidates who are passively looking for that next significant role in their career path. This is because they know they can get an increase in wages, incentives, location, and work-life balance due to the current market.

And because of that, the companies who’ve not taken steps to bring and/or retain the talent they desperately need are becoming increasingly frustrated.

Why companies are frustrated in this tight job market

The time to fill those open roles continues to climb. On average, it takes 36 days to fill an open position, from the day the position opens to accepted offer. This is causing employers great amounts of stress and forcing them to be more aggressive when pursuing candidates.

The cost to leave a role vacant is increasing, especially those critical roles. Those that are left to cover the open roles are beginning to suffer from burn out; employees are being asked to do more with less and work longer hours. As a result, great employees are leaving to pursue other opportunities that offer better pay and work-life balance.

Companies are dealing with roles being open longer, some over a year. Hiring managers start seeing more resumes that don’t meet their qualifications for certain jobs. They often stop receiving resumes through the company portals at all. And because of these issues, the human resource departments are overwhelmed with the task of filling open roles as well as perform their day-to-day duties.

Get the help you need

Companies are starting to reach out to outside firms to assist in their candidate searches. We help them find and place highly skilled and qualified candidates. This way they can stop worrying about their open positions and start focusing on their own jobs.

We have seen an increase in candidates that are passively looking for a career change and want our help. We connect with skilled and great candidates every day and those relationships are something we pride ourselves with. If your company is having a tough time acquiring (and retaining) top talent, let’s have a conversation and see what we can do for you.

We can help with both. Let’s work together.

candidate-driven market

It’s a Candidate-Driven Market, But I Still Don’t Have a Job

candidate-driven market

With the current employment reports showing that there are more job openings than available bodies to fill them, why haven’t you gotten any offers? You feel that the interviews have gone well, or you believe that you have a great resume. However, you’re getting no calls for interviews. Are the analysts out of their minds?!

Let’s tackle the resume subject first. With the current candidate-driven market, many organizations are moving to software for the initial resume screening. If you don’t have the proper keywords or if your keywords are listed only as acronyms, you could be getting passed over because of alphabet soup.

Beating the bots

For example, using the terms “patient care” and “healthcare” interchangeably on your resume. Why take up valuable real estate on a resume with redundant verbiage? Application tracking systems don’t always know how to translate. The program is simply looking for the keywords, not the acronym designations. If you don’t have the right keywords, you may simply be filtered out of consideration.

Another common misconception is that if the summary at the top of the resume states that you have, say, 20 years in IT Compliance, but in the ‘duties’ outlined in your detailed work history, it doesn’t show where you acquired that experience. Even if you are an IT Director, you will probably get a pass.

Other ideas on resume writing are spelled out in articles by Luc MacKenzie and Krista Portolesi that you may find helpful.

Unsuccessful interview results or none at all

For no interviews at all, some possible reasons to consider:

  • Are you a job hopper? If this is the case, you may want to stay put for a little longer to add some longevity to your background.
  • Are you aiming too high? Do you think that because a position has been open for quite some time, they will hire anyone?
  • The job description says one thing, they may be looking for something else entirely.

For no offers post-interview:

  • Could it not be the right fit for the team?
  • Is it an attitude that you portray during interviews?
  • Did you come in with giving the impression that you think you’re ‘all that and a bag of chips?’ There is a fine line between “I got this” and “You will be lucky to have me.”
  • Are you all about the money?
  • Do you cross the line between confident and arrogant?
  • Is the employer all about community and you don’t get involved?
  • Did you make it all about you, and not about them in the interview?
  • Are you fully prepared with all the latest interview tools?

These are all common reasons we hear from hiring managers who pass on talented candidates. And while there is a labor shortage, the current tight market also means they don’t want to hire someone and then replace them shortly after they start because it was the wrong fit. There are many resources available today, and one of them is certainly using a highly skilled recruiting and staffing firm to submit you for the right position and prepare you with the latest in interview trends. Whatever the reason, maybe it’s time to talk to a professional.

Why Back To School Time For Kids Means Back To Job Searching For You

Why Back To School Time For The Kids Means Back To Job Searching For You

Summer is coming to an end, which means that back to school time is upon us. For parents, this can be a painful time. It’s hard to watch your youngest go off to school for the first time, hard to send the kiddos back after a long summer of bonding, and for some, it’s hard that it didn’t happen sooner. For those in the workforce, back to school time also means a great opportunity to start thinking about a new job. Here are 4 reasons why it’s the perfect time to make a move to the next step in your career.

1. Fall is rejuvenating. As the great F. Scott Fitzgerald once coined, “life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” This season seems to bring the life back into people, as it cools down and nature really shows off all of its best colors and wonders. Whether you’ve been stuck in the same job for years, aren’t feeling passionate about your role, or aren’t connecting to your companies mission, take this change in seasons to really contemplate what you want.

2. It’s the perfect time to settle into a new opportunity before the holidays. Holiday schedules are always hectic, making it nearly impossible to search for a job let alone contemplate what you might want that to look like. If you find that new position now, you can be comfortable and stress-free by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, allowing you to focus on family and other important things. Plus, it’s a great way to get a jump start in accomplishing those new years resolutions!

3. Hiring Managers are looking to max out their hiring budgets. As we quickly approach year end, hiring managers have budgets left to hire. This means that there are more opportunities and they are paying top dollar for great candidates. After the new year, companies will be resetting their budgets and spending conservatively, so now is the time to get the edge.

4. The candidate driven market is in full force. Candidates are in control of the job market. This means that what you might not have been able to ask for in the past (a pay raise, an extra week of vacation, etc.) you have full power to request. Of course, that’s within reason, but at least you can job search confidently knowing that your needs will be considered.

When You're Reviewing Resumes, Here's What You Should Focus On

When You’re Reviewing Resumes, Here’s What You Should Focus On

When You're Reviewing Resumes, Here's What You Should Focus On

Every company wants to hire top candidates, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. We are currently in a candidate-driven market, meaning that the best talent is snagging two or three offers at a time – making it extremely competitive for employers. So how can you discover the “diamonds in the rough” early on in the process to secure the best candidates on the market? Look for these things when you’re reviewing resumes:

  1. Qualifications

This may seem like a given, but there’s more to it. Think about your absolute must-haves for this position. There should be less than 5 non-negotiables. If you go through resumes trying to check off every single thing listed on the job description, you will miss out on those *almost* completely qualified candidates. As long as someone has your non-negotiables, most candidates can learn the other stuff pretty quickly. Plus, you get the bonus of being able to train your specific style and invite new ideas as they learn.

  1. Relevant Industry Keywords

Of course, you want to hire someone who has experience in your industry. So, even if a candidate hasn’t been in this specific role, keep an eye out for relevant roles. Titles and levels can vary so much, you may be looking at someone who is a lot more qualified than you think.

  1. Key Soft Skills

More and more employers are placing higher importance on soft skills, as they should be. While you can train and educate on many job skills, you cannot teach an employee to work well on a team and communicate effectively. While a candidate’s resume might not have a laundry list of soft skills, you can pick up on them throughout their job descriptions. Look for things like teamwork, communication, organization, and creativity.

  1. Career Advancement

If you’re truly trying to find that “diamond in the rough,” don’t focus on the actual positions a candidate has held, but instead the trajectory that they have made throughout their career. Have they worked their way up the career ladder? This could be noted by title promotions, measurable achievements, or growth in responsibilities.

Thinking About Changing Jobs? Now Is The Perfect Time, recruiting, recruiter, Johnson Search Group, competition,, perfect timing,

Thinking About Changing Jobs? Now Is The Perfect Time

Thinking About Changing Jobs? Now Is The Perfect Time

With new changes in administration and regulations, the job market has been phenomenal in 2017, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down.  If you have been contemplating making a move, now is a perfect time. And if you’re the type of person who needs it spelled out for you in order to properly weigh the pros and cons… let’s break it down:

1. There are more jobs than qualified people.

We are in the midst of one of the best candidate-driven markets in our time. Companies are only getting a handful of qualified candidates applying to their open positions, so they have to work twice as hard to get the best talent through their doors. If you are highly skilled and even passively looking for a new position, you are highly valued in the market.

2. There’s less competition.

In the age of extravagant perks and employee retention, companies are doing everything in their power to avoid losing staff to the competition. So as companies do more to ensure their employee’s happiness, fewer people are on the job market.

3. You can take advantage of these new employee engagement initiatives

When companies are more desperate to capture top talent, they offer better work-life balance, higher pay, and more comprehensive benefits to try to stay competitive. We are constantly seeing and hearing things from hiring managers that they are willing to make pretty big concessions to get the right talent.

4. Companies are focusing on fewer “must-haves.” Gone are the days of mile-long must-have lists on job descriptions. Instead, employers are narrowing their focus on a handful of deal-breaker requirements and incorporating a little bit of flexibility on the rest. It is important to note, however, that you must be an SME (Subject Matter Expert) in the “must-haves” or they will continue to look.

As a recruiter, it’s fascinating to watch this unfold from a front-row point of view. I believe we are poised to continue the candidate-driven market for the remainder of the year and into 2018 as well, barring any major catastrophes. So, if you have been contemplating what a career move should look like, you should take a recruiter’s call next time and talk with them about what is happening in the market. You might be surprised at what you learn!


How To Retain Your Company's Biggest Asset - Your Employees, client resources, Johnson Search Group, people, reach, hire, employees, employers,

How To Retain Your Company’s Biggest Asset – Your Employees

How To Retain Your Company's Biggest Asset - Your Employees

In a candidate-driven market, employers are finding it more and more difficult to retain their employees. At this point, you need to keep employees feeling engaged or watch your top talent go to the dark side and get hired by your competitors. Knowing how expensive turnover can be for your company, it’s important to focus on keeping and fulfilling your current team, in addition to taking advantage of the job market and hiring new A-players. Here are a few things you can do to minimize turnover on your team:

Fork Out The Cash

Forecast the budget and bottom line and when you are profitable, reward your employees with wage hikes and/or bonus incentives.

Increase Employee Time Off

Be the kind of employer that understands that most employees value time off as a reward. Give perceptible accolades and come up with incentives for work/life balance

Give Reviews

Conduct reviews in a constructive way, highlighting employee attributes as well as shortcomings. Set achievable goals and benchmarks for those goals.

Be The SME (Subject Matter Expert) On Your Employees

Take the time to get to know everyone on a personal level. If you don’t know the names of your employees spouses, significant others, or children, then shame on you!

Mandatory Fun Days

Even the United States Army utilizes off-site work parties to promote cohesion. Events help leadership project a team mentality and at company expense, it shows a value and investment in staff members.

Eliminate Office Gossip

Keep the gossiping to a zero level in the office, especially if you are in a Managerial role. Do not partake in talking negatively about anyone. It will create an unproductive environment and foster division among your team.

Showcase Opportunities

Work is life, so give every opportunity possible for those who excel and want to continue improving. Recognize that advancement and professional growth is rewarding to your company.

Check Your “Dictator Attitude” At The Door

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Statements such as, “because I said so,” “because I’m the boss, ” or “do not think above your paygrade,” will destroy original thought and independent ideas and create and Us. Them mindset.

Be The Example

Never come to work irritable or frustrated. Remember, you set the tone for the entire team. Attitude reflects leadership, so always project confidence and pride in what you are doing because you control the atmosphere of the whole office.

Why Companies Have Trouble Hiring in A Candidate-Driven Market

Why Your Company Is Missing Out On The Best Candidates

Why Companies Have Trouble Hiring in A Candidate-Driven Market

There are 5.788 million job openings across the United States – all of which hope to be filled with the top talent on the job market today. That’s a lot of competition, and you’re probably feeling the burden of it when you lose those highly-sought after candidates to other companies. You might stop and wonder, what are we doing wrong? How can we get better? Well, I’m here to help with that. I’m sharing some of the major reasons that companies lose top candidates, and how they can improve in the future.

Slow Hiring Process

The first problem I aim to tackle with my clients is a slow hiring process. Most companies have a slow process for hiring, and they don’t even realize how much it’s hurting them. You can easily streamline the process by allowing direct and frequent communication between the recruiter and hiring manager, and cutting out unnecessary steps like second phone interviews, Skype interviews, etc. And the hiring process doesn’t end with interviews! Be sure to make an offer as quickly as possible after the interview.

Not Offering Market Value Compensation Packages

Speaking of offers, it is absolutely essential that you do research on this position and what the average salary for it is in your area. (Here are some great resources to help you do that!) Depending on the criticality of the position, the experience of the candidate, and how many other companies they are interviewing with, you may want to offer significantly stronger than the average. If you come in with your best offer right off the bat, you have a much higher chance of landing the top talent you need.

Not Pursuing Talent In Local Markets

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “right under your nose,” and let me tell you, that’s often where the best candidates are. Most HR departments are set up to receive active candidates, meaning people who seek out the job listing and apply for it. When you partner with a third-party recruiter (like me), I pursue what we call “passive” candidates, those who aren’t actively looking but might be open to the right opportunity. This requires a lot of legwork and research on competitors, skill sets, and trends, but the payoff can be huge in getting those high-caliber candidates. Not to mention, it can speed up the process because it requires less travel for interviews AND candidates are more likely to be an immediate cultural fit if they’re from the area.

So, there you have it. The three biggest issues companies run into when hiring in a candidate-driven market. Have you experienced these issues at your organization? Let me know!


Is Your Hiring Process on Autopilot?

Is Your Hiring Process On Autopilot?

Is Your Hiring Process on Autopilot?

Have you ever been driving home after work with your mind wandering and not paying attention to anything around you and you suddenly end up in your driveway. It’s a scary feeling when you snap back to reality, realizing that your subconscious was on autopilot making every turn you’ve made so many times without having to think about it. There are so many different scenarios that could have disrupted my autopilot, turning this routine drive home into a complete disaster. A mind on autopilot can be a dangerous thing when operating a car, heavy equipment, or even an aircraft, and yet we are continually overtaken by the mundane repetitiveness and we allow it to happen.

Autopilot extends into many facets of our lives. We get set in a process that works and just coast. As I talk with clients about their hiring processes, I am shocked with how many companies rely on an automated hiring process to get candidates in their doors. Did you know that it is now taking US businesses an average of 29.3 working days to fill a job opening?

While there are a couple different explanations as to why the job vacancy duration is so high, when you boil it down it comes back to one thing: an autopilot hiring process. Also known as the common (but despised) phrase, “Well we’ve always done it this way.”

Is Your Hiring Process on Autopilot?

There are many factors that affect how you search for and hire a candidate, and they are constantly changing, pushing you to get off autopilot. Here are the ones that are currently affecting the time to fill and the difficulty that companies are facing in hiring qualified people:

Candidate-Driven Market

The concept of a candidate-driven market has been reiterated across the internet this year, yet many companies choose to ignore it and lose out on top candidates. In 2016, candidates are receiving multiple offers in a short period of time, and they are not waiting 15 to 30 days for a job offer.

Succession Planning

The baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age and leaving the workforce in droves. This movement has been deemed “The Silver Tsunami.” A vast majority of companies did not examine the long-term and have not planned for the proper succession of their workforce. This combined with the job-hopping habits of young Millennials has left organization scrambling to rebuild their teams.


Downsizing is occurring across the country in many different industries. Whether due to poor market performance, automation technology, or new government regulations, companies are trimming the fat across all departments. When employees hear even the hint of a rumor regarding downsizing, they jump ship to ensure career stability. This can leave a critical gap in the company’s infrastructure.

“Check the Box” Recruiting

When your HR team is considering candidates, do they simply examine their resume to make sure they “check the boxes” on the job requirements? If so, you’re missing a huge opportunity to asses candidates for soft skills and culture fit up front rather than getting through two rounds of interview only to find that this candidate is not ideal for this position or team.

Leaving your hiring process on autopilot will cause you to FAIL when faced with these hiring obstacles. In order to land the A+ talent that your team so critically needs, replace autopilot with an agile recruiting process. Or better yet, let JSG take the helm!