Dear Matt: I’ve been reading about this being a candidate-driven market. What does that mean and what should job seekers do to take advantage of it?

Matt says: The Recruiter Sentiment Survey conducted by MRI Network in December 2014 stated that 83 percent of recruiters understand the power has shifted to the candidate. That has continued in 2015. When the job seeker has the power, that is a candidate-driven market.

“Professionals with in-demand skills simply do not remain available for very long,” says Paul McDonald of staffing firm Robert Half ( “Companies that drag their feet will lose out.”

Kyle Krzmarzick, Vice President in the Minneapolis office of RCM Technologies, Inc. (, a provider of business and technology solutions, agrees.

“If we have a solid developer, project manager or security professional, we can normally create interest with our clients fairly quickly,” says Krzmarzick.

A candidate-driven market is a good time for individual job seekers to focus in on a specific company they would like to work for, says Krzmarzick. For example, if Krzmarzick knows a candidate would like to work for “ABC Company” he can spend time researching the jobs they have posted and connecting with people who have or do work there.

“All this can help position you in front of the next person, who is simply just applying online,” says Krzmarzick. “Recruiters also like working with candidates who are specific. It means they can review their relationships at those target companies.”

What does all of this mean for today’s job seeker? For active candidates, be ready to move fast. Employers are going to want to interview and hire to fill open or in-demand positions. Make sure your résumé is updated, your LinkedIn profile is polished and you are ready to interview. Think about what it would take to accept a new job and understand what is important to you (salary, benefits, company culture, work-life balance). For passive candidates — those employed but open to learning about new opportunities — now is the time to do a job search audit. Is your résumé updated? Do you have an accurate LinkedIn profile? What would you do if a recruiter contacted you about a job opening? Don’t wait until it’s too late, because the prepared candidate may be the one who gets hired over you.

Candidates may appear to be in the driver’s seat, but no job search is effective without a plan. “My number one job search tip this time of year is to maintain a consistent effort throughout the summer,” says St. Paul-based career coach Karen Kodzik ( “My biggest concern is that with all the talk of a candidate-driven market, job seekers become complacent and don’t take seriously the importance of preparing for the job search.”

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