Strike While the Iron Is Hot

Why top talent is the best investment in a volatile market

Michael Cunningham, January 31st, 2016

With the mar­kets in tur­moil and pri­vate invest­ing trend­ing down, hir­ing cau­tion may feel like the safe choice for tech com­pa­nies, but not nec­es­sar­i­ly the right one. With so many tan­gi­ble inno­va­tions at our fin­ger­tips, now is the time to invest in the right team and sur­pass the risk-averse competition.

Here’s why:

  • Broad­er pool of tal­ent
    With the com­pe­ti­tion mak­ing job cuts, an increase in M&A activ­i­ty, and oth­ers com­mit­ting to hir­ing freezes, there is sim­ply more avail­able tal­ent to choose from and a greater hunger in the can­di­date pool. One can­di­date I spoke to recent­ly had two oppor­tu­ni­ties he was inter­view­ing­for sim­ply van­ish in Jan­u­ary (he was told the hir­ing has been put on hold”).
  • A’ Play­ers rise to the top
    The best peo­ple become unset­tled in stag­nant envi­ron­ments that stray from inno­va­tion. So while some com­pa­nies bat­ten down the hatch­es and brace for the storm, their best tal­ent may decide to pur­sue oth­er oppor­tu­ni­ties that pro­pose bold­er strate­gies for success.
  • Fresh set of eyes
    To help a com­pa­ny get to the next lev­el, new per­spec­tives and alter­na­tive skillsets are help­ful in trans­form­ing strate­gies, espe­cial­ly when buy­ers are wearier.
  • Greater atten­tion in the search process
    It’s far less dif­fi­cult for com­pa­nies to grow when the mar­ket is good, but the best search firms are moti­vat­ed most by help­ing com­pa­nies trans­form dur­ing adverse con­di­tions. And with IT job growth slow­ing slight­ly, com­pa­nies are sure to get detailed con­sid­er­a­tion for each staffing search conducted.

The recent executive shake-up at Twitter is a good closing analogy to substantiate my point.

Where some see the sink­ing stock price and key lead­er­ship depar­tures as doom-and-gloom, Jack Dorsey sees oppor­tu­ni­ty. Three of the four depart­ing execs had been with Twit­ter for over five years, and Jack is meet­ing the crit­ics head on by going after heavy hit­ters who will bring fresh ideas to the com­pa­ny. With the quick addi­tion of for­mer AMEX CMO Leslie Berland and the immi­nent hire of sev­er­al oth­ers, don’t be sur­prised when the pen­du­lum swings back up in Twitter’s favor.

Michael Cunningham

Partner, Lonergan Partners

Specialties: Big Data, Cloud, IoT and Health-Tech


[email protected]

Michael Cunningham Portrait