Early numbers for 2018 on the U.S. economy and jobs are in and they are eye popping. According to a recent CNBC article, unemployment stands at 4.1%, with 200,000 new jobs being created in January. Perhaps even more impressive is the 2.9% gain in wages. What does all this mean if you are job seeking or recruiting for talent? First, the good news. If you are in a position to consider improving your career situation, you will find the most friendly job market in over a decade. Further, for persons with skills in demand, a significant percentage will be empowered to ask for a meaningful raise when changing jobs. Of course, money should never be the top consideration over opportunity to learn new skills, advance in responsibility level or quality of life improvement. However, when such an opportunity is presented, it’s great to also be able to ask for a nice raise with reasonable expectation of success. If you’ve been in your current role for longer than 3 or 4 years, now would be an excellent opportunity to test the waters to see if you might be able to improve your career circumstances! Of course, good news for job candidates, is not always good news for employers. Hiring managers, their human resources business partners and recruiters are now facing the tightest candidate market in many years. Especially in technology, engineering, construction and manufacturing sectors, finding good people has never been more difficult. Why? Economics 101; supply and demand. There are many more jobs than available candidates. This is one reason we are seeing real increases in wages. If you are in hiring in one of these strong growth sectors, you need to get the right people in the right seat, FAST. When you find a good candidate, move aggressively through your screening and interview processes. You WILL have competition for this candidate. The longer your processes takes, the more competition you will have. Perhaps even more importantly the psychology of job seeking favors the fast. Companies that know what they want and move immediately are perceived as decisive, whereas long processes often take the emotional enjoyment out of the process for a job seeker. We are a ‘right now’ culture. People are conditioned to make quick decisions and seek timely responses. Circumstances in the job market right now are positively reinforcing that collective attitude. In short, if you want the best person, move fast and be generous in your compensation negotiations. Anything else will likely leave you with open requirements that seemingly take forever to fill.