I have been in recruiting for over two decades and there is no question about it; this is a candidate driven market. The most sought-after candidates don't stay on the market long, they are receiving multiple offers and counter-offers and many times significant pay hikes in the process.
If you are a high performing candidate willing to entertain another opportunity, the equation appears to be simple, find a role that is better than your current position, and wait until you find it, or it comes along. This is a great market to be in, but it won’t always be this way, the employment market moves in cycles with the economy.
So you hear from a recruiter who has a role for you that sounds great and is everything you want in a career move. Take a careful look at the opportunity and make sure it's not dressed-up to be better for you when it may not be. More than often, the things that a recruiter or hiring manager think are better for you don't matter to you personally. It is essential at this stage to think through what better means to you holistically, rather than merely looking at a compensation range and a job description. It may sound pretty good at first, but it may be no more than a lateral move or worse, a step-down from what you have now.
Review the details of your current compensation package and compare. Is the role you are being presented truly better? Maybe the base salary is higher, but the potential for a bonus is significantly lower. When is your next pay-based review? If the process takes a while and you receive an increase in your current role, how will that reflect what the offer should be? What does the benefits package look like? If relocation is required, will the relocation assistance cover your needs? If you are relocating to your new area what is the difference in cost of living? How does this reflect in the salary?
Dig even deeper. What do you like about your current role? What don't you like? What does a better opportunity mean? Do you want to do more hands-on work rather than scheduling or reporting? It may be that you want to take on more responsibility and you feel limited in your current role. Have you just stopped learning and growing and that's an integral part of who you are? It may be that you no longer feel the company culture is a fit for you? Or it may have more to do with your personal situation rather than your work. Perhaps you have aging parents you are taking care of and want to move closer. That's ok too. Define what's better for you and stick to your guns when recruiters present you with opportunities.
A good recruiter is a good listener and wants what is best for both the client and candidate alike. Understanding what a candidate's needs and preferences are is just as important as understanding what a client’s needs and preferences are. Armed with in-depth knowledge of both parties leads to a good match. The hiring process is a two-way street where both client and candidate are enriched by the change the way they hoped for and more. Good recruiters know there needs to be a sense of gain from both sides otherwise they are at high risk of having a candidate not accept an offer, or worse accept an offer and find out the move wasn't right for all parties involved.
These are amazing times of change and growth, I have seen many candidates who have thrived by carefully reflecting on what they want in their next career move and taking on exciting opportunities that have a positive impact on their professional and personal lives. I am in no way suggesting that you should be overly cautious when looking at making a change, anything with a reward requires some risk and requires courage. However, I am suggesting that you take the time to know what you want in your next career move, ask a lot of questions, review the details, and seize the right opportunity when it comes your way.