Executive Recruiter on Ecommerce Jobs Mid-2023

Harry Joiner launched his ecommerce recruiting firm in 2005. He has witnessed predictable market fluctuations since. Early 2008 was bad, he says. Seemingly no ecommerce company was hiring. The onset of Covid was equally bad.

But 2023? “It’s a zoo,” he says. “There’s probably two or three times more candidates than jobs.”

Joiner and I last spoke in December 2022. Given the current tech employment upheaval, I asked him for an update. Here’s that interview.

The entire audio of our conversation is embedded below. The transcript is condensed and edited for clarity.

Kerry Murdock: What is the state of ecommerce employment in mid-2023?

Harry Joiner: It’s a zoo. Great candidates are complaining that their job search is taking too long, and I think that’s because companies are using LinkedIn’s Easy Apply function on their postings. It’s easy to apply for a job with that feature, and companies are getting hundreds of candidates — 300-400 within 72 hours. And that’s leading to paralysis by overwhelm.

It’s a very cluttered space out there now, given that there are full-time and part-time executives, interim folks, and fractional and project-based consultants. There are probably two or three times more candidates than jobs.

Murdock: Do all job postings flow through LinkedIn these days?

Joiner: LinkedIn has 900 million individual profiles. That’s roughly 13% of the world’s population. I see candidates get hired with no resume other than a LinkedIn profile. I haven’t seen a candidate get hired in the last 10 years without a LinkedIn profile. Not a single instance.

Murdock: Are employers looking for a particular ecommerce skillset?

Joiner: With ecommerce resumes, we look at three areas of expertise on behalf of our clients. There’s direct-to-consumer marketing and demand generation. Then there’s DTC technology and operations. And third is Amazon and third-party marketplace experience. I look for candidates with significant accomplishments in at least one of those areas. I can usually tell from their LinkedIn profile if they can drive value for my client.

Murdock: What about remote work versus in-office?

Joiner: It seems fewer positions are remote because everybody’s applying for those roles. Everybody wants to work from their kitchen table. There are plenty of jobs suitable for remote work. Search engine optimization is a good example. Customer acquisition, for the most part, can be done remotely.

But general management positions typically need to be in an office, given the number of interactions and tasks.

Murdock: You launched your firm in 2005. Has there been more of a zoo than now?

Joiner: The first six months of 2008 were worse. The early Covid period was worse. But the situation now is crazy — a chronic sort of crazy that will not likely go away. There’s remote work, partially remote, contract work, and a dynamically changing economy. We’re starting to see the effects of artificial intelligence, for example.

But, conversely, there’s never been a better time to start an ecommerce business given the available, affordable tools and consumers’ online shopping habits. But the ease of entry means there’s never been more competition.

Murdock: You mentioned AI. Can you elaborate?

Joiner: Many ecommerce companies are experimenting with it, but I haven’t seen AI displace anybody yet. However, I’ve seen companies pull back on hiring to take a wait-and-see attitude.

Murdock: Are ChatGPT prompt operators an up-and-coming profession?

Joiner: There’s no substitute for human insight — it’s the thing that separates the A players from everybody else in the marketplace.

ChatGPT is a miracle. But you can’t take the first thing it gives you and take it to the market or submit it to your boss. Everybody is going for that easy answer. But easy answers aren’t differentiating. In the future, the money will be in thoughtful differentiation.

Murdock: Where can listeners get a hold of you?

Joiner: They can visit or redirects to my LinkedIn profile.

Kerry Murdock
Kerry Murdock
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