Tuesday, November 25, 2003


Just had a very frustrating phone call with a recruiter I had been working with to get a job in the suburb of Vernon Hills. This burb is about two hours away from my home. The position sounds very promising and the pay could be close to what I used to make. However, due to the distance of the company, I would want to hopefully negotiate flex-time to avoid the traffic. I mentioned this to the recruiter and he was like "whoa--you wouldn't want to discuss this with a potential employer" and "you wouldn't want to be asking for special consideration because it's a buyer's market." I understand he's trying to give me advice about getting a job in this economy and I think he's just being honest about how this may sound to a company. However, this is not exactly a normal situation. This job is like two hours away. Even if I did not negotiate anything with this company for flextime, it would be a mistake because what would end up happening is that I would eventually quit. If a company is inflexible enough not to be concerned about their employee's needs, it is not going to get the top talent--regardless of the "buyer's market."

Anyway, I guess this bothers me more because I am undecided about whether to proceed with the entrepreneur thing. I see getting a job as having income while I am setting this up. The recruiter thinks that since I am unemployed, I should take the job because it is good for my career. I think what is ultimately good for my career is if I am happy.

The recruiter told me that he's been in this business for 19 years and that he knows what's going on in this economy. He's implying that I should be willing to bend over backwards for employers. Well, my take on this is that as long as a company doesn't care about its employees, it will never hold on to the top talent and ultimately this means that it will be less competitive and productive. I believe that if I am the best person for the job, then we should work together to come to an agreement on what's best for both of us.

Anybody out there in HR care to illuminate this for me? Is it better to get the right candidate and work with their needs? Or will anyone with qualifications will do? What about the "buyer's market"?

"People are the primary source of competitive advantage. At the end of the day we bet on people, not strategies."
- Jack Welch , former CEO of GE

"If we don’t get the people thing right, we lose; it is the most important thing in all our businesses."
- Jack Welch