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On Whose Terms?

Attitude counts for a lot in job searching.


Employment relationships, like all relationships, usually come with expectations from both sides. Sometimes, realtors or managers have a sense of entitlement, proclaiming that since they are paying the salary, the employment terms should be based entirely on their needs and wishes. On the flip side, candidates often feel that if the realtor wants to hire them, that the employment terms should be totally focused on their requirements.

What both sides need to understand is that it can’t be one or the other. Like all relationships, the union of two individuals or organizations needs to be mutually beneficial and a win-win for both parties, otherwise it starts out as and continues to be an oppressive relationship for one or the other.

Recently, I came across a candidate who was extremely rigid and had a very inflexible attitude vis-à-vis available roles. She was only interested if the job paid X amount of dollars, if it only required her to fulfill one title—instead of wearing many hats—had a work day of 9-5 without any delays or additional demands, had to  include benefits, and had to be within a certain geographic area.

Now, you might be thinking that she’s well within her rights to ask for what she wants and, technically, that’s true. But she is unhappy in her current place of employment, and were she to get everything on her wish list, would probably be unhappy in the next place as well, due largely to her own attitude. Happiness doesn’t come from getting what you want, as anyone with kids will attest to, but rather with being content with what you have.

In reality, her current salary is on the upper end of the pay scale for someone with her experience and talent. The various hats she has had to wear only enhance her profile as a desirable candidate, versus if she had only fulfilled front desk duties, which is what she was hired to do.

Even with a reality check, I most likely won’t submit this candidate to any of my clients, not because she lacks experience or skill, but mainly because of her rigid and inflexible attitude towards employers and the roles they are looking to fill.

On the flip side, I’ve worked with clients that are completely inflexible when it comes to the terms of employment and won’t even consider what might be a very reasonable request from a potential candidate. Very often, these situations feel like ‘no-win’ ones, as it is almost inevitable that someone will be unhappy at the end of the hiring transaction.

As a recruiter, choosing not to represent someone or a client is a hard position to take: we want, as a rule, to help everyone that we can. What helps for everyone is an open mind and a willing ‘can do’ attitude. These can count for a lot when it comes to finding the right fit, on both sides.

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