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July 2009
The Price for Good People
by Susan Reynolds

An interesting but troublesome situation has transpired.  Prices are falling, not just for homes and cars, but for the talents of great people.  Job searchers have to tackle not only one of the toughest job markets they may ever address in their working careers, but they also have to grapple with incredibly dicey negotiations!

Here’s the deal.  Talent (yes, that’s you) is like any other marketable commodity.  As demand decreases, prices fall.  As demand increases, prices expand.  So the market price for a good data analyst, or a good controller, or a good sales VP has eroded.  Companies that have needs also have a great opportunity to pick up excellent talent for a comparatively low price.  But they’re scared.  They’re scared to bring on an individual who they are convinced will leave them the moment a larger compensation package is offered somewhere else.

So how to solve this stalemate?  Job searchers, be very specific in being able to enumerate the strengths and capabilities you bring to the table.  Speak in genuine terms about the results you predict if a company goes forward with you.  But what WILL you do if a better offer comes along in a few months?  Will you indeed stand by your word, and decline it, opting instead to stick with the company that brought you on board when the going was rough?

People are searching frantically for almost any job offer.  Family finances hang in the balance.  The ramifications of this market adjustment will obviously be evident for a number of years.  But please think twice about pursuing just ANY job.  The price for all parties involved may just be too high.

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at Newmarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search and career strategy firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers.  She can be reached at or

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