Who’s On First

Q: I’ve been reading a lot about how this is an employers’ market, how they have the upper hand, and are directing employment. What does that mean for job hunters? It makes me nervous to think that I’ll have to sell my soul to keep a job or even get one. The thought of it already makes me defensive when I walk in for interviews. — via the Internet

A: It is an employers’ market, and although that term suggests exploitation of employees, it also means that employers have to be more stringent about hiring. They are charged with getting the right person for the job because they really can’t afford to make hiring mistakes (see “The High Cost of Turnover,” Powerplay, this issue).

“With the dotcom explosion of the early 1990s, companies would take square peg employees and fit them into round holes,” explains Dexter Bridgeman, CEO of Diversified Communications Group Inc., a diversity management consultant company in New York City. “Today the entire cost of integration is greater, so companies want employees with the absolute right fit.”

But nothing is ever one-sided. Applicants should make sure a potential position is one where they will fit comfortably and be able to make significant contributions. The work environment is going to require it. Job seekers feel pressured to say yes to anything if they think it will result in getting hired. And some may have the temperament and the flexibility to manage a less-than-supportive work environment until the tide changes. But if you’re experiencing trepidation before you even interview, I would suggest you focus on the jobs or opportunities that fit your expertise and your experience, even if you have to wait a little longer. Otherwise, the stress isn’t worth it.

Mail your career development questions to: Since You Asked, BLACK ENTERPRISE, 130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011, or send an e-mail to alleynes@blackenterprise.com.

ACROSS THE WEB