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The Home Office: How to Make it Work Issue: #31
October 2006: The Home Office: How to Make it Work


The Home Office: How to Make it Work October 2006

Working from home is a situation that many people desire. The lure of working in your sweat pants, replying to emails in your bathrobe, and talking to clients while sunbathing by the pool, are just some perks that seem to attract numerous people to the work-at-home lifestyle. Although there are many advantages to working from home, the disadvantages are just at abundant. You have to deal with garbage men and their noisy truck, telemarketers calling all afternoon, young kids playing or crying in the room next to your office, or any number of other distractions.

When you are fortunate enough to have a position that allows you to work from home, you must be able to balance out those things, and keep a firm line between personal and work time. Here are some helpful hints to having a productive home office. 1) Have an actual office where you can go in, close the door, and have the requisite quiet to be professional and focused when dealing with clients and customers. There are few things that make you look more unprofessional than asking a client to hold while you quiet a screaming baby, or have someone out front repeatedly ringing your doorbell. 2) Set limits to your availability to family and friends during work hours. You can get much more work done when you have several hours blocked off to get your tasks complete. 3) Be ready to wear multiple hats. When you work from home, you must be able to go from "creative mode" to "detail-oriented" in an instant. You must have the ability to file, and keep your workspace clean and tidy, while also being productive, and organized.

If you are just starting out working from a home office, keep these 3 things in mind when setting up your home-based office, and you will be on your way to running a successful operation in your house shoes.

Consultants: Proving Your Worth

As a recruiter, I see tons of resumes where people have been working as an independent consultant several different times during their careers. Many resumes come to me where the candidate has been at a large company then went into consulting for a couple years. Directly after that, they have a run with another corporate entity, then back to consulting. The two major problems with this sort of work history are the "job-hopping" and the "success factor."

The job-hopping only comes into play when the work history is sporadic; a year consulting, then 2 years at a company, followed by another stint of consulting. This type of history tells recruiters that this person has not been the most successful entrepreneur or corporate professional, and this of course, throws up a big red flag. Another thing the consulting background usually tells a recruiter, is the consulting time, is merely times when the candidate was unemployed, and just covering the absence of a stable career.

Some things to remember when you are looking for work after being a consultant is that you must be able to verify your success as a consultant. If you are working in the consulting field for a consulting company (like IBM), you are a far more attractive candidate than someone who did it independently. If you did work as a freelance consultant, you need to be sure to have your work clearly detailed on your resume along with companies you worked with, the type of project you worked on, and some measurable results that show you were actually working and earning a living doing so. Also, be prepared to provide information on how much you earned during those times, to back up your consulting achievements.

If you can produce client lists, W-2 (1099) forms supporting your success, and you can verify your accomplishments, then you shouldn't have much trouble convincing a skeptical recruiter of your true value and worth.

Negotiations: Get What You Want

Placing candidates is the lifeblood of any recruiter. To make money in this business, you must have the savvy to work around client and candidate objections, deal with counter offers, and help all parties involved to reach the most balanced offer for everyone involved. The big "X-factor" in these deals is usually the candidate. Candidates are put in a position of power through the recruiting process, because typically, it's the client who is in need of the candidate more than it is the other way around. When a company hires a recruiter to fill positions, they are broadcasting that they are hungry for talent, and they are willing to pay a pretty penny to get it.

With that being said, it is important for the candidate to know this, and to also try to negotiate for the best agreement possible. Companies are looking for good people. They understand that every offer can be countered, and for everything they give, they should expect something in return. These clients want the candidates to counter, they expect them to try to get the best situation for themselves.

This negotiation shows the client that once the person is working for them, this process will be indicative of the candidate's skills and talents they will put to use for their new employer.

Many clients and recruiters gauge this skill as part of the interview process and should carry the proper value to the candidate.


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