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Star Employee

So I was reading an article from HR blogger Steve Boese the other day that suggested companies should market the opportunity to work for a great1. Presumably only when applicable.boss to candidates in their job ads. 1

You can read the full article in the link above, but specifically Boese says:

Just once I’d like to see a job ad that said something like – “Look you can get an accounting job anywhere. Take this accounting job, and you’ll learn from the best Division Controller our organization has ever had, who has placed her last 4 lead accountants in bigger and better roles in the company. This gal is a star, and she will get the best out of you.”

I initially disagreed with the idea – who would choose to work at a company based on who their boss is?

Then I thought about it and realized – I did.

Coming out of B-School I had several job offers. I waited until I heard back from every company I interviewed with to make a decision (and declined a couple of offers in instances where the employer wouldn’t extend the deadline).

Once I had all of this information in front of me I considered several factors:


Base Salary

Sign on Bonus


Company Brand Name

Stability (I wanted to work for an organization in strong financial shape)

The ability to work at corporate HQ (I wanted my first role to be at corporate so that I could understand the company culture and network with the right people)

I remember considering each company on each one of these factors, and then I made a decision.

The company I chose started me at corporate HQ (which I wanted), but they were a business to business firm without a lot of brand equity compared against the (household) names of the other companies I received offers from. The salary was nearly 25% below the largest offer I received, and there 2. And with student loans from two masters degrees I needed that money.was no sign on bonus. 2 The location wasn’t fantastic either.

Question Mark

Why did I sign with them?

The reason had everything to do with something I didn’t even have on my list of decision factors:

After I’d finished interviewing and received offers (or in some cases rejections), I mostly communicated with the recruiters at the various firms sourcing each respective position. They followed up to see if I was going to accept, and in a couple of cases even improved the initial offer without my prompting. One hiring manager reached out to follow up with me, but she was the exception.

On the other hand, two Human Resources Vice Presidents from the company I eventually signed with called to see if I would be joining the organization. They didn’t offer more money (and I asked), but their actions during the offer window hinted at the promise they’d made during the interview process that if I came to work there I would be working with the most senior HR leaders in the organization (one of which I reported directly up to).

This all mattered to me – a lot.

Why, you ask?

Because I wanted to think like an executive.

I wanted to pick their brains – learn from senior leaders. That opportunity was 3. Even after doing a time value of money calculation. worth something to me that a moderate sum of cash 3 and a nice city couldn’t provide for me.

See, I wasn’t thinking about my first job out of B-School when I made the decision on what company to sign with – I was thinking about the job after.

So this makes me think Steve Boese might be on to something.

After all, while many employees do leave their current roles for better 4. Alison Green touches on this in an article I think every young professional should read.opportunities, most employees that leave an organization quit their boss. 4

If an employee will leave a company because of his/her boss, is it fair to say that the right candidate might join a company because of the opportunity to 5. This touches on issues of employee engagement and employee brand equity (yes, I said employee not employer) that I want to talk about in later posts.work for a great boss? 5

I did, but am I an outlier or are many companies missing a huge opportunity here?

Share your thoughts below.



If you have questions about something you’ve read here (or simply want to connect) you can reach me at any of the following addresses: 

SomethingDifferentHR@gmail.com OR rorytrotter86@gmail.com