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May 27, 2003
Firms Seek Employees with a Customer's Worldview
Employers are mining their customer base for new employees and seeking workers who are adept at viewing business from the end-user's perspective, according to a report in the Boston Globe. These firms say employees who can view business from the customer's viewpoint are an advantage in a competitive marketplace.

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''Everybody has problems and, wherever you are, the difference is in solving a problem that keeps the customer happy,'' says Steve Linsky, human resources director at National Lumber. ''That's company culture and quality of service. Offering expertise and suggestions is what people do - many of our engineering staff, estimators, and project managers are former customers.''

When evaluating candidates for positions, some companies evaluate how well the applicant interacts with customers. Some even place more importance on this aspect than interactions with coworkers, according to the newspaper.

In a sluggish economy with less hiring, candidates can distinguish themselves by demonstrating how they see business through the eyes of clients and know what these customers want from firms, experts tell the newspaper.

''There are a lot of people who understand what we want as consumers and employees but that hasn't penetrated the deep structure of a corporation,'' Shoshana Zuboff, who teaches at Harvard Business School, tells the Globe. ''People are looking for a sense of authenticity. It's really fantastic for people to show that their strong suit is knowledge and affinity for [the] end-user. That can be a real plus in helping them get hired, but typically what happens after the hire is the internal logic of the company kicks in and that organizational logic is not rational.''

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