Why Mayer’s Office Stance Won’t Hurt Yahoo in Recruiting Talent

Headhunters, CEOs say no-telecommute policy won't be a deal breaker, even among digerati

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Yahoo isn't budging on CEO Marissa Mayer's mandate that her employees come into the office rather than telecommute. So in a marketplace where tech talent is at a premium—especially when it comes to mobile expertise that her company desperately needs—will the policy hurt Yahoo's chances to hire the best of the best?

It depends on who you talk to. But a quick survey of digital players produced a somewhat surprising consensus: Nah, it's not likely to stop anyone from working for Mayer.

"Lacking the ability to telecommute will not be a deal breaker for most," said Erika Oliver, a recruiter at Aquent, which staffs tech talent. "While it’s a nice perk, the best and brightest talent really look at the entire opportunity, including the compensation package presented to them…A company’s culture can be more of a deal breaker when it comes to talented digital, marketing and creative professionals."

Mayer's ban on telecommuting came to light in an AllThingsD report yesterday, and a national conversation on the topic of working from home has ensued. Even Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson has chimed in by criticizing the policy.

But Don Scales, iCrossing CEO, doesn't think his Yahoo executive peer has mucked up any chance to hire digital talent. It's been his experience, he said, "that the largest differentiator in the recruiting process is the opportunity to contribute to exciting, innovative work."

Patrick Seybold is a marketing exec with mobile ads firm Tapjoy, which he said lets employees work from home if necessary, evaluating requests on a case-by-case basis. Mayer's policy won't eliminate Yahoo when it comes to companies that top mobile talent want to work for, he said. "The majority of our staff works out of our offices," Seybold said.

However, not everyone Adweek spoke to landed on the same page when it comes to Mayer's mandate. For instance, Maria Tollefson, HR director for consumer insights firm Communispace, said, "I don’t know whether Yahoo’s policy will hurt them, but I can say that the opposite—a [flexible policy]—works extremely well."

Aaron Shapiro, CEO of digital agency Huge, offered easily the most-dissenting opinion on the subject.

"People want to work for a company that trusts them and treats them as adults," he said. "And since this policy sends the exact opposite message, it does nothing but make it more difficult to attract the best and brightest."

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.