Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Unemployment isn't nearly as bad as they say...

"Right on time -- to be fired!"
As we prepare for the crushing, soul-sucking, what's-left-of-our-hair on fire summer season, we're looking for new guys. It's really an amazing process, and provides all kinds of interesting and sometimes useful insights into the state of America's workforce. You've heard that it's officially around nine percent unemployment, right? Other estimates put it at somewhere near 20 percent when you account for the people who just aren't trying to find a job anymore.

I want to put America's fears to rest: there is no unemployment crisis. At least not according to my unofficial, anecdotal survey of the available labor pool. Apparently, everybody has jobs -- even the ones who apply for a job at MTB -- because they don't show up for interviews or, as often as not, fail to make basic plans to get to the interview on time. Or at all.

I recycled a Craigslist ad I frequently used for recruitment, but added a little more...ah...strong language. Here's a snippet:

Who we're NOT looking for
--Guys who can't show up on time -- or at all. Tardiness or failure to show up at all has been a constant problem, and one which I now have a "no tolerance" policy for. If you're late for the interview, you won't be interviewed. Of all the times to be late, THIS IS NOT IT. Let me repeat: if you show up late for the interview, that is the best sign I can have that it wouldn't have worked out anyway. I don't want to belabor the point, but right now the ratio is about 50/50. That's right -- roughly half the guys who I schedule for an interview don't show up. Of the half who DO show, half of them are late. Our customers don't tolerate that kind of track record; neither do I.

We've gotten quite a few responses, and I'm working my way through them. Today I blocked out three hours to do three interviews. The first guy showed up early, was personable, nervous but not spastic. All in all, an easy second interview. The second guy? His interview was scheduled for 10:00. He called at 10:01 to tell me his doctor's appointment was running long. In fact, he was still waiting for the doctor.

Now, I sympathize if he's at the doctor's office for a serious reason. But come on. Let's say he showed up early for an 8:00 or 8:30 appointment, but was kept waiting until 10:00. At some point he should have thought to call the potential employer to say he might be late. But if his appointment was for 9:00 or any point thereafter, he probably shouldn't have scheduled an interview for 10:00.

Not Truck Buddy material.

Oh, and the third guy? Fell off the face of the earth, I take it.

This is common. It's happened to us dozens of times, and all the other moving company owners I know joke about it. Only about 50 percent of potential new candidates show up. Maybe half of those show up on time. It's a joke.

Or, it's encouraging news. Based on these (albeit unofficial) statistics, it suggests that unemployment isn't nearly as bad as we've been told. It's a testament to the resilience of the American work ethic.

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