Since late 2008, the media has been feeding the public’s panic on the state of the economy and while analysts abound with their own long columns of numbers and conclusions, the general population is still apt to blame “the economy” as a whole for present situations, including a lack of available jobs. I’d like to bring to light another reason for the lack of “Help Wanted” signage that may well be a valid one: the *quality* of the job candidates.
For the past 4 years, I have been working at a small financial firm. We need a relatively high-caliber person to pass the interview process before making the hiring decision. Not only must they have a clean background, but also a strong work ethic. We deal with highly sensitive financial information and cannot risk bringing someone on board who is anything less than professional. The rules here are straightforward and in place both by law and by our own standards of procedure to protect the clients, the customers, the company and its employees.
Over the past few years in an attempt to expand a bit, we have gone on roughly one good hiring spree per year, looking for qualified and quality candidates to work with us. 99% of them are filtered out during the interview process. The one or two who survive get the opportunity to work with a solid company and gain excellent experience in the credit industry, as well as advance their careers.
Something seems to transform however during the first few weeks to months of the new employee’s time on the job. It’s almost as if they’ve forgotten that during their interview and training, they had us convinced they were intelligent, diligent and professional, trustworthy and ethical. Soon after beginning their employ with us, we find them calling out sick with minor, if not fabricated, ailments, simply not showing up, napping at their desks, surfing the web for personal reasons, acting inappropriately for the workplace to the owner and other employees (one recent employee actually tried to couple up with me and another woman here to get us into a threesome with his wife as well as attempting to kiss me!). There are the ones who backtalk the owner and show blatant disregard for his instruction. One threw a phone at him and stormed out after being told at least six times that morning to stop interfering with another person’s computer. Then we have had a few who have actually attempted to take business off the company for themselves to profit, and one who asked ME to assist with his scheme. Honestly, did that person not stop to think my loyalty would lie with the company that’s taken care of me for four years? There have also been a couple who have left here for something “better” and come straight back asking for another chance. We decline to take them back – like any company, we like loyalty. These are the kind of people we are finding.
Since 2006, we have had well over a dozen hard-screened men and women of all ages, all walks, come through our doors touting the best of intentions only to completely fail in the upkeep of their guise. We’ve since ceased advertising open positions and have turned away those inquiring after work. It’s not because we don’t need someone, it’s because of the experiences we have endured with those we did hire. We simply will not waste any more time and money on the general populace. Our freeze has nothing to do with the economy whatsoever. Instead, it has everything to do with the quality of the workforce available. Like a bad relationship, our ex employees have turned us off of the idea of future ones. Therefore, we continue on looking after what we have, and everyone is happy.
Incidentally, the people I work with have nearly all been with the company since at or near its beginning. We are more than simply employees, we are the backbone of the company – because we know right from wrong, we believe in and uphold the quality of our work and of ourselves, and we look out for each other.
Integrity. The American workforce is in desperate need of some.