Is The Problem High Unemployment Or Highly Unemployable People?
Are you one of those who speaks up on AOL Jobs? A recent piece I wrote called "10 Tricks To Landing A Job After The Great Recession" garnered heated commentary from readers. Some of you loved me (and what I had to say). Some of you hated me (and what I had to say). Some of you were just P.O.'d at the job situation in general.
I understand why people are mad. With our country seemingly becoming more polarized every day, I understand people's frustration and anger. No one can seem to figure out whose responsibility it is to get us out of this economic mess. Some think it's government's problem to fix. Others blame business for moving jobs out of the U.S. -- though I've talked to many business leaders who would prefer to keep jobs here, but can't justify the high cost of doing business in the U.S. to their shareholders.
What I'm not hearing is what WE, ordinary working people, need to do to make a change for ourselves -- and if you've read anything else I've written, you know that I believe personal responsibility is the ONLY answer. There are a lot of frustrated, sometimes hateful comments out there on the message boards. But amid this, something amazing happened. I started receiving private emails from hiring managers, mostly from manufacturing companies, asking me to help them find people to hire. One email in particular stood out.
Your article I read on AOL Jobs was the best I have read recently on the job market and spot on. There are jobs out there and people are not looking for them. The company I work for has numerous openings in facilities in the West and Southwest, and we cannot fill them.
I have openings for assistant plant managers, parts managers, assembly associates, forklift drivers, welders and yard labor. We use employment agencies, online job postings, networking, and anything we can think of to find decent recruits, but what comes in to interview [for the positions] is the bottom of the barrel: no skills, no work ethic, won't work second or third shift, won't work overtime or weekends, need time off, etc.
I would do anything if I did not have a job, but we are seeing a complete lack of work ethic. At least 1/3 of our hires do not make it past their first three days because they say the work is too hard, they didn't realize they would have to do things beyond just driving a forklift. They come in late, don't call in, their car broke down, they overslept....
How in this high unemployed economy can we find good workers? You need to write an article on how to find good recruits next. I do not believe we have high unemployment, I believe we have highly unemployable workers.
I received quite a few letters of this sort. So I decided to dig deeper, looking to better understand the problem. I interviewed hiring managers in manufacturing and searched company and job websites. I searched for manufacturing jobs and found tons of listings, including many thousands of manufacturing job openings in California, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico on Monster.com. A search of the word "lathe" on Indeed.com came up with 1,141 jobs in California alone. I did my homework so that I could share with you what hiring managers are looking for. Here's what they had to say:
- There are jobs out there. If you don't look for a job every day, you aren't going to get a job. There are lots of jobs out there. Find them.
- If you don't know how to use the Internet to help you find websites that can help you find work, then go to your local employment office and get help.
- Take advantage of free skills training classes to make yourself more employable. (Hint: Visit Career OneStop, the U.S. Labor Department's program, to learn how).
- People hire people that they like. Be likable.
For entry level and skilled labor positions:
- Come prepared to show off your skills. Learn what you can about the tools of the trade BEFORE you go for the interview.
- If you have no skills, show that you're eager, willing to work hard and willing to learn.
- Show up on time. There is no excuse for coming in late on a regular basis.
- Not showing up to work, not calling in, having excuse-upon-excuse for your lateness/absence/lack of focus, and not being prepared, are the top reasons that most workers don't make it past the first week.
- Be decent, attentive and respectful.
- Be able to explain what you want to get out of the job. Why are you there? (Hint: Money and benefits are not the best answers.)
For manager and director positions:
- Have a resume. Make sure it is grammatically correct and has no typos. If you need help, go to your local employment agency to have someone proofread it.
- Your resume should not be a laundry list of the tasks and responsibilities you've had. You need to explain, on paper and in person, what it all means. You need to convey how your efforts contributed to the product, team or company.
- Be prepared to tell stories explaining how you've tackled difficult challenges in your last job.
- Develop your interpersonal skills. As a manager, you need to learn how to motivate your workers, listen to their needs and drive them toward peak performance. Your interviewer is going to want to see these skills on display.
Take some time to get ready and get set. If you work hard enough, and prepare hard enough, chances are you'll get hired.
If you're looking to get a leg up in your job search, enter "Susanne Goldstein's Get Americans Back to Work Contest" for a chance to win three months of free career consulting. If you're willing to do the hard work that I know it takes to get a job, I can almost guarantee that we, together, will find you a job. To learn more visit www.GetAmericansBackToWork.net.
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