Recently, my other business had occasion to hire a new part-time person. This is usually a difficult experience given that the labor pool in our resort town is (a) limited and (b) largely populated by people who'll abandon their duties for a good powder day on the ski hill. (Note, I'm not that much of a curmudgeon, but things DO have to get done!)
Anyway, it was with a sense of trepidation that I posted the position on a local online classified ad web site. The results were unexpected, exhilarating and heart-breaking all at once.
Can WOW! be an understatement?
The job posting went live at about 6:00 PM. By 8:00 AM the next morning, we had 15 applications. We immediately pulled the ad but still received over 30 applications. Prior to the economic downturn, we would post a position like this - 20 hours per week at $12/hour - for weeks before we even got one applicant.
Sorting through the applications was an exercise in wonder. People from all walks of life were applying. Remember, this was a job that paid approximately $950 per month! The resumes contained heavy-equipment operators, construction laborers, office staff, first-time job seekers, the whole gambit. We selected the six most qualified candidates to invite in for interviews.
A Straight Path Wanders
The morning of the interview day, we received another application. This was from a woman we knew. She had worked for one of our vendors prior to being laid off in the downturn. She had been out of work for six months and just wanted to get to it, no matter the job.
Catherine (no, that's not her real name) was not a fit for the position we were hiring, but we'd had a very high opinion of her from her work at her last employee. So my business partner and I squeezed her into our schedule to explore what her background and skills were. We were just thinking ... but back to the interviews for the warehouse position.
The first candidate set the bar very high. He was just a year out of high school, was a local guy, had taken a year off to wander the earth, was considering starting school at the local community college in the fall, and was the son of a part-owner in another local business similar to ours. And did I mention, he'd reviewed our web site and knew a great deal about our business? And did I also mention, he walked into the interview with a copy of his resume in his hand ... just in case? We could not have scripted a better candidate and interview, but there were others to meet.
The next several candidates were un-remarkable. They were also technically capable of doing the job. I think two of them had looked at our web site and knew the nature of our business. Two years ago, we would have jumped to hire any one of them, but Candidate #1 had really impressed us with his preparation and alignment with our needs.
The last interviewee was the heart-breaker. He was an out-of-work construction worker. He was married with a young child, living in the...