As shitty as it is to be unemployed and looking for job, I must say it’s equally as frustrating to be an organization in need of an employee. The fact is in smaller organizations there is often no human resources department or person to do the initial grunt work of weeding through applicants, those tasks often falls to some employee or maybe even the actual employer. Who at the same time must do their normal job duties on top of taking time to try to find what they hope will be a fabulous new employee.
This month is turning out to be stress inducing multiplied by about a hundred which is why my posting has slacked off. Kids starting school, new grants, and more importantly the need for new staff at my center have got me wanting to pull out my damn hair, its crazy time people! So I am still interviewing for my center in case you haven’t figured that out, my task is made harder by the fact that as a very small non profit my budget is minuscule. Oh, but it’s far larger than it was almost two year ago when I took over as director. Back then there was no money to hire anyone else.
The interviews have continued and let me tell you while the official stats tell us that for every job opening there are 5 applicants; I am convinced that out of those 5 applicants the stupid runs deep for 4 of them hence why they are unemployed. I have grown convinced that for strong applicant’s jobs exist. Maybe it’s a sign that I am getting old and that I am slowly becoming a lovable curmudgeon but let me tell you meeting applicants who clearly do not bother to read job descriptions drive me crazy. Now I know as several folks have already told me, I am basically looking for a saint. Someone willing to commit to a full school year for very little in terms of remuneration. I want to be sympathetic to folks but the fact is when running a program devoted to at risk kids, the strength of our program is that we develop strong relationships with the kids. Relationships that really make a difference, for many of the kids that my center serves they lack stable home environments and the center is the one constant in their lives so it only makes sense that I hire someone who can at least commit to staying the entire school year. Yet out of the now many folks I have interviewed only two seemed willing to make that commitment. Unfortunately the two who were willing to do so lack the necessary skills sets for that particular position, though one candidate I did offer a lesser position that will allow me to train them and see if perhaps they can eventually move into the primary position I am hiring for.
Next thing, life happens…Lord, knows I have lead a life where shit happens. But if you have to reschedule an interview calling two minutes before your interview time asking to reschedule is a fail. Especially when the interviewer has given you their cell number so if you need to change the time you can do so in a timely fashion. Look, if you are interviewing for a position where timeliness and responsibility are a huge factor and I think a program where you would be the overseer of 20-30 kids falls into that category, please know you are being judged on everything. I know some of you may say damn BGIM you are a harsh taskmaster. No, but I need to know if I hire someone they are not going to call me 10 minutes before the center is supposed to open telling me they can’t make it. If that happens on a day I am say at meeting miles always then the center literally would not open. To the working families that use our services that means kids getting off the bus to a center that is closed if someone calls out at the literal last minute. Needless to say in this interview process I am paying attention to all the small details.
Also while it’s illegal for employers to ask certain questions, why the hell are so many of my applicants over sharing with me? One woman in a cover letter mentioned being a single Mom….that’s cool but honestly I don’t need to know that about you. I also don’t need to know that you are on unemployment and trying to see if you can work my job and collect your benefits at the same time. I have had several applicants share that with me and each time thought um…okay. People, people…I want to know you only insofar as it would affect how you work, all that extra shit is just too much. Besides if you are over sharing your personal life with me, how the hell will I know that you won’t over share about the folks we serve? In my work confidentiality is a huge deal; I need to know you won’t be down at the local coffee shop talking greasy about one of our families.
There are so many pieces of finding a job that is a good match for the employer and the employee but in both instances a little common sense can go a long way. We are living in a time when all around us we are encouraged to live open lives, hell just turn on the television. Reality shows have changed how we view what’s right and wrong…um, competing on a show for a 5th rate celebrity frankly says a lot about you. Social media which I have a fierce love/hate relationship with has broken down the filters that we use to have, hell even I am guilty at times of over sharing and being a little out there online. But in the work world especially in a place where you are dealing with vulnerable folks, a certain amount of integrity is needed.
Anyway wish me well as I start another round of interviews this week. Happy Monday!
PS: If you are looking for a job, you really need to be mindful of what you put out on the interwebz, because when employers do background checks we really do take a look at your online persona. Some might say I am an intrusive employer but my agency reputation and my professional reputation hinge on making sure I don’t hire a pedophile or some other unsavory character so I need to do the appropriate checks. I am not turning down any applicants due to their political beliefs or things like that but if you like to engage in borderline illegal activities in your off time, well that does give me reason for concern.