I often think about job interviews. Apparently I’m not the only one either because not a week goes by that I don’t see an article about answering tough interview questions or other how-to check lists for people looking to get hired. These years the focus is either on the potential employee searching for a job or the giant corporations who are firing people while sending juicy bonus checks to their CEOs. Yet when I describe our job/economic issues this way, many people might notice the entities that have fallen through the cracks of America’s focus: Small to Medium Businesses.
No this isn’t a rant about buying local and supporting businesses in your area (Although if you’re doing your holiday shopping at Best Buy while complaining that you can’t find steady work I would like the “Duh Ninja” to give you a swift kick in the teeth) this is a rant about employee vs. business.
I can’t escape the swarms of bleeding hearts for the victim employees but I’m hard pressed to find a single person willing to stand up for businesses in this decade. My perspective comes fresh from standing at the helm of three separate businesses and being closely involved with its inner workings, from taxes and insurance to interviewing and hiring employees: I’ve done it.
What so many people are lacking, experts and job seekers alike, is perspective. All they understandably see is that they need a job and a pay check to pay their bills. What they don’t see is how a potential employee looks to a business. So how do I put this into perspective to you?
Imagine that your car’s transmission has gone out and you have only five mechanics to choose from. You’ve never hired any of them for anything before and you only have the references they will give you so God only knows if those are the few people who would ever say something relatively nice (I’m sorry Mr. Dough, we’re going to need references for your references) and all of them expect to be paid a certain amount no matter what. Sounds like a bit of a risk but they should know what they’re doing right? Well you can’t even be sure about that and oh yeah, if they don’t succeed in repairing your transmission, your car might explode and you’ll be left with nothing, but you’ll still have to pay them regardless of whether it was your fault or they failed, because that’s the law.
That is hiring an employee to a small/medium business. Employees literally make or break a company that doesn’t have millions at its disposal and state laws do nothing to help cushion the potential damage. We don’t get unemployment, hell we barely get a chance to state our side. In this decade it is assumed that businesses of all sizes have the upper hand and do things out of either generosity or spite.
How many business owners do you think refuse to hire out of malice? Is it really true that today’s general opinion is that businesses COULD hire but they just don’t want to? I’ve spoken to many business owners and never have I heard a single person state that they just don’t want to hire. The most common reasons have been:
- I’d love to hire but I don’t trust someone to uphold the quality of work I do.
- I don’t have the funds to support employees, but I wish I did.
- I’m still recovering from the loss I suffered from previous employees.
There are a lot of misgivings about hiring and unfortunately it often is not the fault of the person trying to get a job. As person seeking work you must disperse unspoken apprehensions during an interview with both your experience and your attitude and that is definitely not easy. Maybe if people looking for work could understand the misgivings employers have, they could not only reassure them but find a genuinely great place to work or start a career. I’ll do my best to explain the three reasons for not hiring that I listed above…
I’d love to hire but I don’t trust someone to uphold the quality of work I do.
I can hear the helpful advice of toothy grinned advisors ringing in my ears “You must invest in training your employees so they can become happily productive and help your business flourish.”
Yeah, you try sinking hours and potentially thousands of dollars into training employees only to have them ditch your business and seek an easier paycheck elsewhere and then approach training someone new with total confidence that they’ll at least attempt to stand by your business.
An employer can love your resume but still wring their hands at the thought of hiring you. Will the time they invest in training you go to waste, how can you reassure them that it won’t?
I don’t have the funds to support employees, but I wish I did.
These days we are fighting to pay our bills and looking for well paying jobs while a nagging old lady’s voice gnaws at our brains, harping “Beggars can’t be choosers!” A business may be able to hire people, but not at the salaries said people are used to raking in. If you’re searching for a job and are confident in your abilities, why not be a little flexible about the benefits and salary you want, then build back up to the point you had previously reached? You’d be surprised at how many doors open when you stop putting your hand out expecting everything you had before the economy went down the pooper. There’s a reason you’re no longer working at a job with all of the shiny perks you had before. (Hint, it’s because no one can flipping afford it.) Yes, it sucks, but the times have changed and you know they have, so consider the wild possibility that things have changed for employers too.
I’m still recovering from the loss I suffered from previous employees.
Who hasn’t had to put out a fire they didn’t start? That’s exactly what you’ll be dealing with if you’re seeking employment with a business that has been seriously burned and damaged by its previous workers. I won’t even get into the statistics and state laws that ball gag businesses and do a Pulp Fiction round on them, but we’re not kidding when we say that employees can make or break the places they work for. You don’t have to bend over backwards and let yourself get pushed around by a cynical business, but you should think about the ways you can assure an employer that you’re not a potential disaster. Can you work out an introductory salary, a non-compete, or another agreement that will give both of your piece of mind?
Go to interviews with intelligent suggestions, honesty and above all, be professional. If an employer sees that you are aware of and understand their misgivings and that you can bring ideas to the table, they will be more open to the idea of taking you on board. Employment is a two way street and we all need to meet halfway or we’ll seriously never get anywhere.