It’s that time of year again, when the seasonal business picks up and we begin to brace for the onslaught of summer. June, July and August are the bread and butter months. If we don’t kick proverbial ass in 90 days, we may end up liquidating assets at the end of December to pay the taxman.
As usual, I place the ads for certified teachers. I screen what comes in and forward the best prospects to the Other Half, who then hunts the prospects down and arranges interviews and training. No one wants to waste three days interviewing every Tom, Harry or Dick who might show up on a cattle call.
In case it was lost on anyone who vaguely knows me, I’m not a teacher. I’m a yeller, I have an extremely short fuse, and I expect people to follow my line of thinking telepathically. Good God, I couldn’t teach my own kids how to drive. My job in this business is as point man: to keep the paperwork flowing in a straight and orderly manner, something the Other Half has a problem with. (Don’t look in his office, where it is readily apparent why he needs an organizer.)
I’m a tightwad, so I use Craigslist and the Michigan Employment Department’s free web listing. Let’s face it, no one reads a newspaper’s classified ads these days. I believe I’m one of the half dozen or so who actually reads the paper to begin with. There are few employment ads, so why waste the money?
In my experience, Craigslist is an excellent resource for office help, even though the site was slow to catch on in Detroit. However, if you need to hire someone with a bigger skill set (e.g. a certified instructor), the best place to go used to be the Michigan Works web site. I’ve actually snagged several fine people that way.
Not this year. In the last three weeks, I’ve received almost 100 applications and resumes, none of which were from qualified people.
NONE. ZERO. NADA. ZILCH.
Obviously, times are tough. They are so tough that people are sending out resumes and inquiries without first reading the job listing. I know this because I have carefully crafted the listing to point out the qualifications of the potential candidate. Number One on the list is a certification and instructor’s license from the State. This is mucho importante – if you don’t have one, don’t waste my time, move along. Next comes the need for a clean driving record, FBI record, and medical exam. Experience is not necessary (we train) but an instructor’s license is key.
You may need a job, but if you don’t have one of those babies in your pocket, I’m under no obligation to give you one.
At the end of my small ad is information for those who might want to obtain an instructor’s license: i.e. where to go to get the college class, and a brief yet friendly note not to call me until you’re certified.
Perhaps these applicants are on unemployment and figure blanketing the state (even the lower peninsula when you live in the UP) with resumes for any job is a good tactic. Perhaps resume sending is a condition of their getting an unemployment check. (I have no idea; it’s been a couple of decades since I last filed for unemployment. It was distasteful then, and probably worse now.)
It’s not busy yet, so I’ve had time to read these resumes and inquiries. I have to anyway, in case there is a jewel among the grit. Many are a complete disaster. Some people use lower case for the entire resume; others have cutesy email addresses that would make a john looking for an escort service blush. Grammatical and spelling errors run wild. Some people are completely clueless, and others are serial applicants. I’ve seen the same names year after year.
My mind wanders to a place where I wonder what kind of job these hopefuls would be good at. Attention to detail is necessary where I do business. Then the phone rings and I'm shaken out of my fog to put out another fire.
In response, I’ve formulated a terse yet tactful letter for the worst offenders, something along the lines of “Thank you for responding, but can you read?” (Not really. I’m nicer than that. I may scream out loud on occasion – I told you, I’m a yeller – to the point where my officemates cower at my tantrum, but I can craft a damned good business letter.) Most of my missives are shot into cyberspace without a second thought. It feels good to boilerplate my frustration back to the people who have targeted me.
However, I did get a reply from one woman who apologized profusely. She revealed she only looked at the job title and didn’t open the listing. I responded that she might be more likely to land a job if she reads what the employer wants and needs. Then I wished her good luck. Sincerely.
I hope that one finds a job. It just won’t be with us.