Unable to find good employees. Anyone else have this problem?

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deniser

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Jun 3, 2008
8,083
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London
I have been advertising two jobs for the past two weeks -adverts in the window in a high footfall area, local FB and Twitter - and have had only one single applicant who had so much holiday time booked off that he isn't really available to take the job!

I didn't want to use the Job Centre until I absolutely had to because last time I did my emails almost crashed from the amount of people who applied totally randomly with no regard to the job description (one applicant's covering letter was all about how he wanted to become a mechanic and this was a retail job which has nothing to do with cars) or even its location (some were at the other end of the country) or the email itself was just shocking in spelling and grammar or littered with text speak (one of the jobs is customer services including writing) - the ad got copied by countless other online job sites - and I got so many irrelevant applications (also from people wanting to keep their benefits?) that I couldn't sift out the good ones and had to pull it after a day - and ask the other sites to take it down.

I think this time I will ask for applications by post so that the people who don't want the job won't apply; it's too easy to fire off an email!

But yes, in answer to the op, really hard to find any employees let alone good ones.
 
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The Byre

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Aug 13, 2013
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We advertised for a specific job as writer and translator for English and German. Applicants were told to call a specific telephone number within a set time and on that number were told to submit one page of text, describing why we should employ them, as a PDF within 24hrs.

Some became abusive, some told us that the task was impossible to do, some just didn't understand what a PDF is or how they should get it to us. In the end we received 139 replies, of which just two actually managed to follow those instructions. We employed both of them.

As for university graduates - we get several hundred unsolicited CVs every year and the standard of the letters and emails is staggeringly low. Also the standard of the education is about as low as it can possibly get without actually giving degrees for actually being able to breath. This is almost entirely due to the growth of vocational degrees. Media studies, film and video production, music business - all completely useless!

We get people with BScs that cannot give the interviewer a single physical law. Typical was one lad who claimed a BSc in 'Music Technology' yet could not read music or a circuit diagram - so no music and no technology was covered in that degree course. Most young applicants for jobs involving producing texts cannot write without making fundamental grammatical mistakes (there, their and they're being typical).

And when you talk to the lecturers at their universities, you realise why the students are so unsuited for the work market. The lecturers and professors are daft and unmotivated as well.

Then there is the work ethic and in the UK, the lack of work ethic is alarming. We have just had one bozo calling in to tell us that he can't come to work and needs a day off sick. Reason? "Oh, well, I'm just too drunk to drive!"

I did not renew the job for one mechanic, because if a supervisor was not actually standing over him, he just stopped working.

I could go on, but the OP has a valid point. Some young people are definitely brilliant and hard working, but finding them is getting more and more difficult.
 
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Ashley_Price

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Feb 9, 2008
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Lewes, Sussex
So true! When I was an employee if it was asked to do something for the benefit of the company i always translated this as " please do this for free and dont expect a financial reward, but rest assured your contribution has just lined your bosses pocket"

It's always interesting how an employee views a question like this. Many think like you did, but I managed to change one employee's mind, as she was of the "pay me more and then I'll do more" mentality.

One day (oh gosh, it sounds like a children's story), her partner was looking to get some videos converted to DVD, and was telling his girlfriend, in our office, he had found a service who would do it. She said to him "Make sure you don't pay them any money until you see the quality of the results."

I remembered this statement for the next time we asked her if she could do a little extra. Her response was, as usual, a polite version of "not unless you give me more money". I reminded her of what she had said to her partner, and continued "So you want us to pay you before we see the quality of the result?"

Yes, there are bosses out there that take advantage, but there are also many that if they ask if you can help out, it will be remembered, and you'll be rewarded, possibly in other ways.

We had a member of staff that was occasionally late back from lunch (5 or 10 minutes sometimes) and once in a while she would be a few minutes late in the morning. Did we say anything? Nope! Because she was also the first person to volunteer to stay after her finish time (up to an hour or so later) and help out or do extra work when we were up against it and it was "all hands on deck".
 
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Ashley_Price

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Feb 9, 2008
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Lewes, Sussex
We advertised for a specific job as writer and translator for English and German. Applicants were told to call a specific telephone number within a set time and on that number were told to submit one page of text, describing why we should employ them, as a PDF within 24hrs.

I have to be honest, when I read this, I felt the instructions were a little harsh. You're looking for people to be writers and translators, would that include converting stuff into PDF? If not, then you were judging them on their computer literacy rather than they grasp of English and German.

Not everyone is completely computer literate. I just recently had to explain to a client we couldn't follow their instructions, as "convert the transcript into PDF" would mean they would not be able "to make alterations to the file at a later date". They hadn't realised what PDF was.
 
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zigojacko

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Dec 7, 2009
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Plymouth, UK
clubnet.digital
The whole country is screwed in terms of reducing the unemployment rate. The problem is the education or training in getting half the population to be able to apply for jobs properly.

We've had people apply for positions working on computers and their CV's were an absolute mess. Spelling and grammatical errors galore. And we've even had applicants who have wrote in text speak like lol and woz etc.

Maybe the government and educational establishments should focus on teaching and training the right skills in the first place. There are of course many that just don't give a **** anyway about getting a decent career. There are also others that just apply for absolutely anything - we've had the same copied and pasted covering letter from the same people for different positions before.
 
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Ashley_Price

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Feb 9, 2008
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Lewes, Sussex
In the last few years we've never publicly advertised for staff (beyond the "I'm a fantastic typist" option on our contact us page).

The staff we have taken on (either as APA or before, as Bananaoffice) have been through personal recommendation.
 
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The Byre

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Aug 13, 2013
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I have to be honest, when I read this, I felt the instructions were a little harsh. You're looking for people to be writers and translators, would that include converting stuff into PDF? If not, then you were judging them on their computer literacy rather than they grasp of English and German.

No, they were a test of the applicant's ability to follow simple instructions AND have very basic computer skills, as well as their ability to put together a written piece under very moderate time pressure.
 
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pioneer22

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Nov 5, 2012
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OP, I would say if you are having a high staff turnover then you need to look at it from the point of the employee.

Are you paying enough?

What other benefits do your employees have? Pension? Holidays? Flexible Hours? Reviews and appraisals? Company handbooks? Correct training?

If you struggling to recruit staff, have you brushed up on your HR knowledge ? Or your interviewing technique, how do you interview? Do you have a chit chat? Or a competency based interview? Tell me about when you have dealt with a difficult customer etc.

Perhaps having a leavers questionnaire would be a good idea this wouldnt take very long to do and are very effective.

When I was a student I worked at Nando's the hours were long and pay was minimal dealing with rude customers. But we could have a beer at the end of the shift and we could have a staff meal, the majority of the staff stayed there for a long time. Which is surprising for a minimum wage job
 
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We've taken an apprentice on... even though we told the training provider what roles they would undertake, they've put him on a business admin apprenticeship. When the assessor rocked up to find him brandishing a knife and applying vehicle graphics she wasn't at all surprised, they had to removed 4 already from inappropriate positions. Provided we show him word/publisher (which we don't use) all's good. The training provider made appointments and then didn't turn up, then turns up out of the blue. Time is valuable to a small business.
 
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Just a little case study:

Many years ago I helped a guy start a furniture manufacturing business,, got him £9K in grants, found a workshop and designed the branding for the business and off he went a happy man.

A year later he came back and said "I need help", I can sell stuff and I can make stuff, but I cant do both at the same time, so I end up working for two weeks with no money coming in before I can sell the stuff, so cant move forward, but I cant afford to rent a shop or pay a salary.

I agreed to work on a 10% commission as sales manager, developed the sale strategy, found display space and got started, first couple of weeks earned zero, but it developed quickly.

Within six months I set up a separate retail arm, found premises and sales got up to £5K a week.

At this point he decided that paying me £500 a week was too much for "just selling" and decided that he would only pay 5% instead of 10%, at which point I gave him his shop keys and left.

12 months later his business went bust as he could not find anyone who could mirror what I had done and he was too stubborn to ask me to go back and pay the 10% commission.

The point is that an employee will work to develop a business if they see the value for them, not just in financial terms, but being valued as part of the business.
 
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LocalGuy

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Feb 18, 2014
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Just a little case study:

Many years ago I helped a guy start a furniture manufacturing business,, got him £9K in grants, found a workshop and designed the branding for the business and off he went a happy man.

A year later he came back and said "I need help", I can sell stuff and I can make stuff, but I cant do both at the same time, so I end up working for two weeks with no money coming in before I can sell the stuff, so cant move forward, but I cant afford to rent a shop or pay a salary.

I agreed to work on a 10% commission as sales manager, developed the sale strategy, found display space and got started, first couple of weeks earned zero, but it developed quickly.

Within six months I set up a separate retail arm, found premises and sales got up to £5K a week.

At this point he decided that paying me £500 a week was too much for "just selling" and decided that he would only pay 5% instead of 10%, at which point I gave him his shop keys and left.

12 months later his business went bust as he could not find anyone who could mirror what I had done and he was too stubborn to ask me to go back and pay the 10% commission.

The point is that an employee will work to develop a business if they see the value for them, not just in financial terms, but being valued as part of the business.

That is great what you did for that company, just a shame that some business owners cannot see pure value when it is staring them right in the face.

I too am a strong believer in giving the employee an incentive or drive to do well. (Almost) everyone has a strong desire to do well and they want to be rewarded for doing well. Performance schemes and benefits is always best, plus it also helps you attract employees that are hungry for work and money so they will go above and beyond.
 
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Ali-print

Free Member
May 30, 2013
25
2
London
This issue is still causing issues for us and I agree with some of the posts that I have to look at our company policies and procedures. How the staff are trained and how they are the monitored and rewarded.

It is on my plan to set the structure over the next 3/4 months however right now we are just too busy to stop and start writing down procedures and structure everbody role.

I have just had another accounts person leave, in some instances I am glad, we have gone through the accounts and found many mistakes. All instructions were given to the employee but yet they failed to followed them and mis-posted many items. We complained to the recruitment agency we were paying and they never even responded to us. We have just found someone and they seem to be really good. Honest, methodical and eager to get their hands on the role. Only thing was we found him through another recruitment agency. The person called us a day after the interviews and said forget going through the agency and save your money I will come and work for you. Seems to have worked out well for all of us.
 
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Ali-print

Free Member
May 30, 2013
25
2
London
Now I am in search of a new Graphic designer and a Warehouse manager.

For a graphic designer I have approached a local university and posted a job ad on a designers Portfolio website. There is a great potential for this person in my company to become a key employee who would eventually travel to meet customers and travel around the world to visit fairs. But of course they need to prove themselves before hand.

For the Warehouse Manager, I am not sure what to do. The recruitment agency are charging 17.5% of the salary to find someone. My trust in agency's is really low now.
 
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The Byre

Legacy Full Member
Aug 13, 2013
11,835
5,127
Local newspapers are too much work. I haven't got the time anymore to read and fix interviews. And the amount of unqualified people you get is amazing

Delegate HR to somebody in your company who gets this done for you. That can be just about anybody who can sort out who can use Creative Suite to ninja level and who is just whistling Dixy! Then you just have to talk to four or five possible candidates.

Even if you do it yourself, it is pretty easy to bin all those no-hopers and just look at the few who look real and contact them. I always take the view that I do not decide who gets the gig. The candidates themselves decide that for me!
 
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