I have found it fun lately to walk into a business and have the business owner recognize me as the author of these little articles and often begin to tell me their horror stories concerning a recent article topic and their business. Whether small or large, public or private, profitable or on the verge going under, the one thing that remains the same is the issue of employees and hiring good employees.
Last week when I took my bicycle in for it’s annual tune-up in preparation for this year’s Elephant Rock Half-Century Ride (50 miles, oh my aching body); Buzz Feldman, the owner of Longmont’s High Gear Cyclery suggested that I address the subject of walk-in applicants filling out job applications and looking for work. For many retail merchants and restaurants this is a daily occurrence or perhaps disturbance, yet perhaps their main source of employees. Students and persons new to the job market often make a sweep of area businesses requesting applications and inquiring of job openings. This age-old hit and miss approach still works especially in high turnover jobs so lets take a look at some considerations for both employment seeker and employer.
When using this business canvassing strategy, the employment seeker should determine what type of business they wish to work for and what is critical to them in making this decision. For instance would they prefer to work days, nights, weekends; indoors or outdoors; casual or formal business; is reliable transportation available; full-time or part-time; etc. Once the decisions are formulated then it is time to hit the streets. Dress for success, no jeans unless you are looking to work construction. Conservative dress is best, cover that lovely body art. Dress like the employees dress or one step better. Go ready to work and remember timing is everything. Don’t go to restaurants during peak mealtime hours and get to the construction jobsite before starting time. Go alone and not with your friends, parents or your children. Be ready to complete an application so bring a ball point pen; the names and contact information for five work related references; information about your past employment including dates of employment at each company, starting and ending pay, reason for leaving and names of past Supervisors. It is also wise to bring your Social Security Card, work visa info, driver’s license and birth certificate. Be courteous and remember that first impressions are very important in the hiring decision process.
Employers who accept walk-in applicants should always have the applicant complete the application on-site and not take a blank application with them to be returned at a later date. The applicant should be alone when completing the application so that the employer can be assured the applicant completed the application him or herself. The application should be filled out completely and not accepted until every question is answered and the application signed. Employers should have a written job description available to give to applicants as well as an information sheet explaining the expectations related to hours of work, pay, benefits, attendance, uniforms, etc.
My friend Buzz was complaining about a recent applicant who came to the shop to apply for a job but had none of the necessary information with him to complete the application, plus was dressed for the pool rather than the shop. When asked for the information left blank on the application the applicant became indignant and stormed out of the shop. My response to Buzz was that it was better to have determined this attitude issue prior to hiring the person than after. And by the way if you have excellent customer service attitude and experience as a bike mechanic, he has openings!