“No Wonder We Have Such a High Unemployment Rate.”
By Ron LeGrand
In the process of opening our restaurant here in Jacksonville, we ran an employment ad on Craigslist for all kinds of positions. We literally had to hire everyone, about 80 employees for a week of training knowing we’d lose 20 leaving a staff of 60. Most are part-time, but all needed.
With one ad on Craigslist for a few days, we got over 400 people to respond. At least 80 applied for the dish washer’s job. It appeared we had ample apps and we stopped the ad. Now, it became a selection process to interview the best.
I’d already hired a GM and a chef and both were on duty during the process. The chef interviewed the BOH (back of house) candidates and the GM, the FOH (front of house) candidates.
Now for the lessons learned! The staff selected the best candidates on paper and started setting up meetings with a phone call and confirmation.
Less than 1/3 showed for the interview. That was a real shocker. We knew some wouldn’t show, but come on, over 2/3 of the people who applied for a job and set an appointment couldn’t be bothered to keep it?
So, they worked with the ones who did show and had interviews for several days. As much as I work with the public you’d think I would have expected the next phase.
Many of the ones who showed were dressed like they just got through changing the engine in their cars, about a third were late which was an instant disqualifier and a couple even showed up stoned. This is even after my ad clearly stated, “You may be screened for drugs so please don’t apply if you consume any illegal substances.”
We had to re-run the ad and start all over to finally get enough good applicants to hire a quality crew. Now, let’s see how many actually show up for training.
We decided to do a little market research and contacted a few of the no shows to find out why they didn’t respond. Didn’t reach many, but I think we got our answer. When asked why they didn’t make it, a couple responded, “I don’t really want a job. I’m on unemployment and I’m required to submit applications.”
That, my friends, is why unemployment is almost 10%, and the reality is it’s over 10%.
Why would anyone want to work when Uncle Sam is sending checks for almost as much as they’d get working, sometimes more?
Frankly, I had a hard time believing people who could work and find decent employment would rather lie around and do nothing. Well, I believe it now.
Out of the mess, there were actually some very good candidates for servers and bartenders who probably could have landed a good job if their follow-up skills weren’t so poor.
It was amazing how many emails and voicemails went unanswered from what appeared to be good people. Some were already working so it wasn’t because they were drawing unemployment. They simply sucked at follow-up.
FYI, a good server in a busy steak and seafood restaurant can knock down $700-$1,000 a week in tips plus their hourly wage. This ain’t no hamburger flipping, minimum wage job at McDonalds. It’s a sought after position among those in the profession and it’s not unusual for a server to make more than the GM.
So then, why no follow-up?
I don’t know, but I do know most of our population have the same bad habits, and I also know the people who make the most money have a system in place to keep their promises and ensure others keep theirs. We discuss this heavily at my Business Management Boot Camp.
How’s your follow-up?
- Are you on-time or frequently late? As far as I’m concerned if you can’t be on-time, you won’t keep any other promises either.
- Do you write down the promises you make or rely on memory? If it’s your memory, you’re screwed. Your follow-up sucks and all the people around you know it, even if they don’t tell you. A simple book or electronic gadget will fix this, but it’s a habit change only you can fix.
- Do you write down promises made to you and put them in your daily planner so they become time activated, not floating paper? If you don’t hold others accountable for their promises, you’re training them you’ll forget them and there’s no penalty.
- Do you actually take the action necessary to bring a task to conclusion or just let it lay around even when you know if needs done? How many sellers that look like good deals haven’t been called?
If they don’t get called, you’re no different than all those applicants who almost had a job!
Good follow-up habits strengthen relationships and move you to the top of the food chain. The good news is it isn’t hard to be better than almost everyone else you deal with.
If you can’t get it done, assign it to your virtual assistant. If you don’t have a VA, get one. It’s the most important time management and implementation tool of our generation.
To end this, let me say, if we continue to pay people for not working and train them to rely on the government for handouts, we ain’t gonna like the results.
We were promised change. We sure got it.