On my trip back east last week I shared a cab with a guy who had graduated from college a couple of years ago and was still looking for a job in his chosen field. He was in Washington, D.C. for a job interview, but said he didn’t think he got the job. As a business owner and someone who has hired a few people in the past, I could immediately tell why he didn’t get it. Unfortunately I think it may be a long time before he does get a job. And I’ll tell you why.
First of all, he was a very nice, polite guy who was dressed in a suit and tie. That part is actually ahead of many people I meet at job fairs who show up in jeans, T-shirts, mini skirts, and flip flops. So that wasn’t the issue.
He was well spoken and well educated. I didn’t see his resume, but if he graduated two years ago and hasn’t had a job since then, that resume is going to be quite thin. But that also isn’t the problem.
The very first thing I notice at job fairs after the dress code is the person’s attitude. I could care less if you have the best resume on the planet. In fact, I’ve hired plenty of people who were fresh out of college and barely had anything on their resume. But what they had, that this guy lacked, was enthusiasm, passion, curiosity, and creativity. I worked three jobs to start my business. I sacrificed nights, weekends, holidays, and vacations to put everything into the business. Hiring an employee is one of the biggest costs of running a business. As a small business owner I simply can’t afford to hire the wrong person. So I’m as careful as I can be about who I put on the payroll. And I don’t think I’m that different from other business owners.
Here are some issues that need to be addressed from the employer’s point of view. This is just from my own view of start-ups, which may be different from large corporations. [Read more…]