Why I Had a Hard Time With Holiday Hiring

I do a lot of holiday hiring, and I felt like this year was extraordinarily difficult to find great, talented individuals.  I was looking to hire roughly 70 individual for various jobs – all just above minimum wage jobs.  Despite reports of so many unemployed, looking for work individuals, I had to do roughly 350 interviews to staff these positions, which was a roughly 20% hire rate.  My average in the past has been around 30-35% hire rate.

With so many people looking for work, why couldn’t I find talented individuals?


Poor Interview Skills

I would say one of the biggest contributing factors to my lack of hiring was poor interviews.  From people who couldn’t even communicate in basic sentences, to individuals who, when asked basic questions, would answer ,”I don’t know” or “I don’t have an example/story”.  Every time, I thought to myself, really?  You are in an interview, which you know is when you get asked questions, and you don’t even want to answer?  Just give me something?

Then we get to the more extreme: people dressed inappropriately, people giving just inappropriate answers, people late or not showing up to interviews.  The list goes on, but in general, it seemed like a much worse year than in past years for people interviewing.


Poor Resumes

The next big deficiency was in the resumes.  I understand this is a low wage job compared to most, but please take it seriously.  This means if you are going to present a resume, make sure it has been spell checked AND read aloud.  Make sure that there are no blatant errors or omissions.

Beyond those basics, be prepared to speak about your resume.  If you are smart enough to present a resume, be willing to highlight key facts from it, and if asked about it, share.  If you don’t, it just makes the interviewer believe that it is fake.


Incomplete Applications

Finally, the basics – applications.  Fill them out, make sure that you include your work history.  No work history on your application makes it look like you are hiding somethings.  Before we even invite people to interview, we screen the applications.  If you don’t fill it out, you will not get even an opportunity to interview.

The same rules apply for your application as well – spell check it, read it out loud, and be ready to speak about any topics listed on it.  Have a gap in employment?  You may be asked about it.  Quit all of your last jobs?  Expect a question about it.


Man, it was a rough season for applicants this year.  I hope 2012 holds better in store.


Readers, if you do hiring, did you find it to be tough this year?

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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