It has been a frantic month in my world, with candidates starting to pile through the doors with increasing frequency following the RG story and word-of-mouth building momentum.
I’ve been making hiring decisions for some time in my roles with other businesses, so nothing has really surprised me. Still, if I could make a sweeping statement, people in the trades generally do an extremely poor job selling themselves. Only half of applicants actually have a resume, a likely unfortunate outcome of a lack of access or computer skills. Almost none of them give a complete work history. What they do provide does a poor job highlighting what skills they actually have. Most of the time I have to conduct interviews right on the spot, poking and probing to figure out just what they have done in the past, what their core skills are, and what kind of role they hope to secure.
Of course, most will say “I’ll do anything!”.
This is perhaps indicative of the desperation people feel when they are unemployed, but it is the last thing I or a potential employer wants to hear.
What we want to hear is “I do (X) extremely well”.
Followed quickly by “and (reference) will attest to that”.
However, references have tended to be pretty lame. I can’t believe how many people put their MP down! Or Suzy home-maker. Or their pastor. The kind of reference I need is one that REALLY knows what a skilled tradesman should be able to do, frequently a construction supervisor or business owner. Rarely have I gotten this.
However, again drawing from my experience, I know that there are sometimes diamonds in those roughs. Many of my best employees originally walked through the door unsolicited, without a resume, and did a poor job selling themselves. But the timing was right and they got an opportunity, and I ended up with a great employee.
So I have been honing my skills; learning to ask the right questions, uncover a candidates core attributes, and pair her/him with the right employer. Candidates need to be doing something they love to do, and do well, in order to ultimately be successful.
Are you a diamond?