Hiring Older Employees

24 April 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Someone told me recently an interesting story about a particular company hiring policy. This gentleman started a new job driving a truck for pickup and deliveries covering a very large territory. His new company has a fleet of 12 trucks with a garage for repairs and a small office staff. This company apparently has been in business for many years in fact the General Manager has been with the company since High School. After a week on the job, this gentleman got to meet most of the staff, other drivers and was a driver’s assistant to learn the ropes and routes. His opinion was the company was well managed, caring to employees, open to questions and suggestions, trucks were very well maintained ( clean inside and out ), all staff ( office and truck drivers ) were known on a first name basis, nice uniforms, etc. Everything looked perfect except for one thing so he decided to ask the General Manager about his observation. He asked him why all employees including new hires were over 40 years old. The reply he received was: “ We do not hire younger people anymore. They are slow, often late or absent, no sense of urgency, poor customer relations, always want overtime, no loyalty, no pride in their work and most of all, they spend most of their time on a cell phone. We have given opportunities to younger people and even hired some as a driver’s assistant but none rose to the occasion. In fact some drivers wanted to do their routes alone rather than babysit these kids.”

Is this not a shame? Opportunities exist but the younger generation do not accept responsibility. I have a client who refuses to consider local hires because of the lack of reliability and is now considering importing immigrants to do his work.


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A Bad Interview

23 April 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Recently I heard a story from a friend looking for work that is worth sharing. I will call this friend Martin. Martin applied by phone for a job he saw in a local advertisement, I believe it was in a newspaper. He spoke to someone who identified himself as the owner and booked him for an interview. Martin showed up on time, properly dressed for an interview and very excited about the new possibility for work. The gentleman he spoke to on the phone re-iterated the job as described in the ad. The need was for someone who had experience with tools and materials to build houses, cottages, decks and do landscaping. This company built exclusively for owners of Million dollar homes and cottages on water in cottage country. The opportunity sounded quite upscale.

Martin arrives to his destination quite surprised. The location was remote and the building looked like a 50 year old garage with 2 bay doors and a small office to the side. He goes to the office and finds no one there. He proceeds to call out the gentleman’s name then starts yelling quite loud. He was sure he had entered an un locked abandoned building. He starts walking out then he hears his name being called. The person asked him if he was here for an interview. The answer was yes. This person identifies himself as the owner. This is where it turns from bad to worse. The owner was dressed and looked like a homeless person. He had old clothes as if he was fixing his pickup. He had long unwashed greasy hair. His boots looked like he had them since childhood. Martin did notice some landscaping equipment and truck in the yard when he arrived but they looked like they had not been used in years. The owner instead of questioning Martin about his experience starts bragging about all the work he has done for his Millionaire clients. In fact at one point this owner bragged that he did not work for anybody unless they had Million Dollar summer homes. He then proceeds to ask Martin when he would like to start working. After only 15 minutes with this self- proclaimed owner of a successful business, Martin got up and said “ I hope you don’t mind if I don’t shake your hand but I think you know what you can do with your job “ and left. May not be the most Professional exit but what else can you do in a situation like that.

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Big Screens, Little Screens

22 April 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Time to complain again or maybe it is just an observation. There was a time where the only screen displaying moving pictures was the television set for home viewing. Initially it was only black and white. Today any house depending on the number of occupants has a minimum of 5 to 10 devices that display moving pictures. The original TV set started with a viewing area of 10-12 inches and slowly got much larger. Today the array of choices for screens particularly for Home Entertainment Centres has grown to 72 inches and larger. Even computer screens can be as large as you want them. For an aging population I think this is great. We have to admit our eyesight is not what it used to be.

Where I draw the line and fail to see the sense, is the enjoyment of watching a movie or any broadcasted program on cell phones with a 2 by 2 inch screen. We leave the house with a 72 inch screen then go to a car to watch the same thing on a 2 inch screen. Am I going crazy or is it the rest of the world?? Think about it.

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Doctors 2

21 April 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Some of you may recall in a previous Blog I shared the fact that my partner was in a car accident involving a deer. This was 2 ½ years ago. Today she is still undergoing tests, seeing specialists, had shoulder surgery recently and more to come. We have travelled to London, North Bay and the GTA to get opinions and advice on her injuries. The last 2 1/2 years have seen us in more Doctor’s offices, Specialists Offices and Hospitals to last us a life time. This recent extensive experience with the Medical Profession has prompted me to question many of their practices. In fact it is hard not to compare their practices with general business practices. As an aside, Specialists have a waiting list of up to 1-2 years in some cases. It is very disheartening to say the least.

There is one area that has prompted me to question their effectiveness. That area is booking of appointments with General Practitioners also known as Family Doctors. Booking appointments every 10 minutes is mind boggling to me. How can you assess a medical issue, write notes maybe a prescription, answer the patient’s questions in a short 10 minutes. I spend far more time than that to interview a person for hiring. In my mind hiring a person is very important but not as critical as dealing with someone’s health. I just don’t understand but it sure explains why we have to wait so long in waiting rooms. The solution might be to book less appointments and do a more thorough job unless you are in it just for the money. If I ran my Business this way I would be out of Business.

Check out my previous blog on Doctors ( January 2011 ) to see what happened when I invoiced a Doctor for my waiting time in his office.

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Gas Prices

13 April 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Here is an update from a previous blog.

Oil prices are now at $ 103.00 a barrel and the gas pumps are at minimum $ 1.32 a litre.

Where is the rational??

Posted November 11, 2011

Is it just me? Approximately 6 months ago Oil prices were as low as $ 79.00 a barrel and $ 1.25 a litre at the pumps. Now the Oil prices are just below $ 100.00 a barrel and $ 1.15 a litre at the pumps. I am not complaining about current prices but where is the logic with this?

Just wondering.

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Frustrating Moments

12 April 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Providing services to companies as a Consultant has it’s challenges but more bluntly it is frustrating. It requires the Consultant to be very versatile in satisfying customer needs. My experience has concluded that there are 3 main groups of clients which I will try to highlight with some pros and cons. To make this a little easier to follow, I will use the sole example of providing recruiting services. This short comparison will address the main differences of good and bad practices of these 3 groups of clients hence the frustration that any Consultant or provider of services constantly face.

The first group is large companies ( 500 employees and more ). These companies are very well organized but at times their systems become cumbersome to the point where they slow the process. All Managers are part of a culture whereby the process is the same for everyone, except for technical skills all recruits must possess the same basic traits to fit and most importantly there is consistency. The downside has to deal with Human Resources as the middle person for communications. Some Human Resources do understand the positions but most read a job description therefore making it very difficult to understand the job and its intricacies. Technical requirements are not understood as many have never been in the department or plant that they are assisting with the hiring. The last weak area is coordinating times for interviews. Because all managers are busy the length of time to have 2-3 interviews can drag as long as 3 months from start to finish.

The second group of companies is the smaller companies ( 25 to 500 employees ). Most commonly these companies are owner operated. The upside is the speed of the process and the decision making. For an outside resource this is great. One of the main weak areas is every Manager has a different vision, philosophy, management style and makes you feel like you are dealing with multiple sub-companies. What these Managers want and what they need is like night and day. Most are not trained in interviewing skills in fact some are almost non-professional in their communication skills. Even though you are able to work with the decision makers the process becomes confusing and frustrating. The lack of culture and uniformity is their Achilles heel. Very common to this group is what I call “mood hiring”. Each time you communicate with these Managers the job specs or requirements keep changing.

The last group is government or government affiliated. This group is very frustrating. Too many people are involved in the decision process. This makes the process very long and cumbersome. There are too many layers of management and non-management in the decision making. The process is more important than the end result. Too many people involved in the interview process. Panel interviewing is very common and as common is the number and variety of people on these panels. Too many times, the panel has people that are not trained or versed in interviewing, have no direct or indirect dealings with the job to be filled, biases prevail, timeliness is nonexistent, power plays are obvious and more. These panel interviews are as effective as throwing stuff on the wall and hope something sticks. For the candidate applying for the job, there is no good preparation that could help their chances of the getting the job. Getting the job is like buying a lottery ticket.

Some may challenge me in my thinking but these observations have been seen over and over again during decades. The biggest frustration for a Consultant is offering to help and change these weaknesses but that is not what they hired you for so butt out.






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Dear Readers

03 April 2012 Categories: Gerry's Corner

One of the many challenges of an Entrepreneur is to juggle many tasks and duties. Usually one becomes a jack of all trades and a master of none. For the Entrepreneur who operates mainly by himself/herself, two of the main challenges are to balance work and personal/family life. Too much of either and the other suffers hence my situation. A few years ago I had 4 people working for me, assignments were plentiful and I had the luxury of doing some fun things but with the current economic situation I am back to working mainly by myself. My Blogs are one of those fun things which I have been neglecting hence I apologize to my regular readers.

In my defence, I have been juggling a large assignment that required my onsite presence, 2 other assignments and providing homecare to my partner who had a serious shoulder surgery stemming from her car accident more than 2 years ago.

I have a particular friend and business colleague who has been on my case for neglecting my blogs. He claims that his week is not complete unless he reads one of my new blogs. He finds them sometimes very informative or thought provoking but he looks for my sense of humour in others. Doug, I thank you for your encouragement and persistence. This blog is dedicated to you.

By the way Doug, there are others that have been missing my blogs

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