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Looking for a job is hard, hiring is not much easier

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POSTED May 30, 2009 2:24 a.m.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in San Joaquin County jumped from 10.2% to 16.4% within the last year.  And while finding a job during lean times can seem difficult, if not impossible, the process of hiring is not much easier.

Mrs. Meyers of Meyers Realty in Manteca recently posted an ad for an experienced secretary.  She thought she would identify a few qualified applicants before selecting one that would be trained by her current secretary who was leaving the company. Much to her surprise, Meyers’ email in-box was flooded with a tidal wave of resumes and cover letters.

Meyers would take home a handful of applications at the conclusion of each workday. Her plan was to review the documents and set up a series of interviews. The problem, however, was that her own workload left her too exhausted to make it through the pile of applicants. Meanwhile, she was being greeted each morning with a new wave of resumes. Meyers realized she had to stem the arrival of new resumes if she was to get through the ones she already had.

“There were so many applicants, I was flabbergasted,” says Meyers, who has been in business for nearly 50 years. The job seekers even included folks with absolutely no secretarial experience whatsoever. Sympathizing with their plight, Meyers said she wished she could hire 10 people. Her budget, though, would only allow for one.

It was her secretary’s last day on the job and Meyers was still sifting through heaps of resumes. “I know it’s hard for applicants, but they don’t know it’s hard for me too,” Meyers said before making her final decision.

It was no different for All Star Inc. Heavy Haul & Towing Co. of Tracy. “Gone are the days of one or two applying for a position,” said All Star supervisor Arron. In need of an entry level office staffer, Arron also found himself awash in applications.  A seemingly easy position to fill became an exhausting process as he interviewed one anxious applicant after another.

“I’m totally burned out on interviewing,” Arron confessed at the end of long and tiring day. Eventually, he made a decision and filled the position.

Looking for a job is rarely fun. There is the interview itself, which often feels awkward and stressful. Then you have to play a seemingly endless waiting game as employers evaluate their choices. Being on the other side of the interview desk is no picnic either. After all, so much time is needed to gather and evaluate resumes, as well as answer (or reject) telephone inquiries and conduct face-to-face interviews with anxious jobseekers. The bottom line is this — the process is stressful for all concerned.

Rising unemployment rates have lead to increased tension and desperation. History has shown, however, that the rates eventually decline. Meantime, anxious job seekers and overworked hiring managers would do well to realize that neither side has it easy. Do this and maybe we can get through these rough times a little bit easier.
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