Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thoughts on Job Hunting

We just hired someone for a "filler" position yesterday, covering a small number of hours each week for other employees, including conventions and upcoming holidays. Since I've gotten so many applications in the last year, and so many hurt looks from people I didn't hire, let me share some of my thoughts on getting a job with us:

  • Resume. We ask for resumes. It's a bit more professional and it tells me a lot about you, as compared to the legal document known as a job application. Requiring resumes weeds out a lot of people. Keep a resume handy, even if you're young, still in school and have only worked a few jobs. If experience is light, I look for other things that might indicate character. Eagle Scouts get moved to the top of the list.
  • Do I Know You? It might sound unfair, but if I have no idea who you are, you're not likely to get hired. This is mostly because I now require that people have extensive game experience, and we're the only "real" game store in the area. There are enough candidates, that I could require a college degree and experience managing a retail store and I would still have a pile of good resumes. The exception is if you make an impression on me. The best way to do that is to follow up. So few people follow up (in person!) that it gets my attention when it happens.
  • Appearance. I'm going to envision you working for me. If you're not dressed at least as neatly as I am (I wear jeans and a button down shirt), I'll have a hard time envisioning this. If you're dirty, unkempt, can't speak English or otherwise a hard sell, it's a problem for me. I don't care about things like tattoos, piercings, or hair style (within reason). I want neat and clean.
  • Are you Hiring? I'm always hiring, at least always on the look out for people to file away in the back of my mind. Before a position becomes available, I try to have some mental ideas about who I would like to hire.
  • What am I Looking For? I look for four things: The ability to clean my stuff. The ability to protect my stuff. The ability to sell my stuff. I've let people go because they refuse to clean. Preventing shoplifting is a key ability that I'm not even sure can be entirely trained. Sales can be trained, but people have to be willing and product knowledge is very helpful here. So what is that fourth thing?
  • Self Starter. This is code for being a better employee than I am a manager. It's seeing that something needs a doin', and getting it done. It's making things right for the customer, even if we don't have an explicit policy. It's doing things before being asked. Not everyone can be this person, but it's what I look for now. I used to think every place of business had their star employee, the steadies, and the goof-offs and that's just the mix of things. I now know that my job is to only hire star employees. The lazy hiring managers at other businesses can get everyone else.