Ice Ice Baby

I suppose at this point I should stop being surprised at the weather. It’s winter. It’s sort of the south. It’s sort of the North. It’s gonna be weird.

We got more ice. Some of you may remember the epic adventure that was 2014’s ice storm. This year, the snow fell later and the ice didn’t hit until after hours, so my adventure home was somewhat less than. The drive to work this morning/afternoon was also, graciously, uneventful. All in all, I am quite pleased.

On the other hand, my house is blanketed with ice and snow. The tricky thing is it looks all fluffy and nice. But what it actually is is a very thin layer of fluffy and nice snow completely encased in a quarter inch of ice. Ice so thick and solid I could barely break a boot heel through it. Ice that reminds me of a certain kitchen table. So I was a wee bit tricked when I stepped out onto my front stoop and took a bit of a skating approach to the edge of the steps. But, even with my typical clumsy nature, I managed to stay upright, correct my misconception about the footprints I intended to make, and dig my way up the hill to my car.

I freakin love my Toyota. There is nothing this vehicle can’t do. She is a champ! With barely a huff she got up the icy hill of a parking lot. She didn’t slide once on the way into the office. And she quite happily performs extremely well despite being in desperate need of an oil change, tire rotation, alignment, and a hubcap. She’s 10 years old, has a million bajillion miles on her, but she parties like the spring chickens. She doesn’t talk back to me. She does everything I ask without complaint, and I take care to give her gas and a lot of kind words. Why can’t more people be like my car? 😉

So, I guess that is enough for now. Sorry for torturing you with disjointed sentences and rambling thoughts. Just really wanted to check in and kill time. Time killed.


The only way I can get this out of my system is to provide you with more information than you need.

I think we’ve established that I am a recruiter. I hire people. But not in the traditional sense, like a staffing agency. I don’t have a bunch of resumes that I can just filter through and find the best candidate for a particular position. I have a bunch of jobs. And a bunch of rules. And a bunch of people I have to deal with at varying levels of the process. And I think we’ve established that I feel people are stupid.

I have 40 jobs open. When I say open, I mean 40 jobs that do not have candidates identified for hire at this time. That could mean we have started interviews or just posted them this week, but 40 people still have the potential to be offered a position.

Now, the recruitment process is not cut and dry. Personalities, qualifications, salary requirements, schedules, and job responsibilities all play a key role. Let’s use a live example. I currently have a 3rd shift technician position requiring associates degree and some relatable experience. This position will work with our specimen management group. (BTDubs, I work for a diagnostic lab. When you are told you have high cholesterol or your family is predispositioned to have Cystic Fibrosis, chances are my lab ran the test that told you that. I do not take my job lightly.)

In a week’s time, I may get 50 applicants to this technician position, but a large percentage of those folks will be looking for a higher salary range than this position will offer. I could offer them the position at the range we are able, and they could accept, but if this is not the rate they were looking/hoping for, chances are they have accepted the offer as a place holder; receiving financial income until a better paying opportunity comes along. They have not stopped applying at other companies. Think, accepting the position at McDonalds until you can find the IT job so that you can at least buy groceries.

That same position might be the ideal salary range for someone else, but that someone has a family at home that requires assistance getting to school in the morning. Or the significant other is no longer present and the overnight childcare situation isn’t feasible.

And then, even if the schedule and the salary range work for the candidate, the fact that they will be sorting human specimens (blood, urine, fecal matter, products of conception etc) may be too much for the applicant once the position is described to them in more vivid detail. You may come across dead babies in a jar. Some people simply cannot deal with that. I can respect that, but cannot hire them for this job.

That brings us to personality. While personality is not a definitive recruitment screening tool, it is absolutely considered when deciding to add someone to an established group dynamic. How well is a direct and assertive candidate going to interact with a group that relies on sugar coating and context fluffing? How well will someone with a Master’s degree be inclined to listen to a supervisor with a High School Diploma?

And I have to do this for every applicant on every one of my 40 jobs. Some things are easier to screen for, like salary requirements and minimum qualifications. Others are more difficult, like personality and commitment to the schedule. And this doesn’t even begin to touch the employment laws and regulations that go along with all of this. For example, if I decline to pursue applicant 23 who is requesting $13/hr and happens to be a minority female, but decide to pursue applicant 45 who is a Caucasian male requesting $15/hr, you had better believe I have a damn good reason. A documented justifiable reason.

And this process can take a while. I have to get the position posted. Have to get people to apply. Have to find more than one person to call and talk to. Have to leave messages and wait for calls back. Have to forward resumes to supervisors and wait for responses. Have to call and schedule interviews and work on calendars with supervisors who are desperate for employees but miraculously are never in the office. Have to get same supervisors to make hiring decisions. Have to make offers and hope they are accepted. Usually have to wait for the candidate to provide current employer with a 2 week notice. And all of this changes when the supervisors change their minds EVERY FREAKIN WEEK. Or the general manager decides a different department has priority EVERY FREAKIN WEEK. Unrealistic expectations people. I cannot possibly win.

Now that we have concluded the crash course in recruiting, let’s discuss the people. The supervisors who have openings want to hand pick candidates. They have a friend of a neighbor who needs a job, or one of their current employees recommended someone. I can respect that. And if they can successfully make it through the application process, I am more than happy to push them through. It’s when they don’t make it through that I have the most difficult time. Let’s take another live example.

I have 2 positions open for the same department. One is 1st shift, the other is 2nd shift. Now even though 2nd shift offers a % differential and is therefore more financially attractive, it is still 2nd shift and not the schedule many people are dreaming of. I have 4 temp employees that are currently working in this department. And I have a competitor laboratory up the street that is performing the same testing, and in fact, plucking our techs one by one to work for them. 1st shift being the more attractive schedule was posted for only a week. 2 of the 4 temps managed to get their application in on time. Both applicants were able to complete and pass the screening assessment (how often have you called in late, would you rather make a decision on your own or have a group discussion, crap like that). It is not hard to pass, you have to score a 31%. I also have a former employee from a different department who left to go to our competitor, has been performing this test for the last 2 years, and has a nationally recognized medical certification who also managed to pass the screening assessment.

All 4 temps managed to get their application into the 2nd shift position. However, only 3 of the temps passed the screening assessment. The one who failed, failed bad. Like, not 30% or 29%, like single digits bad. Enter the lab director who not only wants me to hire the temp that failed the assessment, but to hire that temp for the position they didn’t manage to apply to. Over two other temps IN THE DEPARTMENT. And a nationally recognized certified applicant who is currently performing the same test.

No. You can’t. You cannot have that temp. You can have any of the other 3 temps for the 2 jobs that you have open. I’m sorry, but no.

But my boss doesn’t understand this anymore. Day to day, she is so busy trying to excuse her bad behavior and poor decisions, so desperate to make us look incapable, that she is not willing to make us capable. Instead, she is willing to provide excuses on why we can’t do our jobs rather than provide the detail on how we are, in actual fact, doing our jobs. I’m being thrown to the wolves without her even realizing she’s doing it.

And no one else will freakin hire me.