I refer to the editorial in your issue of Sept. 9, “When showing up isn’t optional,” as well as the many articles I have read over the past several months related to the high unemployment rate and its relationship to expat workers taking jobs from a ready, willing and prepared local workforce.
I am currently opening a large retail operation in Grand Cayman, and a very considerable amount of money has been allocated to a project that has been three years in the making. Part of the company initiative from the outset has been to hire as close to 100 percent locally as we can. As an employer we feel this is our responsibility; however, it has turned out to be a difficult task to succeed at.
We started by running a full-page colored advertisement in the Compass, offering entry level positions at $10-plus an hour for permanent positions. In the first four days we received fewer than eight responses. Since that time, we have advertised almost daily for set-up staff and have scheduled interviews on multiple nights over two weeks, with interviewers working up to 8 p.m. at night to accommodate people’s schedules. We have responded to everyone that has sent in a resume without leaving anyone out, provided they are local or have the right to work.
What we have found is somewhat disappointing. There are a startling number of responses that simply email without a resume saying “Interested Call Me.” There are resumes that are sent as a picture off of a phone, all folded up and barely readable.
Then there are those that will not start the process of setting up an interview unless they are told the wage, for the reason they “won’t leave the house for under $8.50 an hour.” After committing to an interview within the past 24 hours, fully 25 percent have not shown up and failed to provide the professional courtesy of a phone call. Only “one” person has been professional enough to call to cancel, and the reason provided was that it was raining and they didn’t wish to get wet. Being on time seems to be an issue as we are often told “I can ‘try’ and be there ‘around’ the scheduled time.” Dress is more than often not business casual, as would be expected.
Then there is the individual that arrived with a child who was left in a running vehicle. This person proved less than attentive as they proceeded to use their phone through the interview process. When the interviewer ended the interview due to the fact he did not have this person’s attention, he was then told to “F off” before the person left. Not to be left out is when we ask a person being interviewed to tell us about their work experience and what they feel they would bring to the job. On more than one occasion we are told they should get the job because they are entitled to it as a Caymanian, and feel they need to add nothing further other than “anyone could do this job.”
I fully believe that you can not and should not paint everyone with the same brush, and we are also very much aware that you have to do a lot of interviewing to find the right people. I must say however that given all that is said about how many people are looking for work and the concerns of employers hiring expats, it is more than shocking to live our reality of going through this process. There seems to be a lot of attitude and a complete disregard of business professionalism, a lack of interview preparation and poor resume preparation, with most being out of date including phone numbers that are out of service.
I imagine and am fearful of what will happen when we actually provide a start date and people are expected to show up on time and prepared to work. Our expectations are high, as they should be, and we will not open a new business that provides a poor customer experience for any reason, which includes poor work ethic of our team members.
We hope that we will not be further disappointed by the options provided in our commitment to hire local, but it should be noted that the process is anything but as easy as some would indicate. I believe if this situation is going to change there must be a good deal of training made available and, to be blunt, a change in the general attitude of some people looking for work. There are no free rides and there is no entitlement no matter where we are from, and throughout life there will always be somebody behind us to take the opportunity we failed to grab on to.
Let’s prepare the local workforce for the process. As a local employer I will personally step up to assist in the process if given the opportunity. The schools would be a great place to start.
Buy $mart, Galleria Plaza