One Employer Asks: Where Are All the Job Seekers?

We rarely hear of companies who simply cannot find applicants.

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I caught this bit of a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer recently (bold is mine):

"Although we have a long way to go before we can put this recession behind us, the gears of our economic engine do seem to be slowly turning once again," President Obama said yesterday.

That's how Judith Krupnick sees it at her Cherry Hill Volvo dealership. "We're getting busier, and the economy is beginning to open," she said. Krupnick said she wanted to hire salespeople and body technicians, five in total, but said she could not find them.

"Where are these folks who have been laid off?" she wrote in an e-mail. "We have openings. We are hiring. However we can't seem to find applicants."

With an 8.9 percent national unemployment rate (New Jersey only a tad better at 8.4 in April)--and the ranks of the long-term unemployed expanding--how could this be true?

Krupnick has been surprised by the experience, she says in a phone call. As car sales started to pick up about a month ago, Krupnick began the traditional effort to fill the positions: a billboard advertised the dealership was hiring, she placed ads in the newspaper and online, the word was passed around to vendors. She figured, understandably, that the lines would begin forming in a hiring climate this (apparently) harsh, but it's been more of a trickle than a flood.

Her qualifications may be a bit unexpected in the sales world: "People need to have a good soul," Krupnick says. She's looking for people who are "honest, caring, passionate, and respectful," while work experience is certainly "very, very helpful." But those are hardly impossible requirements to fill.

Any other employers having similar results in filling positions? Send me an E-mail at theinsidejob@usnews.com


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