It’s been said that, to a particularly desperate single guy frequenting the local bar in hopes of landing the next ‘love of his life,’ the more beers he’s had, the better the girls look. Now, while we’d definitely prefer even our most desperate staffing coordinators refrain from drinking on the job, the staffing industry isn’t really all that different.
Sometimes some of us are guilty of putting OUR ‘beer goggles’ on too! To understand how this could possibly be, you have to put yourself in our shoes, just for a while...
Especially if you are coming off a dry spell (read – desperate), gaining a new staffing client is an exciting event. Even if that client has made the ‘rounds’ of every staffing firm in town except yours and nobody has managed to staff them with any degree of success, even if word on the street puts the work experience there just above stamping license plates in state prison but right below a Vietnamese sweat shop, the fact still remains that you, the best firm in town, haven’t yet had the chance to give it a shot.
You need the new business. They need the new employees (who doesn’t when turnover is that high, right?). Hey, it’s a match made in heaven! So you ignore your gut, put your beer goggles on, and try to sell the account.
Now there’s a catch, of course. Your potential client, despite a less-than-ideal work environment, wants employees with a squeaky clean background, impeccable references, unmatched experience, and the personality (and submissiveness) of a border collie. And, they want them for a quarter or two above minimum wage.
Not only have you put your beer goggles on with your client selection, but also with your client sales pitch. Promises come out of your mouth faster than a politician at a fundraiser. No worries, you say, you’ve got a closet full of exactly who the client is looking for, just begging to go to work!
You’re not lying, at least on purpose – you really do have every intention of delivering on every promise, along with back massages and pedicures (upon request, of course!). You’re going to land this client, even if you have to promise them your firstborn!
Maybe they heard the desperation in your voice and felt sorry for you, or maybe you’re just the last staffing firm in town who hasn’t given them a shot but, surprise of all surprises, you do manage to land this client without violating any child trafficking laws. Deciding to chalk it up to your awesome sales skills, you accept their request for four temps for tomorrow and leave the client facility with a little added skip in your step.
Once you and your staff begin the order fulfillment process, however, it doesn’t take long to realize it’s going to be harder than you thought when you were promising your new client the moon with a cherry on top. People you just knew would go to work turn you down, suddenly become unreachable (why, oh WHY can’t people keep a PHONE connected for longer than three days?!?), or accept the job only to fail their drug test.
As you dig deeper and deeper into your database, that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach begins to turn into full blown panic. After all, you’ve just promised your client that four able-bodied, fully-qualified workers would be happily marching into their plant at dawn with more pep than Snow White’s seven dwarves on their way to the mines. You aren’t sure, but you’re afraid you may have even mentioned something about them singing, ‘Whistle While You Work’ on their way in!
You hastily place ads on Monster, Craigslist, and everywhere else you can think of, but the prospect of getting one new prospect, let alone four, by tomorrow looks increasingly dim.
For some reason, probably because your mind is clouded by panic, you think of Steve…
Steve, that really, really odd guy with the black fingernails, ‘vintage’ clothing, and horn-rimmed glasses from the 60’s, the guy who reminded you of a cross between Napoleon Dynamite and Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. He applied a couple of weeks ago and, although you gave him a 5-minute interview (after which you thoroughly sprayed down his chair with Lysol) and a firm ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you,’ has called in available every… single… day since.
Stewing in the pickle-juice you’ve placed yourself in, you put your beer goggles back on (you know, the same beer goggles that got you in this spot) and begin to re-think Steve.
His three weeks at The Yogurt Shop last year might not exactly translate to the sweat shop experience, but hey, they are both ‘shops,’ right? He hasn’t worked officially in a few months, but he did mention something about going back to hairdressing school, so maybe he’s been studying to get in… or something.
Steve did look fairly able-bodied, or at least fairly clean. You don’t recall smelling any foul, unnatural odors when he came to the office. He definitely didn’t have any prison tats (that you could see), and his black fingernails weren’t all that long. You could always tell him to trim them a bit and leave his Harry Potter belt buckle at home (safety hazard and all that).
Hoping his parents wouldn’t tolerate any illegal drug use in their basement, you give Steve a call and he eagerly becomes your first placement at your brand new client.
You leave your beer goggles on, just for a little while longer, and continue looking. Only three more to go…
How does it pan out, you ask? Just ask the guy who went home with his beer-goggles date.