Recently Janice Giroux hired a man to stand outside her business on Cherry Road and wave a large sign. As cars sped by, the man waved the sign with big letters and the simple word “Jobs.”
Giroux knew what would happen. Her Express Employment Professionals agency already gets between 30 and 50 people on a busy day. With the promise of jobs, Giroux knew even more people would pass through her front door.
While unemployment officially dropped below 10 percent in York County last month, there are areas of the county where the number is much higher. People are beyond wanting jobs; they need jobs.
Giroux wanted a bigger pool of job prospects because she wants to meet Express Employment’s goal of hiring 100 people between Nov. 1 and Dec. 21 as part of the company’s “Pay it forward hiring drive.”
Giroux said she already is one-fifth of the way there, placing about 20 people in jobs – jobs that couldn’t have come at more critical time. The hiring drive was specifically done to help people through the holidays.
But that’s just half the story.
For each hire Giroux and her workers make, Express Employment is making a $10 donation to the Children’s Attention Home of Rock Hill. She and her husband, who own the Rock Hill franchise, also plan to make a matching contribution.
Giroux said the goal, even in these tough economic times, is a realistic target. The companies she represents often need workers who have been screened and drug tested. The benefit to the company is the workers initially are Express Employment employees, lessening a businesses’ employment costs. People working through Express Employment can get benefits, even a 401K plan, from the placement agency.
Sometimes Express Employment places people in jobs Giroux calls “evaluation hires.” Companies take on these workers with the possibility of employment after a evaluation period, often 90 days. With tougher economic times, that evaluation period can often be longer, she said.
The agency also does traditional temp hires, placing workers in short-term jobs. It also gets people open-ended contract work.
For the “Give the Gift of Employment” hiring drive, Giroux also has reached out to the employers, asking them to find work.
She asked employers to look at their needs for clerks, receptionists, general and construction labor, housekeeping, pick-and-pack distribution slots and various clean-up needs. She even encouraged employers to hire a temp for the “National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day,” which was Nov. 15.
She cautions, however, that the process the agency puts prospective employees through is not for everyone. The employers she works with want to see an employment history and a work ethic. At least two references are checked.
“We want people with some job stability, and that’s not always easy to find,” she said.
The one exception to this policy is when they are placing students who have no job history, she said.
Attitude, being prepared and have identification are also key, she said.
“Look the part,” she said. “Be truthful and don’t fabricate.”
And most importantly, she said, remember to come alone.
“Don’t come with your buddies. Job hunting is not a group activity,” Giroux said.
Giroux said her recruiters can usually tell within a few minutes if a candidate meets their needs. If they don’t, Giroux said she makes sure the people who have come to her are aware of employment alternatives. The worst thing, she said, it to have someone leave without some form of help.
While many of the jobs available pay minimum wage, some pay better. GIroux said she recently placed a welder with a company at $20 an hour. The company was pleased with the hire and called her back, looking for another welder, she said.
And because the welder was just hired, Giroux will be making the $10 donation to the Children’s Attention Home, which helps victims of abuse.
A job, a gift to charity – is there a better combination to celebrate this holiday season?
Don Worthington 803-329-4066 firstname.lastname@example.org