Label tech interviews: Day 2

My first interview was at 11:30 this morning. After that interview I thought, “What the hell am I doing? I’m spending a lot of time interviewing people for a minimal skills, no experience required, repetitive position.” The requirements for this job are:

    Can count to 165
    Has opposable thumbs [Insert your own bad manager primate joke here]

I interviewed seven people today. That consumed my entire work day. Interviewing people is a blast. I’ve met some great people these past two days. The first girl I interviewed I decided I’m going to hire unless someone really impresses me tomorrow. I’m going to continue with the interviews so I’ll feel like I’m getting my money’s worth for placing my ad in the paper. So anyway, this girl is living in Marble Falls for the summer to stay with her dad. She’s a junior psychology major at Sam Houston State. She’s eager, bubbly, intelligent and most importantly, she was the first person to say “I’d really like to work for you” as I was shaking her hand and saying goodbye.

I’ve interviewed two entrepreneurs. They were both great to talk to but I don’t think this is a position where their skills would be utilized.

The second person I interviewed will be starting classes at the Texas Culinary Academy in the fall. We had a great one-sided conversation. I told her how much I enjoyed cooking and that I aspire to be a chef. She stared blankly and said, “yeah”. If you want a job and can find such an intimate mutual interest in the person that’s interviewing you, milk that for everything it’s worth.

The only male I interviewed today was quick to point out that he recently had a run in with the law. He was droning on when I interjected by saying, “Why are you telling me this?” I then found out that his court appointed duties would affect his work schedule. Honesty: good. Run in with the law: not good.

Being on the other end of the desk has been a great experience for yours truly. Here are my observations on interviewing potential employees; some of them you would think would be common knowledge.

Dress nicely. I don’t care if you’re interviewing for a job as shit sweeper, dress up for your interview. Frayed jeans and flip flops aren’t going to get you the job. Yes, someone came in today wearing frayed, dirty jeans and flip flops.

If you’re a male (and might have had a recent run in with the law), tuck your damn shirt in.

Be polite and respectful. Say “yes” or “no”, not “uh huh” or “uh uh” and don’t nod your head in response – that means you have rocks in your head.

Don’t cuss.

I like to think I don’t have a big head but those who said “Yes sir” stuck out in my mind.

Don’t wear cologne, perfume or oils. You think you smell great but it’s offensive. One interviewee was great but her “oil” stunk. I had to wash my hands after she left because a scent lingered.

Spaghetti strap tank tops aren’t proper attire unless you’re interviewing for a job as a stripper. What’s worse is when you have a large back-piece tattoo of a butterly.

Don’t wear different colored contact lenses. A girl that would have been great for the job had one brown eye and one blue eye. It was distracting and annoying as all hell.

All in all, I love interviewing people. Folks are nervous during an interview and I really enjoy breaking the ice and allowing them to take a breath and loosen up. I like to find out about previous jobs and their skill sets, get through that crap and find out about the actual person who I may be working with. Common interests outside of work are more interesting than those of the inside.

People are fun.

Hiring for fulfillment

I lost one of my fulfillment employees back in March. Since then we’ve been very lean and it’s been pretty tough. I commissioned the local employment agency to find a replacement employee for me. In three months I’ve interviewed two people for the fulfillment position. I interviewed three people for the marketing/accounting/everything-else-I-need position. I hired on who I thought was best suited for this position. I was right and then some. Saying she does a fantastic job is an understatement. I couldn’t be happier with this hire.

So this employee has helped me out significantly but I still need an additional staffer in fulfillment. I called the employment agency a couple weeks ago and said, “What gives? I need someone ASAP” They said there weren’t that many job seekers right now.

The two full-time fulfillment employees are stressed and errors are starting to pop up. I really need a third person… So I wrote a great help wanted ad and ran it in three local papers. The phone has been ringing non-stop. I’ve had five interviews this week so far. I have seven interviews tomorrow and five interviews on Friday.

Interviewing folks is fun, especially if you have a few in a day and can get into a rhythm. I like when I strike that perfect balance where I can break the ice, make the interviewee feel comfortable and then conduct a productive interview that doesn’t warrant an awkward, cookie cutter conversation.

This is a general labor, no experience necessary position so I get an exciting array of applicants. Some are scared shitless, some are bubbly, some are assertive and some are confused. One was 15-minutes late for her interview with a poor excuse. I had planned on immediately sending her away but she looked down on her luck. I don’t like to assume or pigeonhole people, but it’s fairly simple to determine “types” by asking a couple simple questions.

The next two days are going to be full of interviews. In the meantime, my workload is piling up. Yee haw.

Run for the new border

I took a break from work late this afternoon and drove around the block a couple times. Marble Falls has a new Taco Bell. They tore down the old, traditional Taco Bell and built a modern Taco Bell in its place. By modern I mean the facade is more vibrant and architecturally redesigned to entice those who crave only the finest in irritable bowel syndrome.

As I drove by I could see that the parking lot was packed. The inside was crammed with patrons. I don’t get it. It’s Taco Bell.

A few years back we lived in the bustling town of Temple. Months after making our daring move, a Chili’s restaurant opened. Everyone was so excited. Chili’s was the talk of the town. Everytime I drove by, the place was packed. You apparently had to know someone to get in the door. I mean, come on, it’s a Chili’s! You would have thought that Christ himself was in there serving up the Extreme Fajitas and Pizza Shooters.

I just don’t get it.

Honest recollection: I’m sitting in the back seat of a buddy’s car. He and his girlfriend are in the front seat and we’re driving to some inconsequential location…

“Hey Brent, we haven’t eaten at that McDonald’s yet!!!”

Deck building skills

Elise and I like to entertain. We’d like to entertain more frequently. In the year and a half that we’ve lived in our house we’ve had a good number of get-togethers. When the weather is nice and we want to be outside, we’re limited to a 10-foot by 8-foot concrete patio. One of the things I noticed when we first looked at this house while house shopping was that it needed a good deck.

So I designed a deck. It’s a great design, too. Multi-leveled, built-in benches, railings, rafters. I found myself at the HoPot early this morning picking out lumber for my deck. I came home and dropped off my lumber and started laying out my framework. I found myself at the HoPot shortly after to exchange the screws that were too short. I found myself at the HoPot shortly after that because I realized that screwing the frame of my deck would work better with nails.

Six hours later I had a dilapidated frame, two busted toes from a falling 2×4, a broken flower pot, a sunburn and I was pissed.

So I did what any downtrodden deck builder would do. I threw my hammer across the yard, threw my hands to the skies, yelled f***, s***, a***, and then called my dad and requisitioned his infinite lumber wisdom and deck building skills. He and Mom will be here on Friday night to help build my deck next weekend.

Somewhere between f*** and s*** I went inside and made a great roasted turkey, aioli and avocado sandwich.

In my many years in college I wondered what the hell I wanted to do with my life. I made it through college and now maintain a good job. For many, many years I tried to find my niche. What is it that I’m good at? I have an air pocket in my tear duct that squeaks if I press on it. Poking myself in the eye to make a sound is cool and all, but it’s not really a skill; more like a devine gift. Look for my country & western CD in September: “Josh Janicek: Beer Drinkers and Tear Squeakers”.

So I’m not carpentry inclined. It took me six hours to figure that out. I can cook like a tear duct squeaking madman though. I’m confident in that. I have that skill that I’m proud of.

Deck building – I’ll see what I can pick up from Dad this weekend.

EPA stops Hartz

I’ve owned and operated since November of 2002. Yesterday Hartz agreed, at the EPA’s request, to stop production and sales of several flea and tick products by year’s end.

I can’t begin to explain how happy this makes me. It’s been a long battle. I’ve received over 800 unique and sad stories about how a Hartz product has injured or killed a beloved pet.

Cayenne pepper bite

I’m growing six varieties of peppers this year. The first to ripen are my cayennes. I picked a beautiful, low-hanging red pepper with purple top today. I held it in my hand and my mouth started watering. The red and purple colors were gorgeous.

I walked it into the kitchen and gently set it on the kitchen counter. I had to taste it. I debated on slicing it. I opted to bite into it. I knew it would be hot, but I wanted to taste the fruit of my labor.

I took a casual bite into my pepper and immediately tasted it. It had a great floral flavor matched with tang and bitterness. I basked in the flavor for .08 of a second before the capsaicin clocked in.

My forehead immediately beaded with sweat, my mouth flooded with saliva and my throat stung like I’d swallowed a yellow jacket nest. But man, did that bite taste good. So I took another bite.

I’m going to make hot sauce when more of the cayennes ripen.

When the habeneros ripen, I’m just going to make hot sauce. I won’t taste test them first.