Trucks at Work

Decoding hiring factors

Even if the Fed kept QE3 going for a while, we have some other challenges. One is a skills mismatch: there are plenty of job openings in health care, and plenty of people looking for work who are high school dropouts. We have lots of openings for computer programmers and engineers, and plenty of college grads with degrees in art and journalism. QE3 cannot fix that mismatch.” –Bill Conerly, economist and contributing editor with Forbes magazine

The quote above from a recent article by Bill Conerly hits pretty close to home in trucking, one would think. I mean, let’s face it: whatever your take concerning the ongoing truck driver shortage, fewer and fewer younger workers want pilot big rigs for a living – and it’s not just solely a U.S. problem, either.

Obviously, there are serious issues regarding pay and home time that are turning people off to the truck driving career, but there’s also a serious disconnect between the skill sets – and mind sets – of many younger workers and the realities of the workaday world.

Take for example a recent survey by online recruiting software provider Bullhorn, which discerned – among other things – that a 55-year old with a steady employment history is easier for recruiters to place in a new job than a 30-year-old job hopper.

Bullhorn’s anonymous survey of 1,500 recruiters and hiring managers reveals that job hopping, a path often taken by the younger workforce, has long-lasting implications on a resume – with 39% of recruiters calling “job hopping” (leaving a company before one year of tenure) the single biggest obstacle for an unemployed candidate in regaining employment.

Another 31% of those recruiters added that being out of work for more than a year is another huge challenge in regaining employment, followed by having gaps in employment history (28%).

While Bullhorn’s survey addressed the job market in broad terms, many of its findings I think still hold interest for trucking companies and driver candidates alike:

  • Age is Not Just a Number. Some 70% of respondents say candidates in their 30s are the easiest age group for recruiters to place in new jobs. Respondents also said that there is greater demand for candidates in their 40s than for candidates in their 20s. Only one percent of recruiters felt candidates in their 50s were the easiest to place, with zero percent responding favorably for the 60-year-old age group.
  • Unemployment Can Lead to Being Unemployable. The range of time for which a candidate can be unemployed before it becomes difficult for recruiters to find him or her a job is between six months and one year, according to 36% of respondents, while 17% said that being unemployed for fewer than six months would still make it difficult to place someone in a job and four percent feel it is difficult to place anyone unemployed, no matter the duration.
  • Long-Term Unemployment is Like a Crime?Recruiters admit that it’s easier for them to place someone with a criminal record (non-felony, the survey stressed) in a new job than it is to place someone who has been unemployed for two years.
  • Your Skill Set Could Kill Your Chances. When asked about factors that make it hardest for recruiters to place unemployed candidates in jobs, 31% said “if the skills [candidates] possess are no longer in demand,” while 26% said “if [candidates] are out of touch with the modern workplace/technology.”
  • Getting Fired Cools Your Prospects. No surprise here that 78% of recruiters ranked getting fired as the most severely damaging to a candidate’s future employment prospects. However, only 2% of recruiters felt that being laid off would be the most serious future detriment – an acknowledgement of the tough economic times. 

Art Papas (at right), founder and CEO of Bullhorn, noted that while much of the information above may seem very negative to those seeking work, it can prove vital to helping folks reshape their understanding of what factors are at play in job market.

“One of the most frustrating elements of a job search is the silence – not knowing whether you’re even being considered for an interview. We wanted to help shed some light on what goes on in the minds of recruiters,” he explained.

“Being informed can help candidates avoid certain traps and increase their likelihood of getting a job,” Papas added. “The bottom line is that recruiters understand what their clients value most and certain factors, whether controllable or not, will impact a person’s chances of landing a job.” 

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