Start Working Tomorrow


Companies are desperately looking for good people. Walking in the door is still a great job search strategy.

Most of you know my fine culinary habits take me to Taco Bell on a frequent basis. Having vegetarian kids and grandkids makes it a common landing place with something for everyone. (Joanne would debate that.)

A couple weeks ago I witnessed a job hiring experience that blew my mind. I was sitting there quietly eating my 7-layer (black bean substitution) and saw a young guy (Jeff) walk in with a job application form in his hand. Upon being alerted, the manager came out and sat down with this guy. I was sitting close enough to observe and hear the entire conversation, which lasted approximately four minutes. When the manager walked back to her office I asked the guy,  “Did that actually just happen?” He said he had stopped by the day before, picked up an application without talking to the manager and did in fact just come in for his first interview. He said he had moved to this area two days before and needed something so he could stay here. The manager asked if he could start tomorrow.

After Jeff left I asked to speak to the manager. And I asked her why she hired this guy so quickly. He had a ring in his lip, short pants showing tattoos on his legs and nothing special in his work history. She did not do a background check or a credit history. She replied that he was straightforward in his responses, looked her straight in the eye when he talked and did have a couple previous fast-food jobs. She added that she needed people desperately and would like to add three more people immediately. I asked about the pay level, and she said that while $7.25 is the minimum wage here, she offers her starting employees $8.00/hour.

I’ve now seen Jeff 3 or 4 times. Each time he greets me cordially and I ask him about his job. He cleaned up really well—no more lip ring (which the manager did ask him to not wear) and the long pants hide the racy tattoos. I thought about telling him that if he had cleaned up his presentation first, and with his good personal skills, he probably could have gotten a $15/hour job. But he seems happy and I want Taco Bell to stay fully staffed.

The morals of the story are:

  • Companies are desperately looking for good people. Granted, this is not a $100,000/year position but it’s certainly better than nothing.
  • Taking action still gets results. Up to the $30-40,000 level positions, walking in the door is still a great job search strategy. With a pleasing personality, people are being offered jobs on the spot.
  • Sitting at home complaining about the economy or what the White House is doing is not a job search strategy. Use the Jeff approach, think outside the bun and start work tomorrow.


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