Looking for a Few Good Human Beings

By Lloyd Graff

My machinery sales company, Graff-Pinkert, is looking for at least one more person to work in our factory. 

I let two people go during the pandemic because of lack of business, and we just lost a skilled screw machine rebuilder who had worked for us as a gig employee four days a week. The pace of business today is hectic, with more action than we can readily handle, so I am looking for one or two people to join us.

How do you find good people who fit into your organization?

Networking is my first choice. Talk to your people to see if they know of somebody with the right skills who is between jobs, interested in switching, or wanting to start a new career. This has worked for me before, but it has had no traction this time.

Recruiting firms are another idea, but my impression is that they are primarily aimed at high-priced, specialized talent.

Informing folks at vocational schools has been another approach I have tried with no success. In the past, I have hired kids with no skills, no drive, and a few who were thieves.

An approach which worked for us in the past is focusing heavily on the local publications which cater to the community where our business is located and may catch just the right person at the right time. One of our best recent hires came in a serendipitous way. The man’s wife saw an ad in the most local of local publications and recognized the name Graff, which she knew was a member of the synagogue I belong to. She is the synagogue’s staff manager. She called my wife and said that her husband had just lost his job, which he had held for 20 years at a local firm that was experiencing hard times. 

I said to come in for an interview and hired him on the spot. 

This time around I am hoping again for serendipity. I decided to try something quite different than any wanted advertisement I had ever seen before for a cleaner-painter. I also knew we were competing with Amazon, which just completed a gigantic nearby warehouse, with decent benefits and college tuition dangled as a bonus offer after 18 months on the job.

The first sentence of the Graff-Pinkert advertisement stated that the company was looking for “a good human being.” I then lauded the values and history of the firm, emphasizing it was a local family business in Oak Forest, Illinois. Then I described the job and the pay and stated that the person we hire must not mind getting dirty on the job.

We experimented by running the ad in just four communities in the local internet news publication. We requested that people who were interested come by the office to fill out an application. The ad cost $28 for the week.

We got one interesting 20-year-old who stopped by and one highly overqualified person with a great deal of experience in repairing CNC equipment, which we have been investing in heavily. He lives five minutes from Graff-Pinkert and is commuting an hour each way to his current job. He saw an opportunity from the text of the ad and the address of the company. He knew exactly where our building was.

Will we hire him? I don’t know yet. That would probably mean hiring two people, which is what we really need.

We will run the ad again with a wider circulation this week. 

Do you know of any good human beings in the neighborhood? It’s a long shot, but aren’t they all?

Question: Do old school help wanted ads still work for you?

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2 thoughts on “Looking for a Few Good Human Beings

  1. Ray Miller

    Let me see here? You are very respected in the CNC Screw Machine industry and the good Lord send a qualified person to advance your Co, but you think he is over qualified? Hire him let him pick his trainee and you made a great decision for your Co. future? Us OLD Dogs have to start training the Pups!

    1. Ron

      The guy might take a little cut in pay since he’s basically traveling 9 hours more a week and not getting paid for it.


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