Dr. Hal Butler wants to hire a receptionist for his Hagerstown dental practice. Thus far, more than 200 people have applied.
John Kelly wants to hire five new workers for his Mount Airy, Md., sign company. He’s got stacks of applications — some from people who, he said, are far overqualified.
“It’s heartbreaking, really,” Kelly said. “I’ve worked in large companies myself. Some of the resumes we’re getting are people who should be in companies like that. But these people just need a job.”
So it is in an economy where new job opportunities still are scarce and unemployment rates remain higher than before the recession.
Even now, however, some jobs are going begging.
For instance, Leroy Rassa still is looking for a repair technician he wants to hire for his Martinsburg, W.Va., company.
He sweetened the wage and benefits package with fully paid health insurance and a sign-on bonus, but “I’ve seen probably less than a handful” of applicants, Rassa said.
And, except for one applicant who lived too far away and another who wanted a higher metro-area wage, “most of them aren’t qualified,” Rassa said. “They’re people looking for work. People are just looking to find anything they can.”
The Herald-Mail talked to officials at eight of the companies that have run advertisements in its Help Wanted classified ads section this past week.
All are offering jobs that will be full time — an employment plum increasingly hard to find after a recession in which many firms nationwide cut their work forces and then, cut costs in another way by making any new jobs part time, with fewer benefits.
Many applicants, one job
MEC Inc., an electrical contracting and service company based in Hagerstown, has seen “absolutely no recovery” in the area economy, said Greg Mills, vice president and director of business development.
But right now, it needs an administrative assistant/customer service dispatcher to replace a worker who left for a job elsewhere, Mills said.
Thus far, its “help wanted” ad has drawn a “very large number” — more than 100 applications, he said. “We’re seeing some very talented” applicants, he said.
MEC has more than 30 employees.
Before the recession began in 2007, companies commonly posted a “help wanted” ad as soon as an employee gave notice. But many employers have said that after the recession began, the question was whether they could get by without hiring someone else.
Mills said he’s had to consider that, too. “That’s a tragedy to have to distribute work” among your other employees, asking each to do more, he said.
“Our industry has seen very, very little (economic) improvement, if anything,” Mills said. “... For the most part, the construction industry, especially commercial construction, is still doing very, very bad. Dismal.”
Of all of the kinds of work that MEC does, one “is still very vibrant,” business-wise, he said. The work of servicing electrical equipment at commercial, industrial and residential facilities has been strong the past two years, he said.