Washington County's slow recovery making employers cautious
Winebrenner Transfer Inc. secretary Angel Zurvalec, right, chats Friday with company driver Jim Morris at the trucking company's Conococheague location. Zurvalec started with the firm last year as a temporary employee, but later was given full-time status. (By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer / September 15, 2012)
“I was told they received something like over 400 resumes for the one position. Four hundred resumes for one job!” Zurvalec said.
The company told her she had too much experience for what they needed, she said.
“And, from their point-of-view, yes, I was overqualified. But I was so desperate, I would have taken anything,” she said.
“And that ‘overqualified’ reason is confusing sometimes. I’m overqualified, so why wouldn’t you want me?” Zurvalec asked. “A lot of it is just the money. They think they are going to have to pay for my skills and, yes, to some extent. But there is negotiation.”
So, eight months after looking unsuccessfully on her own, Zurvalec turned to Manpower. The employment services company interviewed her and hired her as a temporary contract employee to fill a local trucking company’s need for a secretary, local Manpower manager Sandi Glessner said.
Randy Winebrenner, president of trucking company Winebrenner Transfer Inc. of Hagerstown, said he uses the temp agency “because they send me somebody qualified and if they work out, I hire them. I can’t interview and have 100 office people coming here, trying to pick one.”
And so, after a few months, Winebrenner hired Zurvalec as a full-time secretary.
“I found my dream job. That’s the best part about this whole thing,” Zurvalec said. “It has worked out very well for me. And, I now have health insurance again.”
Manpower’s temp system worked for Dietz, too.
Having worked full time as a sales rep for six years in Hagerstown, Dietz left in late 2007 for what he thought was a better job, working full time operating a forklift and other equipment at a warehouse in Chambersburg, Pa.
But the recession had started and as it deepened, the businesses that paid to have their products stored in the warehouse cut back, hurting Dietz’s new employer. Dietz said his work hours dropped from about 50 a week to as low as 25 a week.
The cutback affected the entire work force, he said.
“It went from a three-shift company, to two shifts, then to one shift with less than 25 people total” as workers were idled, he said.
With the future there looking “kind of bleak,” Dietz said, he resigned to find a better job. A newspaper ad by Manpower gave him a new start and, within a week, he said, he was working as a temp for more than 40 hours a week “for significantly more money” at another warehouse.
A few months later, Dietz got another break. Increasingly busy, Manpower itself wanted Dietz working full time instead in its Hagerstown office “because he had extreme attention to details and had great accuracy,” Glessner said.
Then, last winter, when Dietz said the client activity at Manpower and other such agencies normally slows, Manpower sent him to work as a temp at Fil-Tec Inc.
A Cavetown manufacturer, it needed help in customer service while a female employee was on maternity leave, he said.
But then, another woman retired and he was hired full time in April, working in customer service and as an administrative assistant at Fil-Tec, Dietz said.
Looking back, Dietz said he feels “very fortunate” to have stayed employed and to have landed another full-time permanent job during the recession, at a time when so many others still are struggling.