Not quite 30 years ago, I was working as an Assistant Store Manager for a well known discount retailer. They took over the lease of a defunct company in a rather economically depressed town in Atlantic County NJ and pulled together a management team to hire and train a staff in a matter of one week which would be used to merchandise the store, unload truckloads daily, and ultimately become the opening team. Advertisements were placed in local newspapers, and a hiring team was formed out of myself, another Assistant Manager and two HR representatives borrowed from other local outlets owned by this company. Advertisements ran in the local newspaper announcing three dates and times to appear for interviews.
We had about 150 full and part-time jobs to offer and were greeted by close to 500 applicants the first day. Over the three days, I would guess we met close to 1200 people. At the end of this stretch, we had filled maybe 75 slots as there just were not enough minimally qualified people who applied. Eventually, the jobs were filled as we got referrals from many of those we initially hired and were able to transfer a few experienced folks from other locations.
The reasons we could not fill all the slots initially are not terribly different from the dilemma many hiring managers tell me they are dealing with today. Many of the people who showed up did not follow the simple directions we advertised to bring two pieces of identification, a list of three references, and if a resume was not available simply bring a list of prior work history to assist in completing the application. More than half of the candidates who showed up could not properly fill out the application form or provide the basic information we asked for so did not even get interviewed. Many of the others complained our pay was not enough to get them to give up their welfare or unemployment checks. Eventually, we got a decent team in place but I must tell you, my first real experience in the staffing field was quite a challenge!