Hired today, gone tomorrow More than one third of small businesses surveyed say job-seekers are no-shows, or they turn into ghosts after taking the job
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/12/2022 (184 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Instead of bustling with diners, Helios Restaurant & Catering is filled with shelving and takeout containers.
Nicholas Douklias must hire eight to 12 people to restart the dine-in portion of his business. It’s not something he’s prepared to do.
“I have so many friends in the restaurant industry, and (labour shortages are) what’s hurting them,” Douklias said. “I see what’s going on. I’ll still be waiting to reopen until, hopefully, things settle down.”
More than one-third of small businesses — 36 per cent — have hired people that never show up to the job, or stop coming in shortly after, according to recent Canadian Federation of Independent Business data.
Over the past year, 37 per cent of small business owners have set up interviews where candidates don’t arrive, or the applicant stops responding during the hiring process, the CFIB reported.
The problem isn’t new. However, it’s likely gotten worse, said Kathleen Cook, the CFIB’s director for the prairies and northern Canada.
“Job seekers can entertain multiple offers and… be very selective of where they want to work.”–Kathleen Cook
“I think that’s a function of the labour market,” Cook said. “Job seekers can entertain multiple offers and… be very selective of where they want to work.”
Manitoba’s unemployment rate was 4.4 per cent in November, down 0.2 percentage points from the prior month. Meantime, sectors like hospitality and construction have been calling for workers.
Douklias is sticking to catering for now. He and his father changed the business model amid pandemic-era lockdowns, and they had to lay off their staff.
“For us, catering was the answer,” Douklias said. “It was the best way for us to basically survive and remain open.”
The family cooks in the restaurant’s kitchen. Once, servers roamed the dining space, carrying plates of Greek food to customers.
But even pre-pandemic, hiring was tough, Douklias said.
“It was kind of standard — you’d set up… 10 interviews, and you were happy if almost half would show up,” he said. “They would ghost you, basically, which was very strange.”
“I would’ve been fine if you said, ‘I’m not interested anymore,’” he added. “Just don’t waste an employer’s time by saying you’re coming for an interview.”
Sheila Reda shares the frustration. She’s posting Indeed ads — for truck drivers, for fabricators — and receiving fewer applications.
“(Then) most just don’t show up,” Reda, Hugh Munro Construction’s administrator, said.
She’s mindful to include details in postings, she said.
“If (people) take the time to read the job ad, if they’re on there in the first place to find a job, you’d think they’d be pretty serious,” she said. “Maybe they found another job, a better job, I’m not sure.”
One in five small businesses risk closure
One in five small Manitoban businesses are at risk of closure, according to Canadian Federation of Independent Business data.
The average CFIB member in the keystone province carries $80,073 of pandemic-era debt, with 49 per cent of members holding such debt. Forty-four per cent of small Manitoban businesses are tracking below average sales.
— Gabrielle Piché
Hospitality, transportation, construction and manufacturing industries reported being the most affected by candidates’ ghosting, the CFIB’s Cook said.
Some smaller restaurants have closed their doors for weeks at a time because the few staff on payroll are burned out, both she and Douklias noted.
“You will see unexpected closures or shorter hours as a result of positions being unfilled,” Cook said.
She didn’t have an answer on why candidates don’t show up for interviews. An increase in demand for workers, and heightened competition, is one potential cause, she said.
Some applicants say they’re applying to satisfy job-seeking components of Employment Insurance, small business owners have told Cook.
“To be clear, I think the vast majority of EI recipients are looking for work in good faith,” Cook said. “Some candidates may prefer to stay on EI for as long as possible and may be applying for or taking jobs just to satisfy the requirements.”
Canadians on EI are required to document their ongoing job search to keep their benefits.
Skilled labour shortages are limiting growth for 53 per cent of small businesses, according to a December CFIB release. Semi- and unskilled labour shortages are affecting the growth of 38 per cent of businesses.
“To be clear, I think the vast majority of EI recipients are looking for work in good faith.”–Kathleen Cook
Effort and strategy are non-negotiables for companies recruiting in the tight hiring market, Jaysa Toet, the founder of Lively Consulting, wrote in an email.
“Transparent communication is key and so is keeping a good pace in your process,” she wrote.
Job seekers should be transparent on if they’re planning to not continue a company’s hiring process, Toet added.
“Ghosting wastes time all around and can be easily avoided with a quick email or phone call,” she wrote.
The CFIB’s online survey involved 3,264 members responding between Nov. 10 and 28. For comparison purposes, the survey’s margin of error would be +/- 1.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.