Best Way to Get a Job? Connections

Aug 16th, 2013 | By | Category: Nick Kemper's Blog

I worked for four tow companies over a span of 21 years. I started with a four-truck operation that ran service station calls mostly, and some county police tows. When I had been there about 18 months, the company was purchased by a larger tow company and they called us all in on a Friday afternoon and gave us the news. The good news was that they were keeping all four drivers, keeping our pay the same, and keeping us all in the same assigned trucks. I guess they put on that show for the former owner, because on Monday morning they laid off two of the drivers and cut the pay of the other driver and myself. I only worked for them for two weeks as a result, getting a job at an impound company in the inner city.

I worked there for almost 11 years. Somewhere around the seventh year we were bought out by RoadOne. That wasn’t what led me to leave there, not directly anyway. Our manager left and started a new firm in direct competition with us. He took our salesman with him and a couple of key drivers, and they immediately cut into our business. My commission pay dropped three consecutive years, finally dropping so low that I was able to switch to my old manager’s company without taking a drop in pay, which is what kept me from asking him for a job for three years.

When I went to work for him, I resolved to do more personally to make the company successful than I had done at the previous company, and within a year I moved into a management position. I stayed there for eight years, eventually moving into an operations manager position where I led a management team of six.

I was talking with someone the other day about how hard it can be for someone who is unemployed to find a job using traditional application/interview strategies. My feeling is that the best way to get a job is through a connection. It started me thinking about my employment history.

My first non-berry-picking, non-family job was at age 15 working at a cafe owned by a neighbor.

I also worked two summers for the same neighbor at their granary.

I applied for and got a summer job working at a cannery.

The next summer I applied for and got a summer job working at a plant nursery. Those two jobs, incidentally, were probably the two worst jobs I ever endured, other than two hours as a dishwasher in a restaurant.

I worked two years in a pizza place, doing deliveries. My sister worked there and got me the job.

I worked about a year delivering parts, doing maintenance and filling in for other departments at a company that made crimping tools. My brother worked there and got me the job.

The first tow company job was working for my brother-in-law, who managed the company.

My brother-in-law had moved to the impound company before me, so when the other company bought us out and cut our pay, I called him to ask for a job.

When I was in the slow decline at the impound company, we were at a birthday party for my stepfather (who also worked with me, which is how I met my wife) and my old boss was there – the one who left to start his own company. My wife suggested to him that he give me a call because I was ready to move on.

One of the owners of TowPartsNow used to work with me at the impound company and around the time I was ready to try something new, he sent me an email one day and that eventually led to this job.

So out of 10 jobs, only two were secured through the traditional apply and interview method. I’ve applied for jobs I did not get as well. I don’t think I’ve ever looked into a job that I found out about through a connection and then didn’t get the job if I wanted it. I’ve hired many people I knew personally. I’ve had periods of unemployment (though not since age 20) and I wonder now if I would have been better off just calling friends and family and asking if they knew of any open positions I might be able to handle.

It’s an unscientific sample, but my history supports the contention that the best way to get a job is through someone you know. And my personal feeling is that when we do that, we feel obligated in a way to that person to justify their recommendation or decision to hire us by doing a good job.

Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper

www.TowPartsNow.com