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  • 2 months ago

Unprofessional dress, including miniskirts and baggy pants, body odour, and vulgarity are some of the turn-offs that have caused Jamaican job seekers not to be given the jobs at interviews.

The 2017 National Labour Market Survey (NLMS) noted that local employers sometimes face difficulties when they attempt to hire staff because of a lack of work experience, underqualified applicants, and bad impressions during interviews.

This is no surprise to Dr Leahcim Semaj, founder of the business management consulting firm Above or Beyond. He told The Sunday Gleaner that people are getting “dubious” advice on how to package and present themselves for interviews.

“Dress is an issue. When you dress, you are packaging yourself and you are representing the organisation. One of the things we do is hire for companies, so we have to match you with the culture of the organisation,” said Semaj.

“If you are applying for a managerial post and you don’t package yourself as a manager, that’s too far down for us to start. I don’t mean the latest design. I am talking about being clean and well-put-together because you are not going to the beach or a dance,” added Semaj.

Lack Of Resourcefulness

He argued that job seekers who turned up late for interviews also turned off employers. According to Semaj, this happens far too often.

“If you are running late for some reason, you should call ahead and explain what is happening. It can’t be, ‘Boy, me never have any credit’. It shows a lack of resourcefulness. Within two

minutes, people make solid impressions of you. Anything you say after that might fail in changing the impression,” said Semaj.

He argued that a lack of work experience is not a major problem even though the latest labour market survey shows that 32 per cent of

employers listed this as the major problem when they are seeking new employees.

For Semaj, the major problem is persons with no experience making unrealistic salary demands.

“You have to start somewhere. Once somebody is consciously aware that they have limited work experience and you are willing to start and work their way in and up, I have no problem. Now if you make unrealistic salary requests, that’s where I have a problem. You need to do some research for the particular position you are applying for and stick within that range.

“Most resumes we see are bad. Your height, your weight and your marital status don’t add any value at all to your resume. What are your skills? What are your achievements?” added Semaj as he pointed to another problem area for employers.

For president of the Jamaica Employers Federation, David Wan, too many job seekers fall down in basic areas.

“What we find is a lack of soft skills such as common courtesy and manners – how they dress, how they talk, the way they communicate, personal hygiene,” said Wan.

“We should start in the high schools and give some training as to what is expected once you leave that high school and move into the working world. There has to be more sensitisation starting at the high-school level.

“It’s not a task we can lobby the Ministry of Education to take on, but I think we have to start there. You can’t just graduate this summer from a high school and in a month, get this conversion to have the social skills necessary to function properly in the workplace. It’s going to be a process, but that is where I think we need to start,” Wan

The Labour Market Trends and Prospects for Employment Opportunities in Jamaica, prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, showed that Jamaica’s labour force was supplied by graduates from 164 secondary schools, the HEART Trust/NTA, local colleges, and universities.

The survey indicated that employers are looking for knowledgeable individuals, with skills specific to the position, persons who are responsible and committed, prior work experience, and who come to the interview with good physical appearance.

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  • Have more career fairs. I’m sure some lack the drive but others may not have the funds for business attire. Have workshops that hold mock interviews. Teach people how to fill out resumes and how to prepare for interviews. It is actually imaginable that people have just enough or barely enough to buy food and can’t afford basic toiletries. Too embarrassed to ask for help or to even borrow a suit of clothes for an interview because of course our culture shame “borrow clothes crowd” even if it’s for a good cause.
    I’m looking at this article from an angle of being too poor to afford the basic necessities to be presentable at the much needed job interview. I know people need to be held accountable, especially for intentionally being late at an interview, but what about those who can’t even find bus fare and are too ashamed to admit that they walked 15 miles hence the body odor from sweat and no funds for even a deodorant. Not making excuses, just alluding to the fact that our people are suffering and not all instances are they to be blamed. They need help. Some want to do better. They were just not fortunate enough to have the tools and education to elevate.

    Nameless... July 8, 2018 1:09 pm Reply
    • You are a breath of fresh fair well reasoned AIr !!!Bless up for your insight on this Nameless. :2thumbup :salaman :shakehand2 :recsel :toast

      Yardielovethug July 8, 2018 7:39 pm Reply
    • Well said :2thumbup :2thumbup

      People need to employ some empathy in these circumstances; it’s all too simple (and highly unfair) to just look at things black and white.

      Cassie July 9, 2018 5:11 am Reply
  • My heart cry when I hear things like this @YLT @Cassie. And even though the crime rate against returning citizens seem to be rising? I am praying that the LORD bless me with the funds and resources to assist when the time is right.
    There are so many in the diaspora that want to assist but are afraid of being targeted. I just hope this situation is rectified sooner than later. I am not afraid. I just need more researching and more resources before I venture forward. They world has made it illegal to be poor.

    Nameless July 9, 2018 1:18 pm Reply

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