For the over a thousand job seekers In Tooele County, employment is a fulltime concern. However, according to Sid Hullinger, senior vice president of Broken Arrow/McFarland Hullinger, job searching should also be seen as a full-time occupation.
“I think when you’re looking for a job that becomes your job. It’s not a pleasant experience, but you need to work at it,” Hullinger said.
Hullinger has the experience to know.
Previous to his senior management position Hullinger spent 25 years working in human resources for Kennecott.
The hard work starts with things as simple as learning how to correctly spell words when filling out job applications.
Hullinger said the most important thing to remember in a job interview is to really listen to the question and then respond correctly.
“A lot of young people will try and outguess you,” he said.
Dressing appropriately is also important. He also thinks young people need to be aware that most work places are drugfree environments and potential employees need to be able to pass a drug test.
Hullinger remembers one interview when he curiously asked the interviewee if he was aware that the company was a drug-free environment. If so, he asked the young man why he had chosen to show up to the interview with a bandana tied around his head that read Budweiser. To his suprise the young man became angry and said he didn’t care what Hullinger thought. At that Hullinger said OK you don’t have to care what I think and I don’t have to hire you.
Hullinger advises looking for jobs in newspapers, employment centers, temp agencies and through networking with friends and associates. He advises job seekers to be aware of new businesses just opening up and expanding, pointing out the new jobs created by the opening of the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Grantsville.
“If you don’t think there are any jobs out there look at the Sunday newspapers. There are literally thousands of jobs …. keep you ear to the ground,” Hullinger advised.
He encourages job seekers to take advantage of the resources available.
Assistance job searching
Tooele has three main resource centers for job seekers: Workforce services at 305 N. Main Suite 100, the LDS Employment Center located next to Deseret Industries and Intermountain Staffing Resources at 7 S. Main St. Additional resources are also available in Salt Lake City, Provo and surrounding communities.
Workforce Services and the LDS Employment Center are both available at no cost to all job seekers. They provide computers to search for jobs, lists of current jobs in Tooele and throughout the state, typing and other skill-building programs, access to computer software to type up resumes and good advice. In addition, both offer free classes to job seekers.
Intermountain Staffing Resources is a for-profit business hired by many Tooele County employers to find employees for them. It costs nothing for job seekers to go in.
“If you go to any of these employment specialists they’ll teach you how to do these things,” Hullinger added.
Dorothy Williams, at Tooele’s Workforce Services, and other employees at the Tooele Center offer support to job seekers in every area from resumes to interviewing skills. The computers have programs like Word and Win Way Resume so job seekers can create resumes. Floppy disks are even available to those who don’t have one.
Williams thinks one of the strength of the Tooele location is they “pretty much know what the population is.”
As jobs turn up they can match them with the job seekers they’ve gotten to know.
If job seekers are still struggling to find a job, Williams advises job seekers to evaluate if their focus is too narrow.
If they’re focusing only on jobs in Tooele County, she questions them on that.
“At that point I ask why they’re not willing to commute,” Williams said.
According to Jim Robson, Regional economist over Tooele County, 45.5 percent of Tooele’s population currently commutes outside the county for jobs, a big change from 1980, when only 16 percent of Tooele County residents left the county for employment.
But, transportation can be a problem for some.
For instance, Moises Acevedo works at Deseret Industries for minimum wage. He takes the bus to work, although he has the money to buy a cheap car.
“I should buy a car. I have enough money for a cheap car, but I’m going to spend it on my education. I’ve got three years. I hope I can do it in three years,” Acevedo said.
In order to get to work, Acevedo gets up at 6 a.m. to take the bus at 6:45 a.m. He then waits for an hour inside Wal-Mart until the doors to Deseret Industries open at 8 a.m. He gets off work at 4:30 p.m. and then goes back to Wal-Mart and reads Harry Potter until just before the bus comes at 6:04 p.m.
Still, he is grateful to have a job at all. It will help him complete his degree in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University.
When Elder Paul and Sister Rexine Evans at LDS Employment Services talk with job seekers, they emphasize over and over the importance of education.
“They need to know they need an education or they’re not going to get anywhere because everything is computers these days,” Paul Evans said. “There have been quite a few people come in here and they don’t have skills. They don’t have anything. It’s tough.”
Still, the couple of 44 years were excited to report that just Friday they helped several people get jobs. They never ask what faith a person it. The service is for everyone.
“I think your personal life is your personal life and it’s nobody’s business,” Paul Evans said.
A business perspective
While job seekers may complain they can’t find a good job, local businesses report it’s a challenge finding skilled applicants in the county.
For instance, Genesis Dental’s hygienist commutes from north Salt Lake. The job pays around $30 an hour at their office because it’s hard to find someone to fill it in Tooele, said Valerie Coffman, office manager.
The job requires a two- or fouryear degree.
In addition, Genesis Dental employs two dental assistants.
The last opening for a dental assistant was about three months ago.
Valerie Coffman estimates they had about 20 applications, but only a few of those were qualified. When they need a temp worker to fill in, the temp agency usually has to pay more to get someone to drive to Tooele.
Two dentists from Salt Lake share the practice part-time, but one is moving to Tooele and will then take over the practice fulltime.
At Tip Nails & Hair, Manager Doanh Mai said they currently have only one part-time technician.
Mai commutes from Salt Lake and doesn’t know of qualified people in Tooele. The technicians he knows do not want to drive here from Salt Lake. But if someone well-qualified from Tooele were to apply, Mai would be thrilled.
“My boss, he’s very picky. He wants a good technician. A lot of them do a lot of different styles, but he wants a really good one,” Mai said.
Tunex assistant manager Wendy Dennison also reports it’s hard to find qualified people, although once people are hired they tend to stay. Tunex employs four full-time people and a couple part-timers.
On the other hand Tunex mechanics Ryan Mahoney and Eric Firkins report it’s easy to find work for those with the skills.
Both completed certifications before they were hired. While Mahoney applied, Firkins was actually recruited from another place he worked at. Both still keep busy with continuing education.
“A lot of new classes, you have to keep up with all the new technology,” Mahoney said.
I’ve got to go to one next week and I’ve got to go to one this week,” Firkins added.
At Standard Plumbing Supply, Manager Shawn Lloyd is willing to do some in-house training, though any expertise certainly helps. He currently employs two journeyman plumbers, Travis Sagers and Keith Day, who can provide expert advice to customers. A third employee, Barbara Knutson, was trained after getting the job. She says she didn’t even know how to replace a toilet seat when she started, but has learned considerably since. In the summers, Lloyd also hires college-aged individuals to help out. When he does he looks for reliability, experience and grooming.
“We have a very high grooming standard so appearance is important. They’re dealing with the public,” he explains.
He’s had the hardest time with hiring young workers.
“My honest opinion is it’s hard to hire the younger generation. They just don’t have the work ethic. They want to have it all now and not earn it. They want you to give them the big dollars now and not show you they can do it first — like it should be. I mean that’s not true for all of them. We’ve had some real good ones. It just seems you go through a whole lot of them before you find those,” Lloyd said.
Manager Chris Hollings at Guitars and More commutes from Sugarhouse for his job. When he employed two part-time workers, he selected customers who had demonstrated their expertise.
“They’re just local, live out here and have been good customers. They know their stuff,” said Hollings.
Iceberg’s general manager Adam Smith was glad to receive “immediate and overwhelming response,” for the jobs he has posted in the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin and at the LDS Employment Center across the street from his business.
Recently he hired a day cook and a night cook.
“[We found] very qualified people — a lot of experience in cooking and it took a lot of applications to find them so I’m glad a lot of people responded,” Smith said.
One of the new cooks, Nancy Chavez, spent six months looking for a job. Time after time she would apply and be told that someone else had been selected, despite the fact Smith vouches for her skill and experience. Today she says in her native Spanish that she is very happy to be working where she is.
Enduring in the job search requires an inner toughness,” agrees Hullinger.
“You’re not going to find a job everywhere you go and you’ve got to learn to deal with rejection. You can’t get discouraged because you don’t connect with employer A, B or C because you’ll connect with employer D. You’ve got to keep your spirits up and keep on trying.” Hullinger said.
Daniel Hermel is doing just that. A graduate of ITT Technical Institute he knows the process. He understands the importance of networking and keeps in touch with ITT Tech to find job leads. He also visits multiple staffing agencies in Salt Lake City and Workforce Services and LDS Career services in Tooele. He has tailored resumes and submits them in a clean, professional format. Just Tuesday he had several interviews. As of press time, nothing had born fruit, but he speaks to the importance of persevering.
“I just plan on trying whatever I can,” Hermel said as he rattled off all he has accomplished so far as he works to find work.