Hiring Conundrum -- The Obama Employees

For some reason I do not fully understand, the people who pester me the hardest for jobs tend to work out the worst as employees.  I cannot think of a reason this should be true, so perhaps this is just an artifact of having only a few data points.   But yet again we recently had another person we had to terminate who pursued me literally for years for a job, only to be unproductive and ineffective in the job from day one.  For some reason energy and enthusiasm in the job hunt do not translate to energy and enthusiasm in the job.

I have come to think of these as Obama employees -- people who are brilliant and energetic in seeking a job, but ineffective and oddly unmotivated once they have the job.

Postscript:  Last year, we had about 300 seasonal employees.  Of these, perhaps 50-75 will choose not to return or will not be asked to return the following year, opening up that many positions for new hires.  For these 50-75 spots, we had over 22,000 applications last year.  And since many of these applications are for a couple, we really had well over 30,000 applications.  This makes us more selective than Harvard, lol.


  1. Red R:

    I have found a similar phenomenon with tenants. The ones that are the most eager and over the top to apply are generally bigger problems as tenants. I think it has something to do with their self-centeredness (and aggressiveness). As a result, if someone wants an apartment "too" much I usually pass on renting to them. Strange but true.

  2. Charles Milligan:

    I believe it's the same problem as when men pursue women "enthusiastically". Women will complain that they are pigs. They act this way because it works. They are pigs because women "date" them, they are lazy because people hire them and are problem tenants because they get the apartment. Sadly I think there is no fix.

  3. SuperMike:

    Maybe they're so persistent because they are having the most trouble getting a job they find suitable. Chances are that the very best employees are already happily working somewhere else.

  4. Mike Powers:

    They don't actually like a job; that's boring and stupid and hard and sometimes you have to do stuff you'd rather not do.

    They do like the emotional high that comes with *getting* a job, with starting a new thing and making yourself over and finding a new energy and all that rot. It's like the people who happily buy something they didn't actually want just because it's on sale.

    Or, maybe, it's like the people who come to be addicted to getting talked down off the ledge.

  5. David Neylon:

    My youngest son is the exact opposite. He doesn't try hard to get a job. Won't call back to check on an application. But once he gets a job he puts everything he has into it. His only real problem is that he doesn't deal well with "stupid". Which is probably why he's 36 and working two part time jobs.

  6. Caroline:

    That is an interesting observation... Does the persistence seem to disappear as soon as these individuals are hired? Are they inherently lazy?


  7. mesocyclone:

    Fear not... the thousands of illegal children crossing the border will be available as your labor pool. Heck, we'll feed them and educate them. A few might pass through that and still have good values.

  8. Russ R.:

    It's too bad that you can't charge an application fee like Harvard does.

  9. Harry:

    When my brother hired kids to buck bales on the farm, he would start them out at $2 per hour and would raise them the next day to $2.50 if they could show they could do anything, like sweeping feed into the manger. I know you can't do things like that today at Camp Coyote.

  10. FrankWaleczak:

    Hmm, why can't he charge a small fee of say $15?

  11. Harry:

    Lucky for you that the kids are covered under their parents' health care plan, at least until the parents get kicked into Medicaid or an exchange, which will happen shortly after the employer mandate drop dead date. (2017)

  12. Jack:

    That was my first thought.

  13. Eric Hammer:

    Why do you mention kids? Coyote didn't, and I am pretty sure from past posts that the overwhelming majority of his workers are actually older, retirement age if I recall.

  14. rst1317:

    IIRC most airlines charge an application fee. I think technically it's slightly different that that, like a fee for updating your file. But if you want to be in the pool to be considered for hiring, you need to pay it.

  15. Harry:

    Forgive me for an apparently irrelevant comment. I know Coyote is in the campground business, but it would be presumptuous of me to say anything more. I thought one of points was that some of his hires were big disappointments in terms of effort, and that their enthusiasm on the job did not match their enthusiasm when they pestered Coyote for a job.

  16. Eric Hammer:

    He did, I am just not certain where the kids and health care plan bit comes in. I could see why your brother was lucky in that regard, but not Coyote.

  17. c_andrew:

    I like the description of these types as "Obama employees" as his competence in job-seeking and his incompetence on the job certainly make him the near Platonic archetype.

  18. Me too:

    I have the same problem with my painting business. The moment I tell a new hire that I like their work and I think they will make a good fit for my company they stop doing what I liked about them. You can see them ease into the lazyboy recliner. Then its 2 weeks of showing up late, slow production and sloppy work. I drop the hammer and start over.

  19. Harry:

    Eric, this was over thirty years ago on a relatively small farm (100-120 head). We hired kids under age 18. Strong, smart kids interested in being outside instead of next to a cash register. We paid them in cash and did not have them in the above ground economy. Few drove tractors hooked to machinery, but they did ride hay wagons and all were around dangerous Holsteins. They had to climb ladders, grease machinery with materials, and be around E. coli, everywhere.

  20. W. C. Taqiyya:

    I have a theory about the lack of productivity from eager job seekers. But first, I was wondering why coyote is so closely involved in every new hire? Does he not have people who can manage such things? 300 seasonal workers seems like a bunch of extra detail work to my ignorant way of thinking. As for the lack of enthusiasm in some new hires, I speculate that they may have much more practice job seeking than they have with job having. In this economy, if they don't give up, many folks spend a lot of time on the job seeking part of the equation and they probably get good at it. If they get a job, they may have some expectation that the hard part is done and it's easy street from now on. They got the job, mission accomplished, now it's break time. Does this make any sense to anyone but me?

  21. Craig L:

    Maybe they are familiar with the European way of doing things, where you pretty much can't get fired once you have the job.

  22. Howard Luken:

    Fascinating. After telling me in a private email that you didn't do this kind of thing you go ahead and do it anyway. The fiction your attorney wrote as a response to the AG about my complaint can only reflect either total lies spewed by your three employees (which I expected) Or a total lack of honor on your part. This entire episode confirms my suspicions that you are simply paranoid about your employees Being such terrible people suing you all the time. Poor Warren Meyer and his gigantic cash machine. On the guvamint teat no less. That's right I gave up a going business concern in Los Angeles to come work for you for far less than minimum wage. I'm such a lazy person. Good luck Warren.

  23. Howard Luken:

    Selective. A warm body is what you look for.