Hundreds of people attended a job fair at the Western Fair Agriplex in London, Ont. on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Derek Ruttan / The London Free Press)
When you apply for a job in London, the character counts.
This is according to the recruiters who attended the London and Area Works labor fair on Tuesday afternoon at the Agriplex building in the Western Fair District.
"It's a personality. It is an initiative. It's the motivation, "which employers are looking for, recruiter Angela Parsons said.
Parsons works for Fleet Master Tank and Trailer, a company on Industrial Road near London International Airport that repairs trucks and buses.
The Fleet Master, which employs 22 people, is seeking to fill two positions.
One of them, a parts counter representative, would ideally be filled by someone who has solid "soft skills" as a strong work ethic.
"I do not think it's something that you just woke up," Parsons said.
But Parsons is having trouble finding the right fit. "There is a huge generational gap there," he added, meaning that the youth she meets have a deadly fear of learning failure. "They do not know how to fail."
Melissa Mullett works for David's Vacation Club Rentals, which plans to hire up to 10 people. It also values social skills.
Your father started the company. He has no special qualifications or certifications, she explained. "What he has is character, care and concern for others," she said.
The job fair comes in the shadow of an effort launched by London Mayor Ed Holder last week as he withdrew the London Jobs Now task force for a return-to-the-basics approach to boosting Forest City's jobs numbers .
Holder pointed to 9,000 job openings – a number provided by Statistics Canada in a report on vacancies for London in 2018, and has now gone from 11,000 – saying "There is a job for practically all Londoners who are ready to work."
Kapil Lakhotia, director of London Economic Development Corp., said the biannual job fair has already attracted up to 2,000 applicants in the past.
He said that "several hundred" job seekers appeared at Agriplex in the early hours of the show.
The event is perfect for testing the social skills that employers are seeking because it requires the "personal connectivity" that is valued by London businesses.
"The traditional fair employment model is still quite popular," said Lakhotia. "The development of the workforce is the main constraint facing our economy."
Kevin Raczynski was among the Londoners lining up to talk to the recruiters.
He finished his last exam at Western University a few days ago and is "looking for an engineering position, preferably production engineering," he said. Otherwise, he is willing to accept "anything mechanically inclined" until a more suitable position opens.
Raczynski had left curricula at more than 20 booths.
And how does the newly graduated graduate assess their chances of securing a position in their field? "It is hard to say. I hope to get a call back, "he said.