I Received Over 40 Job Applications
The owner of a family-owned manufacturing business demonstrates how to write a job listing that generates applications.
Here are today’s highlights:
Communication lesson No. 2: The power of a sincere apology.
Are electric vehicles killing car dealerships?
The latest inflation report brings more good news.
In NYC, Uber drivers are now earning less than taxi drivers.
Karla Trotman proves that taking the time to write an authentic job listing can make all the difference: “I told them that Electro Soft was a minority-, woman-, and family-owned manufacturing company. I stated what our core values were and my desire to take the company to the next level as the Gen2 owner. The ad mentioned that no experience was fine because we could train folks on how to build electronics. We were just looking for good humans with a desire to build things. And I posted two pictures. One of the type of work that we do and the other is below. It shows me and my father looking at a blueprint before he retired. And do you know what happened? Within one day I received over 40 applications.”
“That may not seem like much, but for a small company, one that used to receive 8 applications over a two-week period, it was HUGE.”
“In the pool of candidates were some incredible people, many of whom when asked what attracted them to apply said the following:”
“‘That it was a woman-owned and family-owned business.’”
“‘That a person of color owned the company. I think that is amazing.’”
“‘I liked your family atmosphere. The last place I worked, no one cared about you. They only cared about the piece work and how many you produced.’” READ MORE
Meanwhile, a startup CEO demonstrates the power of a sincere apology: “Andrew Benin wrote the email in a few hours and didn’t bother proofreading or showing a draft to anyone before he sent it to 35,544 people. He was unusually eager to say the most dreaded word in business: sorry. Mr. Benin is the chief executive of Graza, a startup that has turned squeezable bottles of extra-virgin olive oil into hot kitchen staples, delighting people who never knew they could have strong feelings about healthy liquid fat. But some of those customers were disappointed when their holiday gifts arrived late and badly packaged, and Mr. Benin felt that he should apologize. To all of them. So he contacted everyone who had ordered Graza’s olive oils in the previous 60 days to ask for a second chance.”
“It explained in plain English and candid detail what went wrong and why. It took accountability for those errors and offered a discount on future orders. It was raw, transparent about uncertainty and messy with typos and misspellings. It was also oddly entertaining and strangely charming. “
“Mr. Benin watched the replies come back within minutes. First one, then another, then 866 more. ‘Thanks for your honesty,’ wrote one. ‘I wish more businesses did the same.’”
“‘I won’t be using the discount,’ wrote another, ‘but I will be reordering.’” READ MORE
A bookstore owner posted a tweet complaining about a customer, and it got more than 5 million views: “Little kids ripping pages out of pop-up books before putting them back on the shelf. Not-so-sly customers buying books, reading them and then bringing them back — like at a library. Rebecca George has become accustomed to such irritations as a co-owner of Volumes Bookcafe, an independent bookstore with shops in Wicker Park and downtown. But those didn’t drive George, 42, to post a gripe on Twitter, a tweet that had generated 5.3 million views as of Tuesday evening. She started typing after a customer spent about $800 on art books in the crucial Christmas shopping season and then, this week, said she wanted to return them all.”
“‘Turns out one of our biggest sales last month was for the person to stage their home for the holidays, and now they want to return them all. Please don’t do this to a small business, people. … .’ George tweeted Monday.”
“Unfortunately for the customer, she called a few days after the 30-day return period had expired. After ‘much negotiation,’ the bookshop and the customer agreed on a store credit, George said.”
“On the plus side, George said, ‘We’ve been getting tons and tons of orders overnight from all over the U.S., and we are so thankful for it.’” READ MORE
Are electric vehicles killing car dealerships? “Tesla spent years beating back these laws, with some success. Startups like Rivian and Lucid have mimicked the model, selling without dealer networks in place after Tesla set the precedent for EV buying. Then, car shopping in the pandemic and a prolonged chip shortage that strained inventory trained more buyers to order vehicles from the factory and wait rather than driving off the lot that day in a new set of wheels. This has led car manufacturers and dealers alike to operate on lower volumes and do more build-to-order business.”
“The role of the dealer is changing as a result. Thanks to the disruption caused by EVs, car shoppers of all kinds can expect to spend less time wandering dealership lots, talking with salespeople, and haggling over pricing.”
"’This is a movement that is going to happen within car purchasing — all car purchasing,’ said Karl Brauer, executive analyst for iSeeCars. ‘It will be more critical to EV sales and more expected from EV customers, but will start to migrate as younger and younger buyers enter the market.’"
“Younger shoppers have become accustomed to buying anything they want online, and won't have patience for long visits to brick-and-mortar stores, he said.” READ MORE
Inflation declined for a sixth straight month: “The Consumer Price Index climbed by 6.5 percent in the year through last month, down from 7.1 percent in the November reading, as prices declined slightly on a monthly basis. The annual inflation rate was the slowest since October 2021, a pullback that came as gas prices dropped and airfares declined. Economists and Fed officials are more acutely focused on a so-called core inflation measure, which removes food and fuel prices to get a sense of underlying price trends. That measure climbed by 5.7 percent in December from a year earlier, compared with 6.0 percent previously and in line with what forecasters had expected.”
“The takeaway is that inflation is beginning to meaningfully moderate, helped by developments including cheaper prices at the gas pump and less expensive airfares.”
“But the key question now is how quickly and how completely it will return to normal after a year and a half of unusually rapid increases, and policymakers are wary that a full deceleration could be a long process.” READ MORE
Mark Zandi says the inflation report couldn’t have been much better:
Even used car prices are finally coming down: “In 2023 the market is set to quickly lose traction, UBS Group analysts predicted in an October report titled ‘The Band Stopped Playing.’ Morgan Stanley echoed them a few weeks later: ‘We may be witnessing the sharpest pivot from undersupply to oversupply of light vehicles in a generation.’ Five days after that, Bernstein warned of ‘cracks appearing in global pricing momentum’ during 2022’s fourth quarter. In no segment of the auto universe are those cracks showing more clearly than in the used-car market.”
“Used-vehicle values in December registered the biggest tumble in the 27 years that Manheim—the largest auto-auction company in North America—has been keeping tabs.”
“‘There’s a rebalancing taking place right now: an improved chip offering and slower car demand, due to the higher interest rates and tougher access to credit,’ Carlos Tavares, CEO of Jeep maker Stellantis NV, told reporters last month at a plant near the France-Luxembourg border.”
“‘This rebalancing means that used-car prices are going back to where they always were, which means a business that’s profitable but that has to be managed with a lot of precision.’” READ MORE
Flexport, a startup that makes supply-chain software, is laying off 640 workers: “[Co-CEO Ryan] Petersen started Flexport in 2013 because he figured there had to be a better way to manage the flow of goods that get put on cargo ships, planes, trucks and railroads and transported all over the world. The company’s freight forwarding and brokerage services are in the cloud, enabling it to analyze costs, container efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions quickly and with more accuracy than legacy systems. The company topped last year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list, as supply-chain bottlenecks roiled the global economy and it raised $900 million from investors at an $8 billion valuation. But now the co-CEOs say the company is being challenged as higher interest rates around the world hit demand.” READ MORE
THE GIG ECONOMY
In New York City, Uber and Lyft drivers now earn less than taxi drivers: “During the month of September, Uber and Lyft drivers earned an average total of $5,046, including $277 in tips, while those in taxis earned $5,844, including $865 in tips. Drivers have increasingly battled with Uber, which sued the taxi commission to block a raise for Uber and Lyft drivers in December. Uber argued the raise could cost the company an additional $21 million to $23 million per month, and that it could force it to raise passenger fares by 10 percent. In response, drivers organized two strikes and urged customers to boycott the Uber app.”
“Still, Uber prevailed in its lawsuit after a state court judge said the city had failed to sufficiently justify the increase. The ruling will also apply to drivers for Lyft, which was not part of the lawsuit.”
“Some drivers said they felt trapped because they had invested heavily in Uber and Lyft when they thought driving for a ride-hailing service would be a lucrative career.”
“Alpha Barry, 50, who was a yellow cab driver for about 15 years before switching to ride-hailing apps six years ago, bought a 2017 Lexus for about $42,000 when he decided to work for Lyft. Because of that investment, Mr. Barry said, he cannot return to the taxi industry, even if working conditions might have improved since he left.” READ MORE
Don’t try this with your paper business cards: “[Yujj] makes ‘smart business cards’ with NFC (near-field communication) chips for employees to carry a digital profile that links to an app instead of a traditional business card. Users simply tap the card to a smartphone, and the technology will allow them to instantly transfer their contact to another person's phone. With its global headquarters in Naperville, Yujj wants to stand out in what is becoming an increasingly competitive marketplace.”
“‘If you Google digital business cards, there are already a lot out there. But we’re different in a few ways,’ Amanda Adams with Yujj told Chicago Inno. ‘We have analytics that give the users insights into where their connections are.’”
“Yujj also gives users customizable options such as linking to their social media or website.” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
How’s your compensation plan holding up? This week, Shawn Busse, Liz Picarazzi, and William Vanderbloemen discuss what it’s been like trying to make sense of employee compensation in a time of COVID, the Great Resignation, inflation, and a looming recession. Shawn’s business model is evolving, and he’s trying to adjust his mix of employees to fit the new model with as little disruption as possible. Liz is expecting a year of big growth and is assessing how that will affect her staffing needs—especially as she introduces new benefits, including health care. And William is trying to create a more sustainable compensation structure while also breaking his employees’ expectation that they will always get a year-end bonus. Plus a listener asks: What tasks are the owners still doing, even though they know it’s not worthy of their time?
You can subscribe to the 21 Hats Podcast wherever you get podcasts.
Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren