14,374 & 759,387

For those of you interested in a bit of trivia, there are approximately 14,374 businesses in the Greater Lansing area. The number for Michigan as a whole is around 759,387.  Granted, many of these businesses are small operations with 1-5 employees. I’m not suggesting all of the companies are large employers by any stretch. That said, do you see why I have a problem with job seekers proclaiming “no one is hiring” when most are aware of and chasing under 100, many under 50?

Part of the reason job seekers are frequently in competition against masses of other candidates is because all seem to be focused on the same 50 or so companies. We’ve got 625,000 unemployed people in our state pounding a sliver of existing businesses to death, while largely unaware of thousands of companies who just might have a hiring need or two.

Why is this? Too many job seekers are still relying heavily on internet job postings. Statistics suggest time and again a majority of companies prefer to hire through networking channels. Hiring via internet tools is often expensive, attracts the masses, forces them to define a need they may be struggling to nail down and makes the general public aware of corporate strategy & weaknesses. Information on open positions can give away a lot of competitive information, when you think about it.

So why do job seekers continue to focus mainly on internet leads and assault fewer than 1% of existing companies? I don’t think it’s laziness. To me, it’s a nasty case of tunnel vision. While staring at the obvious target the eyes fail to register all that is going on around them. Every product and service that we use in our daily life has a business behind it of some sort. All companies have something that needs improvement and it’s often easy to tell what’s broken when paying attention. Take the time to notice the businesses that surround you and continually ask yourself how you could make what they do better. If you bring enough value to the table, you may even find a job where there wasn’t one before.


  • David says:

    Lisa, I agree with your post and maybe I’m missing the boat in my search. Could you give me an example of the kinds of companies that you’re talking about? I think that I could create a position aroung a need at least I could give a company something to think about .

  • Lisa says:

    Here’s an example for you, David. It’s from this past summer, but it shows my point clearly.

    My husband went to a local bike shop to inquire about a repair. He was told by an employee that the company could easily fix his bike, but that there would be a 2 month wait because of the volume of repairs they were dealing with. Guess how much of the summer would be gone by that point? He made the choice to wait because he really likes that bike shop, but many would go to a competitor and perhaps establish a long term business relationship with that 2nd option. That’s bad news for the business, yes? It’s logical that customer lost to a delayed repair would have done other repair business and perhaps purchased bikes in the future. It’s also possible that customer has friends with similar interests and is telling them to avoid that bike shop because it’s too busy to serve them. The potential revenue loss over time is significant.

    As customers we experience delays in service and focus on how those delays frustrate or bother us. As job seekers, we should immediately think “opportunity” when we encounter a delay or snag when doing business with a company. No business owner in his right mind would pick turning away customers over finding a way to meet their needs. If I were into bikes and felt I could pick up repair skills readily, hearing about a shop with repair delays would have prompted me to get in touch with the owner, open position or not, and suggest capturing the business they were turning away by hiring me. If the business owner didn’t think turning customers away was a problem, I’d make a compelling case on why he may want to rethink things.

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