Hiring Wisdom: What Kind of Person Can You Get for $13 Per Hour?

Illustration by istockphoto.com
Illustration by istockphoto.com

Below is a recruitment ad published in the New York City edition of Craigslist.

Really not a lot of skill required. Not really a great ad. One positive: it offered health insurance.

Administrative Assistant needed for busy midtown office. Hours are Monday through Friday, nine to five. Job duties include: filing, copying, answering phones, sending e-mails, greeting clients, scheduling appointments. Previous experience in an office setting preferred, but will train the right candidate. This is a full-time position with health benefits. Please e-mail résumé if interested. Compensation: $12-$13 per hour.

The ad went live at 2:41 p.m. on a Thursday. The first resume arrived four minutes later. When deleted, exactly 24 hours later, 653 people had responded.

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So, who responded to the ad?

  • 23 percent of the applicants had five or more years’ actual experience as an administrative assistant;
  • 10 percent had more than 10 years experience;
  • 3 percent of the applicants for this entry-level position held a Master’s degree;
  • 39 percent had their Bachelor’s.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.


7 Comments on “Hiring Wisdom: What Kind of Person Can You Get for $13 Per Hour?

  1. For a Masters degree or 10 years experience in the industry? $13 an hour plus health care is an insult. This company should be embarrassed. These people deserve $15-$20 an hour at the very least. 

    1.  It does sound like an insult, but the applicants must have their reasons for applying. Perhaps the company offers great career opportunities, as well as the benefits, and may promote mainly from within for higher level positions. For some, it may be a great career move especially in an uncertain job market.

      1.  Seems like it was a “blind” ad, where the job seeker would have had no idea what kind of advancement opportunities were possible.  I think this kind of scenario is a terrible reflection of the state of the economy and our growing number of the working poor.  Who is going to be able to make it in NYC or anywhere near that area on thirteen bucks an hour?  Hope they’re married to someone considerably better paid.

  2. Why should the company be embarrassed? They didnt off the job to those people, the just ran an add for an entry level position and they responded. I wonder how many were just automatic responses? I often seek employees and receive a good many people responding that dont have a clue as to what the job calls for.

  3. Interesting… I’d agree there are great candidates who would be very interested in a permanent, full-time clerical job with paid benefits. I’m just curious as to where exactly in NYC one could afford housing on $26k.

    What happens next is up to the employer and the candidate – it’s the candidate’s responsibility to be realistic about their expectations, and the employer’s responsibility to be realistic about the advancement potential.

  4. Very interesting numbers, Mel, but I would like to hear your analysis of this job posting data. The information provided certainly shows two thing: 1. The affect the economy has had on our workforce and the growing importance of employer-provided health insurance. 2. Overqualified workers are still applying for jobs in which they don’t fit the bill. And I agree with a commenter above — would be very interesting to know who they picked for the position.

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