Paula Webb, Young & Recessioned: College Grads Have A Reality Check Coming

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Today's installment of Young & Recessioned features Paula Webb, president of  LPC Personnel, who has worked as a job recruiter in Houston since she moved here from Ireland 30 years ago.

Back in the late `70s in Ireland, everybody was watching Dallas and thought this was the land of opportunity. Lot's of people left Ireland.

When I came over here, I interviewed with a guy who told me that I wouldn't get a job in human resources because I didn't know the laws here, so I should try to get into the personnel business. That's what I did and here I am.

We're a for-profit agency. We don't get any funding from Obama, I'm afraid. So we have to look at the fact that we're not going to place everyone that comes through our door.The industry has changed in that companies are being a lot more thorough with their hiring process, and salaries have gone down somewhat, so you're seeing people who are becoming a little more open to looking at less dollars than they were years ago.

A lot of people are much more realistic when they come out of college. For years, college grads came out and thought they were pretty much going to find anything they wanted. I think it's been a reality check for the last few years.

Some people really aren't sure how to present themselves. We talk to them about how they dress, whether their jeans are down around their ankles or whether they have 42 piercings on their face.

We try to find out how serious they are about going to work. That might mean changing how you look.

I have a 19-year-old daughter now, so I understand that what I think is appropriate to wear to an interview might not be the same to you. But if someone never tells them, they will never know.

We'll tell them, 'This dress might be appropriate for the club but not when you're going into a business environment.' I have people say, 'Nobody has ever told me this before.'

Over the last three months, business has picked up quite a bit, especially on the temp end of things, because many companies need help but they don't want to put someone on their permanent payroll.

There is always an industry that needs help, you just have to find it. I find a lot of job candidates are a lot more receptive than they were awhile back. Everyone is desperate to go back to work, especially when a large percentage has finally run out of their unemployment.

Got a tale to tell about being Young & Recessioned? E-mail Paul Knight at paul.knight@houstonpress.com.

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