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Finding Good Help Is Hard … Especially When Their Expectations Are Outrageous

Brain Squad members share some of the surprising questions and demands made by job candidates.




  • They’ve asked for time off for personal non-religious holidays, such as “I am tired” or “I am going to a party tomorrow.” I also asked a potential employee how they dressed for work and they said “casual” … meaning shorts and a T-shirt. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • Yes, they want benefits but they only last two days and they’re out. Not sure why they commit in first place. — Kaleena Ma, MK Vision Center, Forest Hills, NY
  • No Saturdays or weekends. No evenings. Umm, this is a service profession and around here evenings and Saturdays are very normal. — Elizabeth Atkinson, OD, Atkinson Eye Care, Algonquin, IL
  • Refuse to work on weekends. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • We hired a girl that demanded more pay on her second day before even proving herself. Paid her the standard rate and explained that she is eligible for monthly bonuses and pay increases if she is good at her job. But she didn’t like that we are small and sometimes have to step in and help someone else do their job. She didn’t work out. — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN
  • I had an employee ask for double what he made down the street since our store was more successful and “We could afford it.” — Adam Ramsey, OD, Socialite Vision, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Guarantee not to work past 5pm … ever. — Neil Notaroberto, OD, EyeCare 2020 Retina & Vision Center, Slidell, LA
  • We have recently hired and it’s ridiculous. Literally had someone with no experience respond she “Doesn’t get out of bed for less than $20/hour.” — Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH
  • This is a sign of the times. People don’t want to work Saturdays and evenings and this is a Saturday and evening business. — Steve Nelson, Eye Candy Optical, Westlake, OH
  • If the potential employee is more concerned about what we can do for them than offering information about what they can do for us, they are not considered. — Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • More vacation time is a must for a lot of new hires. — Andrea Schall, Armstrong Eye Care, Kittanning, PA
  • Demands for a tech position were no evenings, no Saturdays and demanded more pay than my opticians who have been with me for five years or longer … and we pay very well! — Cindy Bruner, Professional Family Eyecare, Coldwater, OH
  • There are almost never any experienced eyecare or opticians in our area, so our standard mode is to hire a barista or a server and train them from the ground up. But at our new location, all of our decent applicants were nursing assistants or medical professionals looking for a career change. I had this set conversation so many times: “I know you are worth way more than what we are going to offer you, but we are going to have to start almost from scratch if we hire you. There is so much training that goes into working in this industry. Are you okay with that?” Answer was yes. Cue interviews, screening test, etc., and then, inevitably, they didn’t want to take a pay decrease. We had one lady that had managed a hospital nursing division in a different state. We told her repeatedly that we could not pay her what she’d be used to and urged her not to waste her (or our) time if she wasn’t ready for at least a $10/hour pay cut. When the doctor offered her the job, she laughed at him. Then she called back, still laughing, referring to him by his first name — “Really, Jim? Really?” — and tried to negotiate after talking to him like a child. — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • We don’t close for lunch and pay thru employee lunches. A candidate wanted to go home at lunch daily to relax and then come back for the afternoon. Direct quote from another: “Can my dog come to work with me. I can’t leave her all day.” — Maury Kessler, OD, Eyecare Plus Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ
  • We are in a college town so we get a lot of younger applicants, some of which have turned into our best employees. The last time we hired was about a year ago and for the first time we saw a lot of younger kids negotiating their salary, nothing outrageous but if they can sell themselves well enough to start out at a higher wage they should be able to sell a high end pair of glasses. — Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
  • It’s harder than usual to get interviews to show up. — Heidi Hipsher, Northland Eye Care, Flagstaff, AZ
  • It always surprises me how few applicants out there, in general, meet our qualifications for an interview. Even less it seems, understand the basics of an interview: show up on time, dress professionally, be polite and put your best foot forward. We look for sincerity, empathy, drive, and innovativeness — everything else can be taught on the job, but personality must walk in the door. — Tiffany Firer, Lifetime Eyecare, Jenison, MI
  • Not by new employees, but some of the younger current employees have started wearing headphones while working at their desks. I am worried it could be hurting their productivity and focus, but they insist it helps them. — Elizabeth Knaus, A to Z Eye Care, Arcata, CA
  • Saturdays off, outrageous salary demands for candidates with no experience in the field, literally $50,000 a year! Two girls we hired lasted less than two weeks. It is extremely difficult to find good help. — Maureen Garbis, Compass Eye Care, Oak Park, IL
  • After identifying as full-time, they asked what pay expectations were, then asked for more money in the interview, and at the eleventh hour said they can only work 32 hours a week. — Robert McBeath, Edina Eye Physicians and Surgeons, Edina, MN

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.



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