A couple months ago It was suggested to me that since I have been having trouble even finding a retail job, that I should go talk to the manager and volunteer to work for free to prove that I could do the work and I could get hired. This struck me as an idea destined for failure, but the person suggesting it stated that this was a thing that could happen.
(I can see volunteering being possible if the business in question was privately owned, and operated by a relative or close friend who was willing to teach you how to do things and possibly provide a reference. The problem here is that I was told to do this with chain grocery and retail outlets. I do not have any local friends who conveniently own privately owned shops! Be nice if I did though, because I would promote the heck out of them on the blog.)
Inspired by a sense of sheer mischief and desperately wanting to get out of the house, I put together I short survey and went to a number of businesses! In most cases, I was not able to get anyone to fill out the survey. In those cases I attempted to get the corporate number (in this I was somewhat more successful). Sometimes I would leave the survey with my contact information, but I never heard back from them. I was however able to get a few of the people I spoke to take the survey.
- What would you say if someone offered to volunteer at your location, in order to prove that he or she could do the job?
- What would you think of the person who made the offer?
- Is there any store position that you might consider accepting this offer for?
- If you were to accept this offer, what make you agree to it?
- If you were considering accepting this offer, what would you look for in a prospective volunteer?
In most cases, the respondent was not actually able to answer any of these questions. The ones who did answer generally said that they would not be able to accept the offer. A few of them said it seemed like an nice idea, but would be very bad for the store because a volunteer would be a legal liability, especially if he or she were hurt while on the job. Another person pointed out that retail businesses often require drug and criminal checks; so much money goes into hiring and training an employee that it would be a waste of money to do that for someone who was not even being paid. (One gentleman flat out did not understand the questions and kept telling me that he was not hiring.)
So, unless you have a convenient friend or relative who conveniently has a business and is willing to train you and give you experience, do not attempt to volunteer!