Carle-Place-based 1-800-Flowers.com has joined the Putting America Back to Work initiative of television show host Dr. Drew Pinsky by hiring five workers and taking part in a feel-good moment that aired Monday.
The three-months-long recruiting process brought together several companies with job seekers and culminated in an emotional episode of Pinsky's show on The CW, "Lifechangers." The participants thought they had been flown out to California to discuss their situation and go through one last interview, but instead were surprised with the news that they had been hired.
“We believe in delivering smiles, and what better way to deliver smiles than to help people find jobs in such a tough economy,” said Maureen Paradine, 1-800-Flowers.com’s senior vice president of human resources.
One of the company’s new hires, a young man from Ohio, impressed Paradine with his passion and tenacity. Born premature, he suffered two strokes in the first week of his life and exhibited characteristics of autism and a mild form of cerebral palsy, Paradine said. He overcame academic obstacles and graduated with an associate degree in recreational therapy in 2010.
But after sending out 160 resumes, he was still without work a year later.
Like other new graduates, this new hire lacked work experience — often a hurdle in getting a job.
“People didn’t want to hire him because he had no experience,” Paradine said. “We took a chance on him and it’s paying off tenfold.”
In addition to a great “phone voice,” this new worker had passion and enthusiasm, and the company hired him to become part of its home agent network, a national staff of customer service representatives who operate out of their homes.
After five weeks, he is part of the No. 1 performing team of customer agents, Paradine said.
Photo: Dr. Drew Pinsky