Why is it so difficult to find a job .. any job .. with a funeral home?

The funeral industry, as a rule, has a history of low turnover. Whilst salaries are often quite low, the close camaraderie among the teams of workers makes up for the financial shortages.

Gaining a position in the industry requires the potential employee to present themselves as extremely adaptive, adept at mortuary sciences, as well as being highly tuned in people skills, and finally, the quality of their personal presentation.

A prospective employer would immediately 'sum you up' by looking at your shoes - are they freshly shined with no scuff marks? Are your fingernails and hands immaculate, with no nasties beneath your nails? Are you someone who chews your nails? (not a nice image when pointing out paragraphs in a contract). Are you clean-shaven, is your hair neatly trimmed and clean? DO you reek of smoke? Are your teeth clean, shiny, and intact? Do you present yourself as a lady or gentleman who is clearly adaptive in dealing with a wide, diverse clientèle? Is your use of your national language perfect? Or are you one of those people who repeatedly says 'you know, you know, etc., or asks where is the funeral going to be 'at'? All of these things can be an extreme turn-off to a prospective employer, regardless of what industry you're in.

Have you demonstrated verbally your sense of comfort in dealing with the more demanding aspects of such an industry - the dealing with cadavers which may have been found many weeks after they died? Or collecting someone who died as a result of fire, or someone who was a victim of drowning? Are you prepared to use a trocar to aspirate the body fluids from the cadaver? Are you prepared to use invasive movements to reach inside a body cavity, removing a pacemaker, or suturing a post mortem cadaver? Are you comfortable in cleaning up the explosive faeces which often happens with certain cadavers, all whilst treating the deceased with dignity, honour, and respect? Are you capable of properly dressing a body, to make them presentable in their coffin for a family's viewing? Are you capable of taking the sometimes necessary steps to embalm an infant with an aerosol procedure, never forgetting that it's a child loved by a family who are in mourning?

Are you 'happy' to clean, polish, and buff, every single day of your life, the vehicles used by the funeral director - including the vans, the hearses, and the limos? Do you have a full, clean, driving license, with no points on it. Have you any convictions for crimes of any sort? Have you any problems with Eczema or atopic dermatitis that a family could notice when dealing with you?

Have you any religious values which may prevent you from serving a cross-cultural, diverse number of religions with dignity and respect. Do you know the difference between a Hindu funeral, a Muslim funeral, a Catholic funeral, and a funeral for a Jehovah Witness?

Any of the above questions or scenarios will have been questions which ran through the mind of your prospective employer. The first three minutes of meeting someone are often what decide whether you're to be hired or not. Is your handshake firm, polite and you have eye contact? There's so much to consider.

If you believe you may be lacking in any of these skill sets, consider seeking assistance through an employment recruiter or your local state employment office, where short courses are offered on job interviews.

And finally, be prepared to answer why, specifically, you feel you're best suited for a career in the funeral industry!