Employers Get Creative to Fill Positions

Help Wanted signs sprouted like dandelions this spring and summer, as more and more local companies sought to return to pre-pandemic production levels. Many of the signs have gone unanswered, though.

Representatives from Hard Rock Casino conducted interviews and drug screens on the spot during our recent Beacon of Hope job fair.

Whether out of concern for the virus or opportunities for other income, would-be employees have looked elsewhere. It is not enough to simply hang a sign.

“We had to really get aggressive,” said Kerstin Watkins, human resources manager for Hard Rock Casino. “We had to do something different.”

For Watkins and Hard Rock, that meant streamlining the hiring process. When they attended the Beacon of Hope Job Fair in June, Watkins and a colleague conducted interviews and drug screens on the spot. They made formal job offers to eight attendees. Six of the eight completed orientation at Hard Rock within the next week, and all six remained employed six weeks later.

The decision to conduct on-the-spot interviews and use instant drug screens was a direct result of the current labor market.

“It is working very well,” Watkins said. “We are able to keep a lot more candidates engaged and moving along in the process.”

While the national jobs report for July was strong, local employers continue to report high numbers of frontline job openings. Some have raised wages, including ProAmpac, which also participated in multiple hiring events with Cincinnati Works, once at our office and once with our partners at The Care Center in Loveland. 3CDC joined Hard Rock in conducting on-the-spot interviews at the Beacon of Hope job fair.

“It was a less-formal interview process, but the benefit is that if it is a position that normally requires a phone screen, we’ve gotten that part out of the way,” said Tamara Brooks, HR manager at 3CDC.

Watkins said Hard Rock continually adjusts hiring and onboarding procedures to make them more engaging.

“I’ve read studies that people know within a couple hours of starting a new job if they are going to stay for a year or longer,” Watkins said. “They know right away. Company culture is that important, especially now.”