Whistler-Blackcomb modifying employee recruitment strategy 

Job fair will be later, competition for employees increasing

Whistler-Blackcomb will be pushing its annual job fair farther back into the fall in an effort to shrink the lean period experienced by new recruits who have to shell out for rent several months before drawing a paycheque.

Last fall the Whistler-Blackcomb hiring blitz was held in the first half of October. Prospective employees were asked to apply online first, and encouraged to take advantage of an online job assessment feature to determine which jobs they were best suited for. Due to the efficiency of this system, the annual recruiting fair was reduced from four weeks to just two weeks.

This coming fall, however, will see the fair pushed back into the last two weeks of October, said Whistler-Blackcomb director of employee experience, Kirby Brown. And, for the following winter of 2002/2003, the fair will likely be held in November.

Brown said the mountains want to get the message out to prospective employees that they can come to the resort later in the season.

The mountains can afford do this because Whistler-Blackcomb can now guarantee all first-time employees accommodation, he said.

"Our hope is to educate the applicant pool so that they come to Whistler later so that those who show up and get hired can start work more quickly and therefore not spend as much on rent before they have an income and before the season opens."

Brown said bringing people into town in September only to start work in November and get a full paycheque in December contributes to a perception that Whistler may not be a fun place to work anymore and that the quality of life is poor.

"I think our people are still having a great time but I think it’s that early season experience we really need to take a look at." Brown said the mountains do dinners and have cheap movie deals for staff before they even begin to work. "But for employees who are here during the rainy season, spending money, not earning income with very few social outlets other than drinking or boozing, I think that perception could very well be true," he said.

"Our real push is to make it easier for them to come later and being able to guarantee housing is the first step."

However, those who do arrive later in the season and don’t make the cut as a mountain staffer may find themselves out in the cold hunting for a room in November. They may just leave town if they can’t secure that job-accommodation deal with Whistler-Blackcomb and this could have an impact on the smaller businesses in town also looking to draw from the annual applicant pool.

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