Whistler-Blackcomb revamps recruiting strategies 

Company aims to pre-hire 1,000 positions, although job fair will still be held in November

Whistler-Blackcomb’s recruitment department is taking a different approach to hiring the bulk of their full-time employees this year: Instead of relying on their November job fair, the company has sent a plethora of recruitment officers to target markets in Eastern Canada, England, Australia and the Czech Republic to pre-hire almost 1,000 employees.

The new focus materialized after significantly fewer people showed up to Whistler-Blackcomb’s 2007 job fair than anticipated. Thirty per cent fewer people attended the fair compared to the previous year.

“We decided that we better take a different approach, because we did not want to be in the same boat,” explained Karen Bauckham, recruiting manager for Whistler-Blackcomb.

“We have always done a bit of pre-hiring, but we doubled that this year. Our goal was to go out and pre-hire the bulk of our full-time positions.”

So far, the recruitment tour has been successful, and recruitment officers have made around 850 job offers.

Bauckham said that as recruiters travel across the country and around the world, they are seeing similar reactions of excitement from applicants interested in working for Whistler-Blackcomb.

“Whistler has such a strong brand name. People are so excited when we sit down across the table from them. They’ve done their research, they’ve been online, and they’ve heard about it from their friends,” said Bauckham.

“I have encountered very few people that were sitting down for an interview that were not super excited to be coming here.”

She said people in Canada are more tuned in to Whistler’s tight housing situation than those abroad. But she added that anybody inquiring about employment in Whistler now is finding out there are not a lot of beds.

“Anybody who goes to our website will see that we try to be honest and up front on it (the housing situation),” said Bauckham. “We say that it is not easy, and your best bet is to try and secure accommodation on your own. We provide staff accommodation, but we don’t have it for everybody.”

Whistler-Blackcomb’s policy is to work hard to make sure new employees at least have a place in staff accommodation, although the company does not “guarantee” a bed for first-year employees, she said.

Even though the pre-hiring recruitment strategy has been a success, Whistler-Blackcomb will still hold their annual job fair in Whistler Nov. 1-3. The fair will be on a smaller scale than previous years, with mostly part-time or volunteer jobs being showcased.

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