'ATM' CAN SPEED JOB SEARCH / TOUCH-SCREEN COMPUTER KIOSKS, FREE FOR EMPLOYMENT
SEEKERS, GOING IN AT MALLS NATIONWIDE
(News Tribune Tacoma WA; 08/14/98)
Care for a job with that new jogging suit?
As local personnel managers struggle to fill vacant positions in this
climate of nearly full employment, one staffing agency has discovered a new way
to reach applicants: Mall-based "job-search ATMs."
Shoppers looking for shoes or blue jeans can also search for jobs by
entering information at a computer kiosk. Adecco, a Swiss employment agency
with U.S. headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., runs the program, called the
Job Shop. Its job-search kiosks - free for job-seekers - are now in eight
states, and one is at the Tacoma Mall.
The employment agency takes the information entered in the Job Shop
computers, then calls in clients to a local office for interviews. The company
links applicants to temporary and permanent positions, said Linda Tucker,
national Job Shop manager.
With such a booming economy, "It is necessary for businesses to re-evaluate
their recruiting methods and become more creative," said Beth Shapiro,
recruiter for Tacoma's Frank Russell Co. She was at Seattle's Northgate center
at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday for Adecco's new job shops in
Shapiro said Russell recently hired Leanda Bevans from the Tacoma Mall Job
Shop, which has been open for two months. Another Job Shop has been open for
nearly three months at the SuperMall of the Great Northwest in Auburn.
Bevans, of Steilacoom, was shopping with her husband when she spotted the
job-search kiosk - two back-to-back, fire engine-red columns with computer
screens that respond to touch.
"It was just really convenient," she said. "It asked just basic questions" -
such as what type of work you're looking for, the pay range you are seeking and
when you can start work.
Within a few days, someone from Adecco called, asking Bevans to come down to
the office on South Cedar Street for an interview.
The same day Bevans went to talk with a recruiter, she was sent to Russell
to fill a temporary switchboard position. She has been at Russell for four
weeks, and was recently hired by another Tacoma company for a position she
begins on Monday.
Bevans said the Job Shop streamlines the usual agency hiring routine, so
that when she met with an Adecco recruiter, the company already knew the basics
The information customers enter into the job-search computers is routed via
phone lines to the closest Adecco office, based on the client ZIP code. Adecco
staff receive the information as a fax, said Paige Mead, Tacoma branch manager.
Job Shop is just a screening process and applicants do not immediately get a
shopping list of employers with whom to apply, said Tucker, the national Job
"Before we send them (the applicants) out to a site, we want to make sure we
screen them. We want to make sure they're qualified," Tucker said.
Adecco has received about 40,000 "hits" off of the job shops that opened so
far in Washington. The SuperMall site opened May 1, and Northgate Mall opened
about the same time the Tacoma Mall kiosk opened. Another job-search site is
planned soon for the Washington Expo Center in Seattle.
Out of the Washington hits, about 6 percent are "matches," Tucker said -
meaning candidates meet the criteria for the positions sought. About half those
candidates are placed, she added.
During 11/2-hour span on Tuesday, about 10 people browsed Tacoma Mall's Job
Shop, which is outside Papyrus. Amid the echoes of mall conversation and cheery
music from nearby stores, a few people said they were just curious, but not
looking for work.
"I already have a good job," said Randy Marquis, an equipment operator for
Tacoma Public Utilities. He said he hopes to stay with TPU for "the next 30
Soliciting people who already are working is another benefit of the Job
Shop, Shapiro of the Russell Co. said. It's an untapped market that recruiters
can draw from in this tight labor market, she explained. The more traditional
recruiting methods, Shapiro said, do not reach everyone.
"It is definitely a seller's market," she said.
Office work and some blue-collar jobs are the anchors of the Job Shop,
Tucker conceded. The positions highlighted at the Tacoma Mall include cashier,
customer service, bookkeeper, solderer, machine and forklift operator. More
professional jobs include computer programmer, software engineer and technical
support. Tucker said pay ranges from $5.15 (minimum wage) up to $17 an hour for
the professional occupations.
Bevans is sold on the service:
"You can say, 'This is what my background is, this is what I'm looking for,
this is the rate of pay I want,'" she said. "So I'm not wasting my time going
in, filling out all this paperwork for something I may not have any interest in
or nothing they have to offer me."
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