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Apply yourself

1 touch can tap into 60,000 jobs

By Lisa Gonderinger
The Arizona Republic
March 4, 1999

Shoppers still can find the unusual at Arizona Mills: A burger in a rain forest. A ritzy Neiman Marcus outfit for half price. A ride in the highest of high-tech video games.

Now, they can add an item to that list - a jobs machine.

Adecco, one of the world's largest employment firms, has put Arizona's first Job Shop kiosk near the mall's food court.

The $30,000 machine lets users tap into the company's database and apply for jobs on a do-it-yourself, touch-screen computer. The whole process takes less than three minutes and costs the user nothing.

It's the latest weapon of employment firms, which used to be able to sit back as job seekers pounded the pavement and knocked on their doors. Now, they've found the tables turned by a strong economy and record employment.

Adecco is one of the leaders, using technology as its bridge to attract customers. Other companies, such as Olsten Staffing Services, are opening satellite offices in non-traditional places, such as malls and shopping centers.

"There are so few applicants for each job that we've got to do whatever we can to make it as easy as possible," said Vinni Mirizio, vice president of Adecco's desert region.

The new Mills kiosk already is covered with fingerprints from the 50 people a day giving it a try. It is expected to eventually attract as many as 130 people daily.

The technology was incredibly popular when tested in 1997 in Europe, and a handful are making their way into the United States in San Francisco, San Diego, Ohio and the World Trade Center in New York. Arizona is part of a national rollout that will take Job Shops into 33 states.

Mirizio said the company hopes to add kiosks in a Tucson mall, and talks continue with Westcor, which owns most of the Valley's major malls.

"They don't have space near their food courts right now, which is where we like to go," he said.

There also are negotiations with Arizona State University, Mesa Community College and, possibly, Glendale Community College.

The touch-screen prompts users to choose the kind of work they'd like, their schedule and availability, their education, experience, salary requirements, skills and other data.

All the information is linked immediately to Adecco's database, and if any matches are found, users fill out a full application and are told which of Adecco's 11 Valley offices visit to complete paperwork.

"Normally, you would have to come into an office, maybe wait in line, go through hours of screening," Mirizio said. "This cuts all that out."

The Mills kiosk taps into 190 local companies that work with Adecco, and each company can have as many as hundreds of openings. Jobs range from minimum-wage labor to high-end information systems positions.

Mirizio said he knows of a man who recently was hooked up with a year-2000 computer job that pays $65 per hour. Offerings include temporary, part-time and full-time positions.

The system also taps into the "Monsterboard," a comprehensive job search Web site (www.monster.com) that lists 160,261 jobs.

Adecco, which spent about $22 million developing the Job Shop technology, sees it as a double-edged weapon in the fight to attract consumers, according to Linda Tucker, director of recruiting for Adecco.

Besides those who actually use the kiosk, others, not necessarily looking for a job, may pass it and the name may stick with them.

The kiosk allows Adecco to expand its reach in Arizona, where it has 11 offices and plans three more in Mesa, Glendale and north Phoenix.

It also operates human resource departments in 11 companies around the Valley, including Salt River Project, Bank of America, and MCI. It has about 5,900 workers on its payroll.

"We've got a lot of competitors out there in a big pool of water," Tucker said. "A lot of them are fishing with little tiny poles. We've now got this huge, high-tech recruiting net we're throwing out. Nobody can touch it."

***

Lisa Gonderinger can be reached at lisa.gonderinger@pni.com via e-mailor at 1-602-444-7967.



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