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Whistler-Blackcomb job fair expected to draw 2,200

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Seasonal recruits competing for 1,200 jobs, housing

The number of people applying for jobs on the mountain is up this year as are the number of people the mountain will likely hire.

Last year about 1,400 had pre-booked for interviews on-line for the weeklong recruitment fair.

This year about 1,907 pre booked and Whistler-Blackcomb expects to interview about 2,200 people. That’s up about 200 people over last year.

About 1,200 will be hired, also up about 200 from last year.

A late and slow start to the season last year slowed hirings for the mountains. A soft economy, and international events, such as the war in Iraq, also played a part.

And, said Kirby Brown, director of employee experience for Whistler-Blackcomb, the number of new employees is also impacted by the number of returning workers.

"The (returning worker) number fluctuates between 1,500 and 1,700 year after year and at our top level we have about 4,000 employees altogether," said Brown.

"The primary age group that comes to us is 19 to 26 and that has been dwindling, and yet we see more and more applicants every year. So really it is the international reputation and the lure of the mountain environment that we think is really pulling people here despite economic conditions."

Kirby said Whistler-Blackcomb knows their minimum staffing levels and keep exceptional guest experiences at the forefront of their planning when they organize staffing for all parts of the mountain.

"We very much understand what those minimum levels are," he said.

"We are a very people-intensive business and that won’t ever change. We are always seeking more effective ways to operate and that won’t change in the sense of being economically sustainable."

By Nov. 7, the last day of the Whistler-Blackcomb job fair, as many as 2,200 people will have applied for work with the mountains. Those hired will have successfully made it through a ranking system. Rather than hiring people over the course of the week as has previously be done, this year all the applications and interviews will be done before people are offered positions.

"Now we only select the top ranking people that we have seen," said Brown.

And it’s not just work experience that is looked at.

"The first interview is about cultural fit and the second interview is the job specific one," said Brown.

"So you could be a neurosurgeon and if you don’t make it through the cultural fit then it doesn’t matter what your job experience is you won’t make it."

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