For Chris Roberts the opportunity to interview with a recruiter from Station Casinos Inc. for 10 minutes meant a chance to finally get back to work.
The former cashier at a gasoline station in Las Vegas has been searching for a job since being laid off.
"I’ve been on unemployment for six months," he said. "I never thought this would happen to me. Las Vegas a few years ago had so many jobs."
Roberts, 46, was one of almost 500 potential employees who arrived throughout Wednesday for scheduled interviews with company executives in a crowded fifth-floor ballroom at Red Rock Resort. Most of the people seeking employment with Station Casinos were invited after completing their applications online, a company executive said.
The company will interview another 500 applicants today to fill positions within the food and beverage division at Red Rock Resort.
The positions are part of a companywide effort to hire 1,000 full-time and part-time employees at Station’s 18 properties in Southern Nevada. The gaming company, based in Las Vegas, employs 12,000 workers.
Robert Levitt turned up at the two-day hiring event Wednesday without an appointment. But after waiting for about an hour, he was given an interview.
Levitt, 58, has been unemployed for two years after losing his job as general manager of a Salsa Mexican restaurant in Las Vegas.
"Over that period of time, I’ve worked on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, driven a big rig and sold time shares," he said. "I’ve tried everything hoping that things would change for the better."
But for Jacob Janieson and other candidates, the interviews with Station Casinos were an opportunity to pursue a second part-time job to help them make ends meet in a regions where the unemployment rate in November was 14.3 percent.
"It’s really simple, I’m hoping to add a second job," said Janieson, 30, who works three nights a week as a bartender at Voodoo Lounge at the Rio.
"I would love to supplement my current job with four days here," he said.
Sandy Stubbs, a 24-year-old part-time hairstylist, said she was looking for a position as a cocktail waitress.
"I’ve been a licensed (stylist) for almost two years, working out of my house," she said. "I’m just trying to look to make some more money, just like everyone else."
Valerie Murzl, corporate vice president for human resources, said applicants who were scheduled for interviews Wednesday went through a 10-minute cursory interview with a recruiter.
Next, job applicants were ushered away to meet with the head chef, executive steward or other operations managers for a more "technical" interview that lasted between 20 to 30 minutes, she said.
Following the interviews, applicants were either asked to fill out a form allowing the company to conduct a background check or were sent home.
Murzl expected 600 of the 1,000 people interviewed to go through a background check by the end of the two days.
"We expect 20 percent of those who submit to background checks to fail," said Murzl, who added that those candidates not hired for Red Rock Resort would be considered for other positions within the company.
Both Roberts and Janieson were asked to fill out background-check forms. Stubbs and Levitt were happy with their interviews, but declined to comment on whether Station Casinos would be running a background check.
Murzl said she expected 300 positions to be filled within two weeks.
Even with the new hires, Station Casinos will still have fewer than the approximately 14,000 workers it employed at the company’s peak in 2008 following the opening of Aliante Station in North Las Vegas.
Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893.