weather icon Partly Cloudy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Companies gearing up for seasonal rush

It’s no secret that big businesses beef up hiring over the holidays, but the benefit is big for the employee who can secure a seasonal job and turn it into either a full-time position or a simple annual boost to the family budget’s bottom line.

Local retailers often fill holiday openings with employees who have worked for them many seasons in a row, with positive results. Most employers have already begun to hire hourly workers. By starting early, you also have a wider selection of jobs and fields to choose from.

Carmen Gigar, director of advertising and public relations for the Las Vegas Metro PCS region, said seasonal employees often rise through the ranks at its many Las Vegas locations as well as its regional office.

"Metro PCS operates not just a regional office here but we have six office locations around the valley," Gigar, a native Las Vegan, said.

The company fills one to two full-time positions regularly and more than half a dozen part-time positions as well. Go to www.MetroPCS.com and click on careers to find the multiple opportunities currently available, from assistant store manager to senior sales manager; several sales representative positions are open as the holiday crunch begins.

"The holidays tend to start our busy season, but our true busy season is January, right after the holidays," Gigar said.

While the holiday season does create more revenue for the wireless phone and service-product company, it’s the new year that really feeds its bottom line.

"Our dealer community tends to hire up for the holidays," Gigar said.

Many of those hires have the chance to move to the regional office in Las Vegas and from there, the national office. This offers a chance for employees hired for seasonal work to prove themselves during a busy season and train for the crunch to come, which also comes with a possible raise in pay for a job well done.

"A lot of people get money over the holidays and save it to spend on upgrades or new product, and therefore a lot of contracts come up," she said. "They are looking for other opportunities."

Another reason January and early February mean big revenue for the wireless industry is that those who file tax returns early spend their return on upgrading their phone services.

"That first quarter is very robust for us," she said. "But no doubt November and December we start to see a ramping up business wise."

College students create a boon for the industry during the first quarter as parents find that gift cards to wireless companies are a great way to stay connected with their hopeful graduate.

"But because it’s a service product, the major service buy often changes with economic status," she said.

Metro PCS, which opened in 2008, is different from the larger wireless phone providers such as T-Mobile and Sprint.

"As a noncontract provider, Metro PCS gives new people to the city an alternative," she said. "They don’t have to worry about being locked into anything, and it gives them a lot more flexibility."

Consumers are drawn to Metro PCS in particular because the company provides a stop gap between service providers or for customers who will be in town for a short amount of time, such as international hotel hires or college students.

"As we develop more product line and expand our network we get more people," Gigar said of the company’s recent growth in the valley. "People are tired of the same-old-same-old and, in these economic times, it is really important to be diverse."

Because of this and the constant changes in wireless technology, the company has been able to hire throughout the recession. It has opened six new Metro PCS locations in the last few months and continues to get great word-of-mouth on the grassroots level.

"The good news for us is that we are a year-round hirer," she said. "We continue to have dealer growth."

There is a lot of opportunity to grow in this young company.

"One of the things I love most about the company is you may come in as part time and move up to full time in six months of your hire date," she said. "It all is depending on your tenacity, sales results and the ability to be flexible and take on responsibilities that are not in your job description."

The company hires from within on a regular basis, preferring to pull employees up from the field into the regional office. Metro PCS offers ongoing continuing education for most of its employees.

"We are very much into the training and development of our employees," she said. "It takes a reasonable amount of time to learn about the store, and we want to invest in that person who takes that time so we can keep them long term."

Aside from the usual sales and customer service requirements, Metro PCS is hoping its holiday hires will show an ability to work with customers on a personal level.

"We are developing a boutique sales nature," she said. "If you are somebody who likes working in a sales position and like that level of excitement, developing a relationship with the customer, then you should really consider it. We are small but mighty."

If someone is looking for a starter position, doesn’t have a lot of retail background and is not afraid of a part-time position, there are a lot of different ways that Metro PCS can be a good fit for them, she said.

"Part time can be a great starter for someone who is looking for a career," Gigar said. "It offers flexibility to the person and the company and provides the employer a chance to test the waters and also gives a great way for people to learn new skills at really little risk that they can take elsewhere. They might find they have a talent for something they didn’t think they had without having to invest in a new career."

A part-time sales position can open numerous doors because you meet a lot of people every day.

"Our people move off into a lot of other industries and we are happy to have had them at Metro PCS," she said.

And she knows what she is talking about. She started working part time in retail sales at a local mall and from there tried different types of sales jobs, which gave her the flexibility and funding to put herself through college.

"You just have to want to get out there and try something new," she said. "It could be a new beginning."

The famed Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas is busy year-round with tourists, but October begins its holiday season with its annual Oktoberfest celebrations that happen daily throughout the month.

The well-run Bavarian restaurant and beer hall is keen on training, with new hires needing three days of education before being able to take their first order on the dining room floor, said Christine Masters, human resource manager for Hofbrauhaus.

The restaurant plans to add a few extra to its staff of 121 before the end of the year to handle the holiday crush.

"We possibly plan on hiring less than a dozen people through October," she said. "We usually hire an additional five people just for Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest definitely represents our hugest month of the year for revenue."

The raucous dining room requires a confident employee.

"We definitely look for at least three years experience with food servers, and in a high-volume restaurant," she said. "And being knowledgeable in micros (beers), that’s important."

Training consists of learning the difference between a brat and a schnitzel and a pilsner and a hefeweizen.

"They have to learn the menu and the beers, all of it," Masters said, explaining the menus and beer list are extensive.

A perk to seasonal jobs is the discounts, a great holiday budget saver. Many companies offer discounts to employees once they have worked a set amount of time or earned a certain amount of commission.

Michelle Pignatello, owner of Halloween Town and www.shophalloweentown .com, has been hiring help for the fall season since opening seven years ago. She looks for personality as well as customer service for her employees, many of whom return to her growing business each year.

Currently she is looking for sales associates and promotional positions (sign holders, etc.).

"During the season we will hire an additional 12-18 employees to help us," she said. "As we get closer to Halloween the store gets a lot busier and our customers need everything from help finding a smaller item to having our team help them put together/accessorize their entire outfit."

She occasionally promotes seasonal hires to year-round employment, depending on their performance.

"For us, personality is everything," she said. "If a seasonal employee has a great attitude and works well with customers we definitely try to keep them on board."

Holiday hires are the backbone for her business. They are necessary for Pignatello to be able to handle the influx of business that they experience every October.

"October is such an exciting time of year in our store," she said. "We encourage the local community to explore our elaborate store filled with the latest and greatest Halloween costumes, wigs, makeup, masks, props, décor and more. Our knowledgeable staff will be standing by ready to assist them at whatever level they need — from the smallest accessory help to putting something more detailed together."

To apply to Halloween Town, go to www.shophalloweentown.com for store locations or to apply online.

"Halloween Town is family owned and operated and we encourage the community here to shop locally at stores they can trust," she said.

Halloween Town’s main advantage over the "seasonal temporary stores" is its commitment to customer service, she said.

"To achieve this, our employees are expected to know all of our merchandise and policies inside and out," she said. "If you are welcoming, approachable and arrive early for your shift with a professional and positive attitude, you will be a great addition to the Halloween Town team."

The Fright Dome at Circus Circus hires more than 300 people each year for its haunted venue. Fright Dome is in its ninth year and has become one of the top five haunted attractions in the nation, something that owner and creator Jason Egan believes is due in large part because of the dedication of its seasonal employees.

"We are hiring for a variety of positions this year including haunted house actors, scare zone actors, strolling entertainers/scare actors, retail sales, managers and more," Egan said. "Each year we take it up a notch by adding more scare zone areas within the event as well as adding to the haunted houses, which means we need a larger team."

Those that show a penchant for horror, and management skills, go on to work full- or part-time jobs after the season ends.

"Over the years I have added a lot of year-round staff to my team," Egan said. "It isn’t a huge percentage of the hiring, however I always find a handful of people that work great on the team and end up becoming permanent."

To secure that year-round position, he suggests that potential employees be creative and stand out from the crowd. 

"Those are the two really important traits when it comes to making an event like this successful," Egan said. "When I see an actor or employee going that extra mile to make sure a guest is having the best possible experience that they can, I see them as extremely valuable on my team."

This year Egan is teaming up with Compass Films International for a "Halloween" theme in two of the five haunted houses.

"I would have never dreamed that we would have the opportunity to work with one of the most iconic horror films of all times," Egan said. "Malek Akkad, the producer of the film, has been phenomenal to work with and I am so proud that Fright Dome has the opportunity to not only bring this theme to the event but also work alongside the team at Compass and support Malek’s newly launched sCARE (Suspense Community Allocating Relief and Empowerment) Foundation as well."

Fright Dome is open for 19 days during the month of October and is extremely reliant on its holiday hires, he said.

"The dedication of our actors and general staff are what makes this haunted attraction stand out," Egan said, "and makes Las Vegas a destination for Halloween for people all around the world."

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan. Here’s what it means

It’s a move that some advocates have long sought as a way to improve access to a life-saving drug, though the exact impact will not be clear immediately.