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Hundreds of applicants wait for one-on-one interview at job fair

By Staff | Sep 18, 2009

Hundreds of prospective job applicants spent all day Thursday waiting outside The Resort at MarinaVillage for a chance at an interview before the resort’s opening Nov. 1.
Cars lined Rose Garden Road where the Cape Coral Police Department posted an officer to let in vehicles at slow intervals.
Once the cars parked, applicants entered a line twisting through the parking lot — with portable bathrooms and complimentary cups of water — which led to a holding area.
Some stood in the holding area fanning themselves with resumes or application forms, while others checked the time on their cell phones. From the holding area they were finally granted entrance to the interior of the air-conditioned resort.
After all of the waiting the applicants were given their shot at a one-on-one interview.
Carolyn Masten, director of public relations for SunStream Hotels and Resorts, the resort’s management company, said department heads were already in place, but various positions were still open in housekeeping, front desk relations and food and beverage.
“This is the only job fair we will have for this facility,” she said. “Everybody gets a one-on-one interview.”
Overall, the management company advertised some 150 vacant positions and by noon Thursday the resort had received 500 applications. It received other applications online and any hired this month would have a tentative starting date of Oct. 12, she said.
By the end of the day the company likely met with 1,000 people wanting a job in an economy where the unemployment rate leads the nation at 13 percent.
Many showed up just for a chance to apply at one of a handful of businesses in the area still offering a job.
Besides overseeing the new development in south Cape Coral, SunStream also manages the Diamondhead Hotel on Fort Myers Beach and Bellaserra in Naples, among others in Southwest Florida.
Construction on MarinaVillage started three years ago, and although other projects in the community were subsequently scrapped because of the economy, Masten said the Nov. 1 opening was not delayed.
Those waiting for an interview Thursday were from various backgrounds, yet younger, college-aged applicants were a more common sight.
Alia Alexander, 21, said she heard about the four-hour wait in the car queue and decided to park on the street. Although she does not know a lot about the new development, she said it looks nice.
“We parked on the street and walked all the way here,” Alexander said. “I’m trying to be a bartender.”
Dustin Bratcher, 18, recently came to Cape Coral from Georgia. By noon, he had waited for two hours and was about halfway through the line.
“I’m looking at the concierge service or to be a server,” said Bratcher, who also commented about the afternoon humidity. “It is hot and very humid.”
Standing in line with Bratcher was Josh Cramer, 20, who said he also wanted a job as a server. Cramer said waiting for hours would be worth it if he got a job.
“The way the economy is now, it is definitely worth it,” he said. “It’s better than working at McDonald’s.”