Published Thursday, July 17, 2008 | 7:35 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008 | 10:15 a.m.
When Steve Wynn hired some 10,000 workers for the 2005 opening of Wynn Las Vegas, he initiated an interview process designed to draw prospective applicants into casual and free-flowing conversation, thus discovering and hiring the most engaging personalities.
Wynn hopes to top that effort at Encore, the 2,034-room resort adjacent to Wynn Las Vegas that will open by year end with more than 5,300 employees, an estimated 1,700 of them moving from its sister property.
He thinks he's found the answer to getting people to open up in interviews: a bar. Don't count on ordering a stiff one, though.
Instead of calling out "next" and guiding in the next applicant into a cubicle, interviewers at the hiring center will instead ask job seekers if they'd like a drink at a nearby bar. And while the applicant is waiting for her Coke, lemonade or other nonalcoholic drink, she just might show off some of her small talk skills or the lack thereof.
"Nobody shows themselves unless they are relaxed," Wynn said. And when interviewers are blowing through dozens of applicants with little pause in between, they become "just as confused" and turned off by the process as prospective employees.
Body language is key, Wynn said. If interviewers are "a little silly and relaxed and honest", they can make applicants more comfortable.
"We recruit for personality. We train for the job," he said.