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November 27, 2014

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Thousands flock to Hard Rock seeking jobs

More than 3,800 people attend two-day job fair for 800 job openings

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Justin M. Bowen

The lobby at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel is filled with job applicants Tuesday during a job fair. The Hard Rock is seeking workers to fill the many housekeeping positions that will open up after the hotel’s expansion.

Hard Rock Job Fair

The lobby at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel is filled with job applicants Tuesday. The Hard Rock is seeking workers to fill housekeeping positions that will open up along with the expansion of the hotel. Launch slideshow »

For the past two days, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino gave Nevada’s unemployed a ray of hope in a dark economic time.

The hotel-casino gave thousands the opportunity to bring in their resumes in hopes of walking away with a rare prize in today’s economy — a job.

With Nevada’s jobless rate hitting a record 11.3 percent in May, more than 3,800 people showed up to the Hard Rock’s two-day job fair on Monday and Tuesday. The hotel-casino is searching for workers to fill 800 new positions created by the property’s $750 million expansion project.

Candidates lined up us many as four hours before the 10 a.m. job fair on Monday and, again, hours before the scheduled 3 p.m. event Tuesday.

With a growing line and an expected turnout greater than Monday’s event, Hard Rock made the decision to open the doors three hours early Tuesday.

“We spoke to all 2,000 people yesterday and we plan on talking to everyone again today, even if it takes until 10 p.m.,” Hard Rock Vice President of Human Resources Carrie Messina said.

Hard Rock expected an estimated 1,000 candidates at the two-day job fair. But as the result of news coverage and its own advertising on Twitter, numbers swelled beyond what had been anticipated.

“We’ve been doing job fairs for the past two years. In fact, we just did one in March and April, and none of them have been like this. We saw a maximum of 300 people a day,” Messina said.

Hard Rock recently hired 400-plus employees for the reopening of The Joint and the new steakhouse rare 120°. The 800 employees to be hired by the end of year will bring the resort’s new-hire total to 1,200.

Monday and Tuesday’s job fair was held to fill 200 housekeeping positions, with a plan to host additional job fairs later fill another 600 positions. But after seeing so many candidates applying for various positions, the additional fairs may not be necessary, Messina said.

“If you came out for another position, we are pulling your application off to the side and personally calling those people back,” Messina said.

By 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, the line of job-seekers filled The Joint lobby area and extended past the casino floor. A handful of people came dressed in suits with resumes tucked in leather portfolios, while most came dressed to accommodate the afternoon heat.

Jeremey Nieblas was one of the few in line dressed in a shirt and tie. He said he learned how to dress for an interview and how to put together a resume at a class he took with her girlfriend at the Culinary Union.

Nieblas, a former union member of Laborers Local 872, was laid off from a job at CityCenter in October and has been out of work since. When the project he was working on was done, so was his job, he said.

Nieblas said he heard about the Hard Rock job fair through a friend and even though his trade is in construction, he thought he would give it a try.

“I’m just here to see what positions they have to offer. Hopefully someone likes me and sees something in me and offers me a job,” Nieblas said.

Brian Mendiola, another job candidate in line Tuesday, recently left a position as a legal assistant in Washington to make Las Vegas his new home.

“I knew how tough the job market was when I moved, but now I’m unsure if it’s worth it after standing in line for a housekeeping position,” Mendiola said. “The opportunity is great, but it’s only great because the situation is so bad.”

Mendiola said he doesn’t have any housekeeping experience but, he noted, “neither do 99 percent of the people in this line.”

Messina said many people at the fair “are overqualified, but they’re here and they want to work. We aren’t going to hold it against them.”

Those hired for the housekeeping positions will begin work July 15 in preparation for the Aug. 1 opening of the hotel’s 17-story North Tower.

A final 400 people will be hired between October and November to work at the South Tower. Positions in the South Tower, slated to open in late 2009, will include spa attendants and dealers to service a new spa and casino as well as standard hotel positions.

Hard Rock’s expansion project began in 2007 and will be completed in early 2010.

The project includes two new hotel towers — bringing Hard Rock’s number of rooms from 650 to 1,525 — the newly opened The Joint, 30,000 square feet of additional casino space, a new nightclub, spa, health club, an expanded pool and an additional 75,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.

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