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Keys to hiring casino workers

Oct 26, 2004 5:10 AM

If good help is indeed hard to find, then the hiring process for casinos on the Strip needs to be modernized and streamlined in order to "hire and retain" the best, according to a panel of human resource experts at the recently-concluded G2E conference.

"If you don’t have applicants filling out applications on computers, you’re wasting your money," said Arte Nathan, a senior vice president and the chief human resources officer for Wynn Resorts. "I’m telling you, go get computers."

Nathan said that 74 percent of the homes in Clark County have computers, many of them in homes with incomes of less than $40,000. He said 67 percent of the people applying for jobs today have email addresses.

"Don’t worry about people finding your office; worry about them finding you on the Internet," he said.

Nathan said that beginning in November, Wynn Las Vegas applicants will be directed to one of 48 computers and the screen will give them step-by-step directions on how to fill out an employee questionnaire. Embedded in the applications will be questions that will give the human resource department an indication of the person’s qualifications, and the answers to those questions will be weighted and totaled. The final figure will help create a profile and ranking order for applicants who will be called for interviews.

"Managers hate to interview," said Nathan. "They pick a person and go home and pray that the person isn’t a slug."

Giving personnel managers the tools and guidance to properly handle applicants was key to the staffing of the Mirage, which initially hired 6,400, of which 83 percent are still employed.

"Most people don’t get recruited but wish they did," Nathan said. "In the end, you have to treat people respectfully. Retention is no magic button that you push; it’s being thoughtful (toward employees) day after day."

After people are hired, they have to be trained and retained, said Humberto Truba of Pinnacle Entertainment.

That process requires "a good role model at the top," Truba said.

"All of us are on stage all the time," he said. "It’s not really how to get people: it’s how to retain them."