Cape Retail Stores Ready to Hire

Oct 11, 2013 by

Cape Cod Times
October 11, 2013

HYANNIS — James Hegarty had become such a regular at the GameStop in the Cape Cod Mall, an employee there recommended he apply for a job.

Now a senior at Cape Cod Community College, Hegarty, 26, of Yarmouth, felt the time was right to apply for a seasonal job and interviewed for one Thursday at the mall.

The mall hosted a job fair Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m., inviting people to fill out applications and possibly land a new job.

This was the second year the mall has hosted a job fair, for which about 25 businesses signed up to place tables at storefronts, said Adra Cohen, marketing director for Cape Cod Mall.

Many businesses were handing out applications and doing on-the-spot interviews in anticipation of a busy holiday season.

The spike in business activity at the mall during the summer and winter holiday season is almost the same, she said.

There are about 150 jobs ready to be filled at the mall this season, Cohen said.

Compared to the state employment level, the job scene on Cape Cod is quite good, said David Augustinho, executive director for the Cape & Islands Workforce Investment Board. As of August, the unemployment rate on Cape Cod was 5.4 percent and statewide it was 6.8 percent, he said.

In the summer on the Cape, there is a need for between 15,000 to 20,000 additional jobs, he said. The holiday season generates “a couple thousand” jobs, Augustinho said.

However, he pointed to figures from last year to show just how dramatic employment can drop off after the holidays. For instance, the Cape unemployment rate in December 2012 was 8.3 percent, he said. It jumped to 10 percent in January. “Each percentage point is about 1,000 people,” he said.

Transitioning from part-time or seasonal work to full-time employment has been trending up over the past few years, Augustinho said. “It’s become a real pathway to employment,” he said.

Part-time employment has grown at rates that far outpace full-time employment, according to research by the Labor Department that was first reported by the McClatchy News Service.

From January to July, workers in the country grew by 960,000. Only 172,000 of those are full-time, the other 766,000 are part-time workers, according to a Labor Department survey.

One worker who made the transition from part time to full time was interviewing potential hires at the GameStop table.

The holiday period is a trial by fire of sorts for new employees at the video game retailer, especially this year, said assistant store manager Gabe Roderick, 21.

A seasonal employee three years ago, Roderick said two new video game systems — Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One — are being released next month, and the business has to be “at its best” when that time comes.

A customer at the store for “quite some time,” Hegarty, 26, was applying for a job that has a chance for advancement.

With a lighter workload this semester as a senior at Cape Cod Community College, Hegarty said now is the perfect time to look for a job.

While the position he applied for is only October to January, he hopes it will turn into a full-time job, he said.

“We throw you in the fire and if you don’t burn, we bring you back,” Roderick said of the possibility to move from a seasonal to full-time employee.

Pay starts at minimum wage, Roderick said.

GameStop had conducted about 10 interviews and accepted 15 applications during the first hour or so of the fair, and management is looking to make a decision in two weeks, Roderick said.

Opening his fifth store and first on Cape Cod, owner of Josh’s Toys & Games, Josh Heinzl, 20, of New Hampshire, said the fair had been slow, but he’s looking to fill a number of positions and accepted about five applications so far that evening.

At the store — which sells board games, puzzles and toys — Heinzl is hiring for “every position,” which means about 10 jobs, he said. While pay is “to be discussed,” Heinzl said his young company is growing and he is looking for enthusiastic people.

“If this seems like a fun position, I encourage people to come apply,” he said. “If I find people I like, I will hire them.”

Hegarty left feeling good about his interview with GameStop, and now comes the part where he is just “waiting for the phone call,” he said.

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