Who's still hiring in this tough economy


POSTED: Sunday, February 01, 2009

While there may be a recession, some Hawaii companies are still hiring.




Government jobs

        A glance at places and sites to find jobs.

U.S. Census Bureau


» Download an application form online


» http://2010.census.gov/2010censusjobs/index.php


» Call: 535-0920


IRS - Internal Revenue Service


» http://jobs.irs.gov/apply.html


» Revenue officers: http://jobs.irs.gov/car_acc_iro.html


FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation


» www.fbijobs.gov


» Click on How to Apply


Workforce Job Fair


» When: May 20, 2009


» Where: Blaisdell Center. Details to be announced


Job search sites


» www.hirenethawaii.com (State Labor Dept.)


» www.hawaiijobsondemand.com (Oahu)


» www.kamaainajobs.com (Neighbor islands)


Boots & Kimo's Homestyle Kitchen, for example, which is moving to a larger spot later this year in Kailua, has a help-wanted sign in its window. So does Buono Sera, the Italian restaurant next door.

Nearby, Teddy's Bigger Burgers is also looking for experienced managers, shift leaders and crew members.

As Hawaii's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has steadily increased, hitting a 10-year high of 5.5 percent in December, more residents have been lining up for jobless benefits. About 19,000 individuals now file for them each week, according to Ryan Markham, a state Department of Labor spokesman.

But hiring has not come to a standstill.

A quick scan of the Star-Bulletin's help-wanted listings at starclassifieds.monster.com shows that a broad range of places are hiring - from AlohaCare to Hilton Grand Vacations, the Kauai Police Department, Island Air and Times Supermarkets.

Hilton is hiring vacation counselors, marketing representatives and bilingual greeters for its new time-share, the Grand Waikikian. Positions also are available at the Hilton Waikoloa Beach Resort.

MobiPCS is also hiring for various positions, as is the Apple store, which is hiring for all three Oahu stores.

The city, state, and federal governments also are hiring, including the state Department of Labor, which needs more people to handle unemployment claims, and U.S. Census Bureau workers.

“;I think so far, we've been pretty fortunate,”; said Beth Busch, president of Success Advertising Hawaii. “;Hawaii job seekers need to take heart because there are still jobs out there.”;

An employer's market

But it's no longer a job seeker's market, as the ratio of applicants to available jobs has increased. The pendulum has shifted in favor of the employer.

At a Jan. 14 JobQuest fair, about 120 employers set up booths, which was attended by 6,000 job seekers.

“;For so long, we had unemployment under 3 percent, and employers would take anyone with a pulse,”; she said. “;Job seekers got used to that. Now we're back to more normal unemployment rates, and you've got to work harder to find a job.”;

Job listings are not coming in as rapidly as they did during boom times. Between Jan. 20 and Jan. 26, only 20 new postings were added to the state's Labor Department Web site, according to Markham.

The number of jobs being posted on Hawaii JobsonDemand.com has dropped 30 to 40 percent, according to President Eric Swanson.

He is seeing significantly fewer jobs in the hospitality sector than past years, as well as positions that are attrition based - meaning the company needs a replacement for someone leaving.

“;There's not a lot of growth in newly created positions,”; he said. “;But a lot of smaller businesses are still posting, as well as general offices, and health care's still pretty good.”;

For some employers, this is the most opportune time to hire.

ProService Hawaii, a human resources provider, is seeking “;A players”; to join its growing team of 100, according to Jackie Ingamells, vice president of talent and organizational development.

Ingamells, herself a recent hire, said ProService will be expanding its Hawaii Kai headquarters soon, and is looking for up to 10 new hires in accounting, sales and client services, benefits and health care planning, among others.

She defined an “;A player”; as an outstanding performer who is self-motivated, sales-oriented and customer-focused. Through a process called topgrading, applicants go through 10 hours of screening and interviews by ProService staff.

“;It allows the candidate to get to know us, and for us to know the candidate,”; said Ingamells. “;We'd rather invest upfront time getting to know the candidate to make sure it's a win-win situation.”;

Government is hiring

The U.S. government is also hiring - hundreds of Honolulu positions are available at the U.S. Census Bureau, the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI.

In Hawaii, the U.S. Census Bureau hopes to field about 3,500 applicants by Feb. 13, according to local census office manager Marilyn Yoza.

Hiring will commence in the next 30 to 60 days, and recruiting will continue for the next two years, according to Yoza.

There will be up to 1,000 temporary positions, including staff for both its downtown Honolulu office as well as a second office on the Leeward side that's expected to open soon.

The bulk of hires, however, will be for enumerators - people who walk streets and alleyways to make sure maps and addresses are correct.

Applicants need to be at least 18 years old, with basic numbers and map-reading skills, and will have to pass a multiple-choice test to be considered.

“;We're looking for people to work in the communities where they live,”; said Yoza.

Enumerators can work flexible shifts up to 40 hours, with pay of $17 an hour. Though temporary, positions can be extended if necessary, and other jobs for another project might become available for those hired, said Yoza.

The IRS is recruiting revenue officers in Honolulu - online applications will be accepted through Feb. 20.

The FBI is also looking to fill a variety of what is calls “;mission-critical”; roles, according to special agent and applicant coordinator Kai Wong.

Nationwide, the FBI wants to hire more than 2,100 professional staff and 850 special agents in one of its largest hiring blitzes in its 100-year history, including some for its Honolulu office.

Wong said the hiring blitz was due to upcoming retirements, and the need for a new generation of special agents plus additional funding.

The FBI is looking for professionals skilled in computers and foreign languages, as well as experts in records management, nursing, electrical engineering, and automotive mechanics, just to name a few.

Interested applicants can go to the FBI Web site, or attend presentations to be scheduled this month.

Pay is competitive, starting at an annual salary of $60,000, with pay increases, in addition to benefits.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, with a four-year college degree and professional work experience.

Wong said current FBI employees include former physicians, dentists, accountants, college professors and journalists.

Hospitality, retail slow

The hospitality sector has been hardest hit, with retail not far behind, as national chains announce closures and cutbacks. Though some hotel workers have been able to keep their jobs, hours have been scaled back, or pay reduced.

But many restaurants which experience high turnover are still hiring. Denny's, which is opening in Kaneohe, is hiring, as well as The Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki, which posted ads on craigslist for hosts and hostesses as well as in Starbulletin classifieds for a kitchen manager.

Kona Brewing Co. on the Big Island is looking for a director of human resources, a position posted on HawaiiJobsOnDemand.com.

While some stores, such as KB Toys and Circuit City, have closed, Hawaii will be home to new stores - Target and Walgreens, for example - that will be hiring.

Target held a four-day career fair in December to hire about 1,000 workers for its two Oahu stores, and will hold another one in May to hire as many as 400 for its Kona store. Walgreens, which plans to open 15 to 20 stores here, hires an average of 40 employees for each new opening.

At Ala Moana Center, a new luxury boutique called Miu Miu is hiring, while Victoria's Secret is on its way.

But outside of hospitality and retail, there are a variety of choices.

The Kauai Police Department has 23 openings, according to Sgt. Scott Kaui, and will consider eligible new recruits in February.

Faced with a shortage, health care professionals are in high demand, and positions are open at Hawaii Pacific Health as well as Kaiser Permanente.

In science and technology, a number of biotech seed companies, including Pioneer Hi-Bred International, are hiring. Pioneer has 10 positions open on Kauai - ranging from research assistant (which requires a high school diploma) to research scientist (which requires a PhD).

Pioneer's human resources generalist Jennie Falcon said the positions come with competitive wages and benefits, including medical coverage, wellness programs and opportunities for advancement.

For those who love animals, the Hawaiian Humane Society is looking for an animal caretaker and humane investigator while Securitas Security Services is looking for a K9 handler. Petco in Kapolei, meanwhile, posted a craigslist ad looking for a fish specialist.

On Hawaiijobsondemand. com, companies looking to hire range from the Aflac to BAE Systems, State Farm Insurance and the YWCA of Oahu.