Clutching resumes and carrying sun umbrellas, hundreds lined up outside Craft bar and restaurant Wednesday to interview for jobs at the new Kimpton Seafire resort.
A line had formed outside the bar more than an hour before the job fair was scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
The crowds included a mix of Caymanians and expatriates, employed and unemployed, hoping for a chance to work in the new hotel.
The bar was packed wall-to-wall throughout the afternoon as Kimpton management conducted on-the-spot, face-to-face interviews with everyone who attended.
Megan Graves, Kimpton’s manager of people and culture, said almost 400 people had been through “speed interviews” during the course of the afternoon.
She said the hotel management would be following up with successful candidates over the next several weeks and conducting more in-depth interviews.
“We were a little surprised at how many people showed up, but we are really excited to see the interest,” she said.
She said there were 14 people from the Kimpton interviewing throughout the afternoon and the bar reached capacity on several occasions, with more people gathered outside.
“There were people there before we even opened the doors,” she said.
“We were really impressed with the numbers and the caliber of the candidates. There was a lot of interest from Caymanians and we are really excited about bringing them in.”
The resort expects to hire more than 400 people ahead of the scheduled November opening.
As of Wednesday, there were jobs available in all sectors, from kitchen staff and housekeepers to managerial positions.
Among the hopefuls outside Craft was Michelle Manderson. She said, “I am just here trying out for a job. I have had a hotel manager’s certificate for quite a few years without any experience.
“I do need a job desperately. I’ve tried my hand at everything over the years and I’m putting myself forward for this.”
Tania Graham, who was looking for a housekeeping position, said she was not put off by the large crowds.
“I’m looking to see what’s available. There are a lot of people here so I know it is going to be competitive.
“I don’t mind the wait, it’s a good opportunity.”
Rene Dixon said he had previously worked in construction and for Foster’s Food Fair, and was now looking to move into hospitality. He said he thought it was a good move for Kimpton to host the job fair.
“I think it is a very sensible thing to do,” he said. “There are a lot of Caymanians out there looking for jobs and this gives us first opportunity. If they don’t find the amount of staff they need, then they will look somewhere else, but it is good that they look here first.”
Student Romaine Williams said she thought the event had gone well. She said it was good to see someone face to face and present her resume, rather than sending an email and wondering if she would get a response.
“I think it went pretty good, and I like that they are giving people a chance,” she said.
Her friend Devenese Foote said she had been looking for a job for a couple of months and was hopeful that with so many positions open, many of those who turned out Wednesday could be employed.
“I wouldn’t say everyone can get a job, but it’s a new hotel so most people has a chance,” she said.
Ms. Graves said the candidates had been “really impressive” and had come prepared.
Some staff are already in place, working behind the scenes, but the hotel hopes to have the rest of its positions filled in time for in house training to begin on Oct. 3.
The first guests are booked for Nov. 18