More than 200 job seekers turned out for on-the-spot interviews as the owners of the new Margaritaville Resort on Seven Mile Beach hosted a recruitment drive for Caymanians on Saturday.

The resort is ramping up its recruitment drive as extensive renovations of the old Treasure Island property continue.

The owners, the Howard Hospitality Group, aim to open the first 109-room block along with restaurants, bar and pool in January. The second block of the hotel, which will ultimately have a total of 286 rooms, is expected to open later in 2017.

James Stephen, director of sales, marketing and catering for the Howard group, which has established its headquarters in Grand Cayman, said they were looking to fill a total of around 180 positions before the opening week.

He said a line of around 30 people had formed outside the Town Hall in George Town by 8 a.m., Saturday, more than an hour before the scheduled start of the event. By the time the doors opened at 9:30 a.m. there were at least 80 people waiting for interviews.

“We had a real rush in the morning. We had handed out 200 interview sheets by 11 a.m.”

The senior management roles have already been filled, and the directors of each department conducted 15-minute interviews with applicants Saturday in an effort to fill a variety of positions ranging from housekeeping, to security, service staff and sales.

James Stephen, director of sales, marketing and catering for the Howard Hospitality Group, welcomes job seekers to the recruitment event Saturday. – PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER
James Stephen, director of sales, marketing and catering for the Howard Hospitality Group, welcomes job seekers to the recruitment event Saturday. – PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER

“We have had some incredible candidates. I personally interviewed 25 people and I have recommended 15 for second interviews.”

Saturday’s recruitment drive was aimed at Caymanians only, though Mr. Stephen acknowledges there will be some overseas recruitment.

“We would love to find everybody we need here on island, but it is just not possible, especially with other properties opening at the same time. We will be looking all over the world, but we would love to have as many Caymanians as possible representing their island, which is why we held this event today.”

He said the applicants were a mix of people out of work and others who are employed but looking for a change.

Work on transforming the old Treasure Island property into a Margaritaville branded resort is ongoing. Mr. Stephen said the resort is on schedule to open in January and would soon begin selling rooms for the opening week.

He said the main restaurant, the Yara global steak house, and the License to Chill bar would open at the same time. The major work on phase two is expected to be completed around the same time, though cosmetic work will continue on that part of the property after opening.

Among the many hopefuls looking for work at the new resort was Patricia Paddyfoote, a housekeeper who has worked in the past at various Cayman hotels.

“I have been out of work since November last year, so I am really hoping there will be something for me,” she said Saturday. “It is a good thing to host this event for people that have been looking for work for so long.”

This story has been amended to reflect that over 200 people attended the event, not over 300, as had been reported by Howard Hospitality Group. – Ed. 

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