They are a small chain, by chain standards - just nine outlets in the Northwest, two in Washington, three in the Portland Metro area – Oregon City, Gresham, and now Cornelius - with others in Woodburn, Albany, Roseburg and Eugene.
The newest addition in Cornelius faced the same hiring challenge as other newly added outlets - hiring a great crew. Since the chain had used WorkSource services at their other new stores, it was an easy decision to tap into the resources available at the WorkSource Center in Hillsboro.
"It was a pretty trying area to hire from," said Manager Todd Nelson. "We didn’t have a lot of applicants initially. It costs a lot of money to hire and train. So we want to hire good people and retain them. It’s a lot cheaper in the long run."
Coastal Farm and Ranch's hiring solution was to advertise their openings in newspapers and on Web sites, directing candidates to the Hillsboro WorkSource center to begin the application process. The staff at WorkSource would then pre-screen candidates for the required skills and organize the interview process with Coastal's Human Resource staff.
"We used the facilities extensively," Todd explained. "We interviewed for about five weeks or so and we didn’t have a home to call our own, so we exclusively used the facilities in Hillsboro. It saved us a lot of time. We used the service to get us applicants that were the right fits for our jobs. So we didn’t spend a lot of time doing phone interviews and things. We were able to bring people in, meet them and talk with them right away rather than spending a lot of time sifting through some of the applicants."
Another tool that helped to attract qualified candidates was the award-winning online matching system, iMatchSkills®. The WorkSource Oregon Employment Department offers this online service at no charge to businesses and job seekers. It has a feature unique to to most job-matching applications - it matches skills, not just job titles.
"I was familiar with iMatchSkills from another workplace where I used it," added Todd. "I actually went online myself and just did it to see how it worked before I used it the first time. We got a lot of applicants – we didn’t have to waste time with people who weren’t right for our job.
We feel like we got some really good people out of that - just some excellent applicants. The sixth day into operation we set an all time sales record for a Coastal store.
For me and my management staff, it saved us a tremendous amount of time and energy that we were able to put into setting up our store, getting it up and running. Once we hired a crew, we only spent three weeks to get the store open, rather than the typical five weeks. The quality of the people we got meant a lot to that."
And what does Todd think of the WorkSource staff in Hillsboro?
"They were outstanding. We felt like we were at home. They were just gracious to all of us, all the time. Got us anything we needed and made us feel extremely comfortable down there. Those guys down there were just wonderful."
During a four-day Grand Opening Celebration, Coastal Farm and Ranch gave away free buckets and gloves to the first 500 customers each day!
Click here to find a WorkSource Center near you.