Seeking quality multi-taskers with personality |

Seeking quality multi-taskers with personality

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer
Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal Server Dezurae Mefcalf of Reds 395 Grill takes lunch orders to a party of 14 high school girls who are together from across the state for Nevada Girl's State on Friday.

When you run a restaurant, you’re always hiring.

Carson City’s unemployment rate is at a low 4.1 percent – which is 0.7 percent less than it was a year ago – so employers have a smaller labor pool from which to hire.

And to get quality workers in a tight labor market, restaurants such as McDonald’s are advertising management positions at $10 an hour. Chris Kassity, owner of four McDonald’s restaurants in Carson City and Minden, said the quantity of applicants hasn’t dropped recently, but the quality has.

The 42-year-old said he starts entry employees at $6.75 an hour. The management candidates must go through 40 hours of health department classes – called ‘serve safe certified’ – and McDonald’s management classes to earn the $10 an hour. Kassity hopes to have eight of these hourly management workers per restaurant.

“McDonald’s is a challenging job,” he said. “Ten dollars an hour is a big rate of pay, but it is what you have to pay to attract exceptional employees.”

Red’s Old 395 Grill, like many restaurants, hires mostly part-time workers and pays minimum wage for servers. The teenagers who take these restaurant jobs need the flexible hours. They supplement their summer income with tips.

“We’ve always had a lot of applicants, but it’s harder to find people now than before,” said Mark Schloss, director of operations at Red’s. “But I think we’re keeping up. We have at least three or four people come in daily looking for employment.”

Because his work force tends to be fluid, meaning teens will drop or pick up hours depending on their school schedules, Red’s is always looking for employees.

“We always want to put the best team on floor and we never want to say no to (someone with) experience,” Schloss said.

Jim Shabi, Nevada Department of Employment economist, said the numbers point to a slightly tighter labor market compared with 2004.

He said there were about 33,200 jobs in Carson City in May, which is an increase over the previous year of 3.1 percent. Nationally the rate of increase is 1.5 percent in the same month.

Shabi said that means Carson City’s employment “is growing twice as fast” as the nation and Nevada’s is growing more than four times as fast.

When June Joplin is hiring at Comma Coffee, she doesn’t put a sign in the window or an ad in the paper. Most often she continually takes applications until the right person comes in.

“This is not a career, it’s a stepping-stone job,” Joplin said while she decoupaged a picture of Elton John onto a table. The table was worn and she wanted it to look like the rest of her photo-collaged furniture. “But it’s a special stepping-stone job. I tend to run shorthanded until I find someone with the right personality, the right spunk and good multi-tasking skills.”

Her baristas tend to be teens or young adults. One woman working behind the counter at the time had multiple piercings and wore a “Jesus Saves” T-shirt, which fits in with Joplin’s alternative café atmosphere.

“You get a great staff and it’s great for awhile, but then something shifts in the universe and it all changes,” she said. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it.”

Reno area employers expect to hire at a bullish pace in the third quarter of 2005, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. Of the companies interviewed, 52 percent plan to hire more employees this next quarter while 7 percent expect to reduce payrolls.

“Employers in the Reno area have more favorable hiring intentions than in the second quarter when 53 percent of the companies interviewed intended to add staff, and 13 percent planned to reduce headcount,” said Manpower spokesman Chris Pasieka.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.

Job growth

Nevada’s job growth is four times greater than the national rate.

“Our state continues to be the envy of the country with low unemployment and record-setting 6.6 percent job growth,” said Gov. Kenny Guinn.

Birgit Baker, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, said Nevada employers have created 75,300 new jobs over the year.

In Carson City unemployment was reported at 4.1 percent, down six-tenths of a percentage point over the month and seven-tenths of a percentage point lower than May 2004.