Employment office doing free screening of 9,000 applicants for 300 spots
Deluged with more than 9,000 unsolicited resumes for only 300 jobs, Tennessee lottery officials have enlisted help in matching the right people with the right jobs.
The Middle Tennessee Career Center, a publicly funded employment agency, is helping the lottery fill jobs ranging from mailroom clerk to district sales manager by the anticipated Feb. 10 launch.
The center set up an Internet-based application process to trim the number of applicants to those most qualified. The result was a much smaller but still voluminous field of prospective employees. As of last week, 2,632 people successfully answered an initial round of questions to continue competing for the 22 jobs offered so far.
Lottery officials then will pick their top choices from that narrowed field for interviews, said Jacky Akbari, who manages employer services for the center.
The best part? It hasn't cost the lottery a thing.
"I was impressed before I knew it was free," said lottery chief Rebecca Paul, who used private recruiting and screening services when she headed two previous state lottery startups - but never one funded through public money.
"This is the first time we've had the opportunity to use this type of service," she said, adding the other companies were "never as elaborate as what Middle Tennessee Career Center provides - and never at zero cost."
The career center, just down the road from the lottery's new Nashville headquarters, receives federal, state and local money to help job seekers and employers.
Its clients include Dell, Verizon Wireless, FedEx and Dollar General, but the applications it has received for the new lottery far surpass those for any other business.
"It's very unique. Just because of the visibility of the lottery, you have an increased level of interest," Akbari said. "We have other companies that offer more jobs with comparable pay" that don't receive a fraction of those numbers.
Paul said Tennessee's piles of resumes aren't unique for the lottery industry.
"When you start with no employees, even if you're hired in an entry-level job, there's more of a possibility of getting promoted and ending up with a higher- level job than you would if you were facing someone who's been entrenched for 20 years," Paul said.
Every department head in the lottery is conducting interviews, Paul said, with three of the lottery's 27 current employees working full-time to screen resumes and set up meetings.
"It starts slow and then moves very quickly," she said. "You hire five people who interview the next 10, who interview and hire the next 30.
"We anticipate in the next two or three weeks, you'll see huge bumps in the number of employees."
People interested in applying for jobs with the Tennessee lottery should go to the games' Web site and click on a link that takes them to the Middle Tennessee Career Center Web site - which includes a detailed listing of available jobs and how to apply.