When Jamie McCoy wanted to connect with workers so she could connect them with local employers, she took her recruiting skills to Promenade Park.
McCoy's business, along with the Indiana National Guard, held a job fair at the downtown park on a Friday evening.
“It was just something fun; something light for people who maybe feel intimidated by putting themselves out there,” said McCoy, chief operating officer of Hoosier Personnel in Fort Wayne.
The unconventional venue and timing was still purposeful, “just making people feel more comfortable talking to us,” McCoy said during an October telephone interview.
And it was effective. About 85 people applied for various positions as a result of connections made on that Friday night in September. The hiring event included a video gaming truck, band and food truck.
“We've had to get more creative to connect with different demographics and generations now,” she said.
And these days, employers have to be more flexible. Workers locally want and expect that, and McCoy said she sees evidence some employers are starting to understand.
And it's not about workers being picky or feeling entitled. McCoy said she cringes when she hears that first word.
“I hate hearing that, or nobody wants to work. People are just opening their mind and really figuring out what they want to do,” McCoy said. “I think that's an older generation saying that and based on what we've been used to.”
Workers might be going to school or have children at home or simply can't work some long shifts, particularly 12 hours.
“I think companies are being more flexible with that,” said McCoy, who places employees in jobs such as automotive and industrial manufacturing, janitorial and touch-point cleaning or administrative roles.
Manpower, which has a local staffing agency office, fills a lot of factory jobs but also has a professional services division.
Rod Hodnicki, Manpower's area manager in Fort Wayne, said it's not uncommon for potential workers to prefer certain shifts and not want overtime.
“We do see pay and flexibility are more important with workers right now,” he said.
He agrees employers are being more accommodating, given the tight labor market, and the concerns many potential workers have with child care.
“Knowing that if I miss a day, I will not be terminated is important,” Hodnicki said.