East Valley job fair aims to fill hundreds of health-care jobs - East Valley Tribune: Business

East Valley job fair aims to fill hundreds of health-care jobs

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Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 7:15 am | Updated: 9:25 am, Mon Nov 19, 2012.

Goodwill hosted a health-care job fair at Mesa Community College Red Mountain campus Thursday to fill open positions across the Phoenix metro area.

While it was the first held at Red Mountain, Goodwill hosts job fairs of different sizes and variations throughout the Valley, said Mark Sander, business services supervisor at Goodwill Arizona.

“At the general one, you might have a couple hundred people stop by your table, but only a few of them are qualified,” he said. “At an event like this, all of the people who talk to our employers have experience in the medical field.”

But it’s not only those with experience in the medical field who should attend, Sander said.

“We’re hiring clinical and non-clinical workers,” said Meghan Clisham, a Banner Health talent recruiter. “We have hundreds of job listings.”

The openings available are for more than nurses or phlebotomists, although there are openings for those too, Clisham said.

“A lot of people think Banner is just a hospital, but we are a business just like any other and we need housekeeping, IT, grounds keeping, human resources and financial,” Clisham said. “We’re looking for people who are going to clear a background check, drug screening and a physical, if the job requires it.”

But the most important skill is to be able to offer great customer service, she said.

“I’m applying today for three positions,” said Tanya Johnson, who hopes to find a job in customer service or as an administrative receptionist. “Then there are two more I’m going to apply for online.”

Johnson has been unemployed since March 2012 and has been struggling to find work.

The Mesa mother of three said that she has been constantly looking at job postings on the Internet and trying to network with anyone who might know of a job opening.

“It’s not that you’re not qualified, but the competition is so fierce,” she said of the job hunt. “But you always have to put your best foot forward, have a strong handshake, eye contact and a smile.”

In Arizona, health care tends to be cyclical, Clisham said. Winter visitors tend to require more medical attention.

But not all of the Valley health-care providers have noticed a cyclical movement this year.

“This year we did not slow down during the summer,” said Jessica Harbinson, human resources manager for Nightingale Home Healthcare. “We’ve been going strong all year.”

So far, the family-owned business has hired 200 new employees this year, Harbinson said. They’re looking to hire 300 more and they’re looking right away.

“Last week, we hired someone from the job fair on Thursday,” she said. “She had her orientation on Tuesday, additional training on Wednesday and she started with her patient today. And that includes the background check.”

Although the industry tends to have a high turnover rate, many employees leave to care for family members of their own, Harbinson said.

“We try to be very picky,” she said about prospective employees. “We require six months minimum of clinical experience to make sure that they know what they’re doing.”

And while Nightingale is located in the northwest part of the Valley, the business is looking for employees from all over the Valley, especially the East Valley, Harbinson said.

“Most people aren’t going to travel an hour for a job,” she said. “Our clients are in Gilbert and Mesa, as well as up in Peoria and Surprise.”

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