HAMLET — Around 40 candidates interviewed with potential employers at Cole Auditorium during a hiring event Thursday geared toward veterans and transitioning military personnel.
The event — organized by NC4ME, NC Commerce, NC Works, Richmond County Economic Development, Richmond Community College and the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce — sought to match up those already out or planning to soon exit the military with companies in the Sandhills looking for qualified employees.
There were 37 registered candidates, plus a few walk-ins, who signed up for job interviews with 26 businesses and manufacturers in Richmond and Moore counties, according to Rebeca Sotirkys, NC4ME program manager for hiring events.
The hiring process takes time, so the businesses will report later how many hires they made from the event, Sotirkys said.
Many of the companies were from the manufacturing and production industry, including American Woodmark, Therafirm, Burlington Fabrics, Plastek, Enviva, Global Packaging, Hood Packaging, Perdue Foods and VBC Manufacturing.
Other participating employers included Booster Fuels, Food Lion, PNC Bank, Superior Cranes, Pinehurst Golf and Country Club, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
“From the employers that I spoke to, it has been a very positive, organized, rewarding process for them,” said Allison Melvin, Division of Workforce Solutions manager with NC Commerce.
She added that there was no “wasted time” as the employers had already seen the resumes and knew who they were interviewing.
Both the employers and candidates had to register ahead of time with NC Works, Melvin said.
For those who were walk-ins, they were registered in the lobby and matched with potential employers based on skills and experience listed on their resumes and inserted into available time slots.
Ken Hartley, plant manager of Therafirm, said his company interviewed five candidates after going through around 40 resumes, around a dozen of which were from Moore County.
However, he said that there were three no-shows who had been scheduled, adding that several companies had no applicants to show up.
Hartley said there were a few companies who had scheduled interviews
Overall, he said those he spoke with were “really solid, quality guys,” and the company will be reaching out to at least three of them for a follow-up interview and site visit to observe plant operations.
The three positions Hartley said Therafirm is looking to fill are production manager, maintenance technician and knitting technician and those who were interviewed “filled the bill for managers” having a lot of leadership and training experience in the military.
Both Hartley and Melvin said many local companies are looking for maintenance personnel to service the equipment.
The event kicked off Wednesday evening with a meet-and-greet at Southern Pines Brewery, which was a casual way for candidates and employers to learn about each other without the rigidity of a formal interview.
Hartley admitted he was a little disappointed in the turnout, as it was mostly company representatives but only a few veterans.
In addition to the potential employees, Hartley said he made several connections through the event, including a National Guard rep whom he plans to start sending job vacancy announcements.
“Based on some of the feedback that I’ve gotten, we’ve got to do this again,” Melvin said, adding that she hopes to have more candidates and employers participate next time.
(Note: this post has been edited to correct the positions Therafirm is hiring for.)