Job Fair Q & A: City of Portland recruitment manager highlights tips to finding jobs
It’s one of Portland’s most admired employment events.
The PCC Job Fair returns for its 22nd year, featuring 100 area employers and attracting more than 1,000 job-seekers. The 2019 version of the fair is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 30, in the college’s Cascade Campus gym (705 N. Killingsworth St.).
Ashlie Grundy, the workforce recruitment and training manager at the City of Portland, will be there. A native of Brookings on the picturesque Oregon Coast, she has been with the City since 2017 after a stint with Oregon Health & Science University. Passionate about serving the community and creating access and opportunity for historically marginalized communities, Grundy loves the fact that every day she gets to see the impact of the work the City does and how it affects the community in positive ways.
At the job fair this year, her team will be using the hashtags #WeArePortland and #IAmPortland on social media.
How long have you been involved with the job fair?
Ashlie Grundy: “I have been involved since 2010 when I was with Kaiser Permanente. I worked with healthcare employers primarily before transitioning to the City of Portland. The PCC Job fair has always been a high priority for me and for any organizations I’ve been a part of.”
Has the PCC Job Fair been beneficial for the City of Portland?
Grundy: “I appreciate that it has been pretty consistent. There have been job fairs with other organizers over the years that have ebbed and flowed depending on the quality of employers and volume of attendance. Here at PCC, it has been consistent in terms of high volume, and great questions, conversations, and overall participation.”
Why is it so important to have a presence at the job fair?
Grundy: “The primary reason is the sheer diversity at PCC. The student population is highly diverse and is something that is the cornerstone of the work we do at the City. We really are about ensuring that our workforce reflects the community that we serve.”
What does the employment environment look like?
Grundy: “We are in a candidate-driven market. It’s kind of like buying a house these days. If you don’t get your offer in quickly then somebody else will beat you to it. One of the challenges for employers is efficiency, moving as quickly as possible through a hiring process while ensuring it’s a quality experience for the candidate. It’s challenging to recruit for some positions, especially the trades and technical-related positions. It’s highly competitive out there.”
What kind of jobs do you fill at the City?
Grundy: “We are a full-service city so we have positions ranging from utility workers for allthe way to executive leadership and everything in between. We have public safety opportunities and we just closed our firefighter recruiting which we conduct every two years. We have opportunities within our bureau of emergency communications, like 911 operators. And we have business administrative, communications, various opportunities in the trades and construction field, environmental, policy and marketing positions. We have very broad skill sets and opportunities that exist within the City of Portland, which makes us very unique. We have phenomenal job opportunities that create career paths and pay beyond living wages as well as great benefits and retirement plans.”
Do you have any tips for job-seekers attending this year’s event?
Grundy: “I think one of the struggles any recruiter will encounter at a job fair is people approaching a table and not necessarily knowing what it is they are looking for. So having at least a loose understanding of the career path that the individual is seeking really helps recruiters tailor their responses as it pertains to the opportunities and the steps an individual needs to take to be competitive in the hiring process. I tell people, ‘Close your eyes and imagine yourself in your dream job. What is that and why?’ That will spur the conversation to identify the transferable skills that individuals need to gain to help start the trajectory on their career path. First and foremost, be yourself.”
What has been your main goal as chief recruitment manager for the City?
Grundy: “We have been very focused on increasing our visibility for people who may not naturally think of the City of Portland as an employer or understand the vast array of career opportunities we have available. We have really been working to make people aware of what we do and creating this dynamic where they see themselves working for the City.”
Thank you, Ashlie.