Landers Center

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many activities and events that involve mass gatherings have had to stop altogether or accommodate social distancing. Some have adapted by moving behind the wheel, such as political rallies, movie screenings and even job interviews. 

The Governor’s Job Fair Network (GJFN) is trying this model with its first drive-thru job fair at The Landers Center in Southaven next week. 

Drive-thru job interviews have been adopted by employers across the country this year. Manufacturing giant Siemens held multiple hiring events in this format at their Southaven facility over the past month. GJFN’s Mid-South Job Fair is one of the first in the state to involve more than one employer, with 20 participating. Others are already on a waitlist for any potential follow-up event. 

The GJFN organizes more than 30 large hiring events across the state annually. These typically involve 50 or more employers interacting with candidates under one roof. The team behind the fairs has spent the past two months figuring out how to transform what’s been a walk-thru for years into a drive-thru.

“It was a challenge to plan something this big while following state and CDC health guidelines, but I think it’s one we’ve met,” said Adam Todd, director of the Governor’s Job Fair Network. 

Employers will be split between two parking lots at The Landers Center, with a third area sectioned off for in-depth interviews. Volunteers will help connect workers with the companies they’re interested in and other tasks like directing traffic as well . 

Face masks will be required, and outside of employer-requested interviews, people will only be allowed to leave their vehicles to use a restroom. 

“On-the-spot hires occur frequently at our job fairs, so please be patient with us during this event. We will get you through as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Todd said in a statement. 

Companies like Amazon and Sephora are among those looking for workers. Most of the positions listed for the event are warehouse jobs, an area of the labor market that’s grown increasingly competitive during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Employers have struggled to fill many of the positions in their supply chains this year as customers have relied more heavily on online shopping. Back in March, Amazon announced it was filling 175,000 new warehouse jobs just to keep up with pandemic-related demand spikes. 

The Mid-South Drive-Thru Job Fair will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Participants are encouraged to pre-register for the event at jobfairs.ms.gov and bring multiple copies of their resume.

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