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Rod Smith

Job Center Ready for Slew of Applicants

1 November 2004

Wynn Las Vegas goes operational Monday with the opening of its employment center and what is thought to be the largest Internet recruiting program ever, anywhere.

"The employment center is the heart and soul of the whole project," developer Steve Wynn said. "It's about hiring the right people and figuring out what makes them happy."

He said success, if it works, will stem from one basic idea: making employees happy one at a time.

"It's a relatively simple concept, but it's a huge challenge (with a project this size)," Wynn said. "If it works, they communicate their excitement to guests and we win. If employees are unhappy, the first people who know it are the guests, and then (the entire development fizzles)."

Underscoring the effort, the employment center has been landscaped and decorated to give prospective employees a positive feeling about Wynn Las Vegas.

Among other things, one wall is covered with 5-foot photographs of the company's top executives dressed in the uniforms employees will wear, most designed by Giorgio Armani, and doing the work they will do, he said.

Wynn's Chief Human Resources Officer Arte Nathan said the employment center is designed to make people feel good about themselves.

"If they're excited and feel good, they communicate that to our guests," he said.

Wynn said that by Christmas he will have 700 to 800 employees on board, headed toward having more than an additional 8,000, most to start work in late March and April.

He said the first of his 57 operating systems is the recruiting, hiring and training program that his company has been designing with Recruit Max for more than a year and testing for about a month.

Wynn said he and his wife, Elaine, who serves on the company's board of directors, have found the new project more challenging than their earlier developments. He gave the former Desert Inn property to his wife as a birthday present five years ago after the sale of Mirage Resorts to MGM Grand.

Wynn said the project, with 5.5 million square feet, is larger than any of his previous resorts and, with 14 showrooms, much more complicated than Bellagio.

Nathan said he expects 150,000 applicants for the 9,000 jobs, and the Recruit Max system has been tested to allow 2,000 individuals to complete applications at the same time. From experience, he wants to consider no fewer than 12 applicants for every position.

Shannon George, the managing consultant for Recruit Max on the project, said the buzz over the Wynn project has been so loud that Recruit Max expects to receive at least 250,000 applications.

"For Recruit Max, this is new territory, this large a capacity in that short a time frame," she said.

It has taken a year of planning, design, development and testing to get the online application processing system up to speed. George said she believes the system is the largest of its kind ever for a single hiring.

Other Recruit Max clients include Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Costco, Hollywood Video, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and JetBlue, although Wynn Las Vegas is the company's first hotel client, she said.

The Recruit Max System simplifies and automates job applications and hiring for the employer. It also allows applicants to apply from any Internet site.

Nathan said it will still be possible for applicants to call the company and schedule an appointment to use one of its 48 on-site computers which will have step-by-step instructions to make job seekers more comfortable. Applicants wanting appointments can call 770-5627.

He said Wynn has $2.5 billion riding on the process in which his human resources department conducts the first round of about 60,000 interviews over 3 1/2 weeks between Nov. 29 and Dec. 20.

Then, 110 department managers now working will conduct follow-up interviews from Jan. 3 to Feb. 12, after which drug testing will be conducted. The company will start offering jobs Feb. 19 and continue hiring through the second week in March, Nathan said.

The first wave of line employees are scheduled to start work March 28. The last group is scheduled to be on board by April 21.