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Thousands jam airport job fair for 800 openings

6:44 PM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
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COLLEGE PARK, Ga. -- The economy may be showing signs of improvement but job seekers continue to struggle.

They started lining up by the thousands early Wednesday at the Georgia International Convention Center, eagerly looking for hundreds of airport jobs.

MORE | Upcoming job fairs

The lines snaked around the center, and then continued three across on the inside.

As each hour passed the lines got longer, with more than 2,500 job seekers jamming the Convention Center before days end looking for positions with 23 companies.

Finding a job isn't easy.

"It's been really hard trying to find a job. I've had 7 interviews so far and no calls, but I'm not giving up and that's why I am here today," said Laquesha Martin, a job candidate.

And with the unemployment rate in Georgia a point above the National average (8.7% vs. 7.7%); applicants came to vie for 800 jobs that range from airport restaurants and concession positions to construction and insurance jobs, both on and off the airport.

But what the job seekers didn't know was that one employer, Mack Wilbourn, was not behind a desk.

He was scanning the room and looking for candidates to fill as many as 100 airport jobs at his restaurants on the airport concourses.

The first thing he was looking for in prospective candidates:

"Their appearance, first of all because they will represent us, the brand that we represent and the city at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

"It was like this one guy, he came in with large earrings and I told him that to be taken seriously for an interview, he needed to take them off. He took them out right on the spot," Wilbourn said.

Smart job seekers like Jarrod Frazier, out of work for 8 months as an electrical technician, did their homework and came prepared.

"They say dress for success and I felt like you must put your best foot forward especially in trying to meet with future employers, so I just felt like I need to get on a suit," Frazier said.

And if candidates walk away empty handed this time, more airport jobs will be on the way.

"The good news is we still have more opportunities coming up here at the Airport. We have about 80 or so locations yet to open," said Paul Brown, Director of Concessions at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

And that will mean thousands more job candidates at the next job fair.

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