ATLANTA — Hiring game-day staff at State Farm Arena took on a carnival atmosphere, and that doesn’t just mean that things were a little crazy.
Over the summer, the Atlanta Hawks interviewed job candidates for lead supervisors on the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel at nearby Centennial Park. Those discussions took place inside the wheel’s air-conditioned gondolas as the ride was in operation, extending 20 stories above the city.
In addition, the Hawks interviewed potential hires at the Georgia Aquarium for ushers, concession workers and housekeeping, among other positions. Those meetings took place beneath the whale shark exhibit, said Brett Stefansson, the arena’s executive vice president and general manager.
David Garcia, the Hawks’ new vice president of guest experience, whose background includes working at The Walt Disney Co. and Amazon, came up with the idea for the unconventional settings, Stefansson said.
“We’re trying to get people in the right state of mind before they even join the organization, about how exciting it is to work here and all the great things we’re doing,” he said. “It translates to delivering a great experience for the fans.”
The 50 lead supervisors hired by the Hawks got to celebrate their new employment at Emory Healthcare Courts, the team’s new practice facility in Brookhaven, Ga., a northeast Atlanta suburb. They went through a routine similar to an NBA draft pick, signing their paperwork and getting their picture taken in front of a team banner.
“It’s about how do you get these people excited about what we’re doing?” Stefansson said. “That was the approach, showing the front-line staff that we care about them, whether it’s a nice, clean, well-supplied break room or a sharp, crisp, good-looking uniform custom fitted for them. It’s the little things that make their job easier.”