As the Aer Lingus jet touched down in Dublin on January 27th among green pastures and overcast skies, summer was in the air. It’s hard to imagine sweltering August heat while freezing rain trickles down your neck, but here at Gentle Giant we start daydreaming about the dog days of summer a bit early.
With a busy season that picks up steam in late spring and hits full gear in May, preparations begin long before the snow melts. Each summer, the Gentle Giant team hires roughly 200 seasonal employees to account for a drastic increase in daily activity. To maintain quality while avoiding layoffs in the slower winter months, we target seasonal staff from a variety of reliable and flexible sources.
For over 15 years, Gentle Giant has recruited J-1 visa applicants from several international locations, including Ireland. The student work/travel visa has been an ideal source for seasonal employees who are excited to gain work experience, while exploring a new city and getting a unique peek into American culture.
Every winter, two Gentle Giant representatives travel in person to vet interested applicants before offering a spot on the team. This annual recruiting trip marks the start of busy season, as we begin hiring the next class of Giants. It is company policy to have at least two Giants interview and approve every new hire to ensure consistency and quality. For this reason, two of our HR team members found themselves wandering through Dublin on a dreary morning in February, thinking about summer.
Meeting every applicant, exchanging handshakes and making eye contact is a valuable step in finding the right new employee. Our relationships with various Irish universities have allowed us to build a deep hiring pool while creating an engaging and culturally diverse work environment. As always, we look for people who are not only physically capable of doing the job, but share the core Gentle Giant values of service and teamwork.
Most Irish J-1 applicants are referrals from older siblings and classmates who spent previous summers with Gentle Giant. Prior understanding of the hard work and employment benefits encourage a seamless transition every year. Our international students consistently bring a fresh perspective, positive attitude, and a friendly brogue that helps lighten every load.
From Dublin to Limerick, to Cork and back again, our recruiters returned home with another successful year of hiring in the books. Now that over 50 Irish J-1 students have been invited to join the team, they will begin a period of pre-arrival training modules so they are ready to jump right in. All that awaits them on U.S. soil is a tour of the Harvard Stadium and a summer they will never forget!