Magazine article Personnel Journal

HR Helps the Mirage Thrive in Crowded Vegas

Magazine article Personnel Journal

HR Helps the Mirage Thrive in Crowded Vegas

Article excerpt

Just inside the Nevada border, in the middle of a hot, dusty desert lies a town like none other. Here volcanos erupt every 15 minutes, filling the neon-painted sky with golden fires. Armored knights joust on horseback within a replica Medieval castle. And statues of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony move about while retelling an ancient story.

This is Las Vegas, 1995, a place that blends gambling halls and wedding chapels with amusement parks and high-priced boutiques. It's a place to which approximately 25 million visitors, of all ages, from all walks of life and from all over the globe, come to play each year.

The town's 89 casino hotels clumped together on the Las Vegas strip depend on these visitors. They also compete for them. So what gives one a competitive advantage over the others? Mirage Resorts Inc. believes it's the people who work in them.

The Las Vegas-based firm is so sure of this that it hired the vice president of HR for The Mirage, Arte Nathan, just after it chose a president and before the hotel was even built. Nathan staffed The Mirage, then went on to assist in staffing Mirage Resorts' third Las Vegas enterprise, Treasure Island, which opened in 1993.

For both resorts, Nathan made finding the right people a priority. Before opening The Mirage, for example, he set up a college-recruitment program at Cornell University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The management candidates who come through the program must have received hotel-management majors, earned grade-point averages of 3.0 or better, served as interns and been given high recommendations from their colleges.

Mirage applies an equally stringent selection process for all employees. Even while staffing on a large scale for hotel openings, Nathan and the HR staff screened all applicants for personality, stability and experience. Selection began by making the candidates fill out their applications in the office. "We greeted them and shook their hands," Nathan says. …

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